Contemporary Comforts at The Flying Elk

I know I’m overdue with this one but life, work and Christmas sort of got in the way. Anyway, better late than never!

In the middle of November my best friend and I decided to go out for one final dinner before the Christmas madness started. We both love food and to try new places so this summer we started a tradition to go out to dinner every now and then. This time we also celebrated her getting a new job and since we had talked about going to The Flying Elk the choice was pretty obvious.

We had booked the table quite late in the week but they still had no problem dealing with my coeliacs disease, which was a huge releif for me. The staff was incredibly friendly and service minded and we spent the entire evening feeling very well taken care of.
My only head’s up will be if you’re like me and have a hearing problem (I’m roughly half deaf on my right ear) is to book an early table as the noice level will rise as the evening goes on.

What about the food? Well, the food is incredible. The dishes aren’t super fancy but everything is cooked well and you can tell that they care about working with good ingredients. Everything on the plate has a point and nothing feels out of place (just the way I like it).
We debated whether to try the tasting menu but in the end we chose to go for just a main course and a dessert. While we didn’t order an entrée we did get an amuse bouche in the form of a little cup of warm, delicious mushroom soup drizzled with chive oil. We were encouraged to really go from the bottom up in order to get the little pieces of mushrooms that were there. It could very well be the best mushroom soup I have had to date and that chive oil on top was a very nice addition as it gave the dish a lighter note.

1 Svampsoppa m gräslöksolja
Mushroom soup with chive oil.

For our main we chose the seared venison that was served with hasselback potatoes, beetroot purée, pickled mustard seeds, roasted almonds, browned butter and a lightly smoked sour cream. I know, it sounds like a lot but trust me, all the elements on the plate matched each other. Not one overpowered the other but you could really taste the flavour of the pickled mustard seeds, almonds, and beetroot as well as the venison. Both the browned butter (a weakness of mine) and the sour cream were lovely sauces that went well with the meat. I’ve actually never had browned butter like this with meat before so that was a new, pleasant experience. They left us the little pan of butter and one bowl each of the sour cream which is always a plus in my book! I like it when I get to decide for myself how much sauce I want (mainly because I never think I get served enough).

2 Hjort m röbetor, hasselbackspotatis & brynt smör
Seared venison with hasselback potatoes, beetroot purée, roasted almonds, pickled mustard seeds, browned butter and lightly smoked sour cream.

My friend and I are simple creatures sometimes when it comes to food and when we see the combination of apples, meringue and whipped cream we just can’t say no! So obviously we chose the Eton Mess for dessert. The Flying Elk’s version consists of autumn apple compote (made from Swedish apples, of course), cardamom meringue, caramelized almonds, star anise ice cream and a calvados flavoured mousse. Now, I’m not a huge fan of star anise as the flavour somtimes can be overpowering when not treated right but this ice cream was heaven! Smooth in texture and with only a hint of star anise that worked perfectly with the apples and calvados mousse. I could have done with a little more calvados in the mousse, but that’s just me.

3 Eton mess2
Eton Mess: autumn apple compote, star anise ice cream, caramelized almonds, cardamom meringue and calvados mousse.

The Flying Elk used to be a part of the Frantzén empire but they sold it off together with  couple of other ones earlier this fall. The new owners have kept the staff on the floor as well as in the kitchen so the standard is still very high. It’s a popular restaurant as it gets very full as the evening progresses but it never gets rowdy and the quality never goes down. Even though the noice level can get quite high I really like this place and I will definitely go back again.

Contemporary Vegetarian at Fotografiska

For my sister’s birthday last year I gave her as a present to go and eat at Fotografiska’s restaurant. Fotografiska is a photo gallery situated by the waters down at Slussen that is very popular with both the locals and the tourists – as is its restaurant.
The restaurant is placed at the very top of the building, which with the huge windows gives you a wonderful view of Stockholm.

The restaurant’s vision is to cook food that is mainly vegetarian (lacto- ovo vegetarian, to be exact), with the option of adding fish or meat on the side. everything is in season, organic and they have a low to no waste policy, something that feels very forward thinking considering the climate and food discussions we are having today. They also work a lot with non-alcoholic beverages, which was partly the reason why I chose Fotografiska for my sister as she was pregnant at the time. The other reason was that it had been on my bucket list for quite a while.

The whole top floor of the gallery is dedicated to food and drink, with a large bar area on one side and the café and restaurant on the other. In order to get to the restaurant you have to go through the café, but it’s all an open area so it doesn’t feel cramped.

The restaurant offer two types of menus, one with three courses and one with six.
All dishes are interchangeable though so even if all guests pick one menu they can still have different dishes. They also have a very good allergy information printed by every dish, noting if it free from gluten, dairy or nuts and if it can be made completely vegan. This is something that I, and I’m sure many will agree, find very helpful as well as considerate.

We both deced to go for the three course menu, although my sister changed her main course and I changed my dessert. We started off with what is pretty much a Swedish classic: potatoes in browned butter, sour cream and roe. However, in Fotografiska’s version we got potatoes cooked three ways: boiled, pickled and deep fried. The sour cream was flavoured with smoke, which lifted the whole thing another step, and it all worked beautifully with the rainbow trout roe.

My main course was a yellow onion that had been baked by the natural heat of their own compost. It had then been filled with a Jerusalem artichoke creme, a variety of mushrooms, black truffle and Jerusalem artichoke crisps. I love truffle and it really boosted the forest feeling of the mushrooms and artichoke, while complimenting the delicate sweetness of the onion. Since my sister is not a fan of truffle she opted for a dish on the other menu, beetroots inspired by the swedish meat casserole “kalops”. Soft, yet with a little bite to them, they were served with a potato puree, a coriander and beetroot leaf paste and a deep raspberry sauce. I never would have thought that raspberries and beetroots go well together but they really do! But the leaf paste was the thing that really brought everything together. Even my sister, who doesn’t like coriander, loved it!

Then we came to the dessert. Here, my sister went for the one that was on the original menu: an apple pizza with fennel, the best custard I have ever tried and an apple core sorbet (waste not, want not!).
Since I’m coeliac and decided to change for the dessert on the other menu, which was a goats cheese mousse served on top of something called “getmese”. Getmese is what you get when you cook down the whey that’s left after making goats cheese. When you cook it down it becomes caramelized and sweet. The whole thing was accompanied by honeycomb, ice cream, spruce needles and oil, and warm cloudberries.
I think maybe they went a bit overboard on the mousse, because there wasn’t enough ice cream for every spoonfull. But the honeycombe and cloudberries were perfect additions to balance the dish as they gave a bit of crunch and fruity tartness as well as caramel bitterness.

It’s a beautiful restaurant with a huge ambition, and they pull it off perfectly. You leave this place feeling happy and full, although not too much. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and have no problem helping you if you have any issues. A huge plus for being able to offer wine by half a glass instead of a full one. My sister loved that touch as it allowed her to try two types of wine with her dishes. I opted for a locally produced apple juice made of windfalls that would otherwise have been thrown away.
All in all, we left satisfied and with the conviction that we will have to return at some point. And then we might even check out their exhibits as well.

1 Potatis2
Potatoes cooked three ways with rainbow trout roe and cold smoked sour cream.

2 "Rödbetsplommon", potatispuré, grillad bladkräm, hallonsky
“Beetroot plums” with potato puree, leaf paste and rapsberry sauce.

2 Gul lök2
Compost baked yellow onion, Jerusalem artichoke puree & crisps, mixed mushrooms and truffles.

3 Hjortron, getmese, honeycombe, getmjölkssorbet, granolja
Getmese, goats cheese mousse, ice cream, honeycombe, spruce oil and warm cloudberries.

3 Äppelpizza, fänkål, äppelskruttssorbet
Apple pizza, fennel, custard and apple core sorbet.

Cozy and Hearty at Kryp In Södermalm

I know that I’m behind on blogging, but life and my everyday job pretty much got in the way. But I’ll try to make up for it as I’ve got some restaurant visits left to write about before the year is over.

In August I went out with one of my best friends to eat at Kryp In Södermalm. It’s a little project of ours to eat our way around Stockholm. Our original plan was to take one different part of the city at a time but we kind of deviated from that this time.

Kryp In Södermalm is situated at Mariatorget and is a tiny place with not that many seats. The atmosphere is quite nice though with a softly lit industrial chic interior, plenty of wood and DIY-looking lamps that I really liked. It doesn’t feel cramped, although it can get a bit loud when the restaurant is full.
The staff is attentive and friendly and had no problem accommodating my gluten intolerance (always a plus in my book). The portions are also of a very good size so even if you don’t do three courses you will not leave hungry.

They have a decent sized á la carte but they also have a set three course menu for 445 SEK which is really good value for money. We decided to go for the set menu as we really liked what was being offered.

The first course was a girolle toast made with Swedish girolles and a cream cheese base. I love mushrooms, girolles in particular, and this toast did not disappoint. The slightly sharp cream cheese complimented the buttery and cheesy girolles very well, particularly since there was an abundance of them. I did feel a few grits in the mushrooms but overall I was very happy.

1 Kantarelltoast2
Girolle toast with cream cheese.

The second course was reindeer fillet with potato puree, cauliflower florettes, baked leek and blueberry sauce. While reindeer is something very Swedish it’s not something you see very often in Stockholm restaurants. Which is a shame because it’s a very tasty meat.
Just like with the girolle toast the portion size was an ample one, which can make it a bit difficult to finish if you’re not a huge eater. While there was a lot of different things on the plate, everything worked together. The reindeer was very well cooked, the potato puree was soft and the blueberry sauce wasn’t overly sweet. The crunchy cauliflower florettes were a nice addition to a dish that otherwise ran the risk of consisting of only soft textures. All in all it was a very nice dish, just a lot of it.

2 Renfilé2
Reindeer with potato puree, cauliflower, leek and blueberry sauce.

Because the two first courses were so heavy we were quite happy with the much smaller chocolate mousse for dessert. Although served in a tiny pot it was gorgeously decadent with a lovely chocolaty flavour, accompanied by a little olive oil and flakes of sea salt. This combination really needs the right type of ingredients as well as a balanced ratio and they really pulled it off here. To be honest, I think this was my favourite dish of the evening.

3 Chokladmousse2
Chocolate mousse with olive oil and sea salt.

Kryp In is a very nice little place and it’s clear that it’s a part of the neighborhood. It’s very nice to have these smaller and affordable restaurants around, especially when they make such good food as this. They also have a place in Gamla Stan (actually the starting place) and I hope that I will get to eat there as well soon.

Three Star Lunch at Frantzén

One restaurant that has been on my bucket list for the past few years is Frantzén. For a long time they were one of the few restaurants here in here in Stockholm that held two Michelin stars. A couple of years ago, Björn, the owner, decided to move the restaurant from its location in Gamla Stan to a more central position. As a part of the move he also re-vamped the restaurants concept as well as its menu. Instead of a small 12 seat restaurant he now bosses over an entire multi storey building that’s all about surprises, relaxation and intimacy.

Last week I finally got to cross Frantzén off my list together with my mother as I treated her to a surprise lunch as a late birthday present.

You know you’re in for something special as soon as the door opens and they let you in. The staff greets you by name as they take your jacket and once you’re ready you get to take the elevator all the way up to the top. You’d think that an elevator ride is just that, an elevator ride, but not here. There’s music and lighting to put you in the right mood and as soon as the doors open there is another member off the staff to greet you.
Everyone is really nice and friendly and they don’t mind to talk about the food and drink or anything else that might come to your mind. The atmosphere is incredibly relaxed, not stiff and cold as you might think a place on this level might be.

We decided to start off with a glass of champagne and also settled on the non-alcoholic beverage pairing. I’m sure the alcoholic pairing is as perfect as I imagine it to be but I can’t pass up a non-alcoholic pairing that consists of juices that the restaurants have developed themselves. As we were told later by one of the sommelieres, one of them, the fermented apple juice, has been with them for many years because everyone loves it.
I honestly have no regrets about this choice as each juice was perfectly tailored to fit its dish.

As we sat in our lounge chairs we were treated to some canapées to start with. They were small treats to eat in one bite, each one delicious in its own way, although my favourite was the sweetcorn macaron with foie gras.

If you think all you do here is sit and eat you would be dead wrong. Frantzén is a place of engagement, they want you to experience everything from top to bottom and to understand what is making up the menu you will enjoying. This means a look at the ingredients box, where they showcase all the main ingredients that will be used during the day. You will also get a nice little tour of the house, from the top view all the way down to the kitchen where you get a chance to talk to some of the chefs – a very nice treat if you’re a food geek like me.

Once you’re down in the main kitchen area, that is when the adventure moves into a new phaze with the slightly larger dishes. The menu consists mostly of seafood and fish at the moment, which is nice as you don’t run the risk of feeling full too early.
You can tell that they have worked long and hard on each dish, everything works together beautifully and there is not one element present that doesn’t need to be there. At least one of them has been with the restaurant since the very start in 2008.
While I loved every single one, of course I found my own personal favourites. Like the blue lobster that had a wonderful smokey flavour that worked incredibly well with the puffed sushi rice and artichoke emulsion. Or the silky smooth chawanmushi that was paired with crab, grilled foie gras and a meaty truffle broth. And I have to mention their version of a French toast, with a flavourful parmesan creme, drops of aged balsamic vinegar from Modena and loads of freshly shaved truffle. And to top it off there was the dessert, a trio of tea infused dishes, including a carrot and oolong tea ice cream that was out of this world.

But the meal doesn’t end there, oh no. When you have finished with your dessert you will be taken upstairs again to where you started for tea, coffee and some smaller sweet treats. Some of which you get to choose yourself from a treats trolley. I still have dreams about the gluten free madeleines they made for me, so soft and delicate.

Going to Frantzén is an all day experience from the time you enter to the time you exit. There are moments when you can sit back and relax and think about what you have just tasted but otherwise it’s one exciting surprise after another. I’m not surprised at all that they received three Michelin stars after their first year at the new location. Every single part of the meal is so well planned and watching the staff at work is like watching a well oiled machinery or a perfectly coordinated dance troup. Yes, it’s expensive but you’re not just paying for the food and drink. You’re paying for the entire five hour experience. For me, it was worth every single penny.

Ten out of ten, would definitely do it again.

2 Sötmajsmacaron, vispad anklever, körsbärskompott, rostad havre
Sweetcorn macaron with whipped foie gras, carrot crisp and cherry.

6 Blå hummer, krispigt ris, kronärtskocksemulsion
Blue lobster, puffed rice and artichoke emulsion.

7 Chawanmushi2
Chawanmushi with king crab, pak choy, grilled foie gras and truffle broth.

11 Fattiga riddare m parmesankräm, balsamico, tryffel
“French toast”: toasted brioche (gluten free in my case), parmesan creme, balsamic vinegar and black truffle.

13 Matchavåfflor, morots- & oolongglass
Matcha waffle with blueberries, carrot and oolong tea ice cream with wild flowers.

18 Madeleines
Gluten free mini madeleines.

Ingredienslåda
The amazing ingredients box!

Sharing is Caring at Agnes

My boyfriend and I have more or less started a tradition with giving my mother a restaurant visit as a Christmas present. Our latest was a dinner at Agnes here in Stockholm and at the end of July we finally made it happen.

The restaurant is located at Kungsholmen on a quiet, yet wide, side street, which gives them plenty of room for outside seating. The day of our visit was one of the hottest ones this summer and so the outside tables were more than just a little appealing.
At Agnes they serve dishes that are share friendly, so you are supposed to order a couple each and share them between each other. Most of them are smaller so you can order quite a few but they also have larger dishes suitable for two or more.

Since it was a very hot day we decided to go for lighter dishes where the animal protein wasn’t the main thing but more of a side component. In the end we settled on four dishes plus dessert. I know that might not seem like much for three people but remember that it was really hot outside so our hunger was a bit diminished. In the end we were all very happy with the choices we made and we have decided to go back during the fall or winter to see what the place is like then.

So, we started off with a lovely melon salad topped with goats cheese, prosciutto and toasted pine nuts. While a very simple combination it’s wonderful when done right, and at Agnes they definitely did it right. The flavourful, but not too strong, goats cheese worked perfectly with the sweet melon and the salty prosciutto, and the toasted pine nuts added the extra dimension needed to pull everything together.

We followed this up with a classic Swedish combination of new potatoes, creme fraiche, roe, browned butter and dill. The slight twist here is that instead of just boiling the potatoes they were also pureed and served with all the condiments plus the addition of deep fried chalottes for a bit of crunch. While delicious I would have loved some more browned butter for that extra depth.

Our third choice was another salad, this time made with green lentils from Gotland, green asparagus, baby carrots, sellery, spinach and parmesan cheese. Now, I’m not a huge fan of sellery but in this dish it worked very well together with the lentils, carrots and parmesan.

For the fourth dish we went for some grilled baby gem lettuce and confit rabbit with beans and herb mayonnaise. Grilled baby gem lettuce is one of my absolute favourite things to eat and it’s something that work really well with light meats or game. Before this I had never had rabbit before and I must say it’s a meat I really enjoy, especially when it’s been cooked confit style. It’s soft, delicate and moist, and it melds nicely with all the other flavours.

For dessert we went down the cooling road of sorbets. We chose one flavour each of mango, lemon & champagne and coconut & lime. I don’t think anyone of us were disappointed. The mango sorbet was shock full of mango, the mellow coconut paired perfectly with the sharp but sweet lime, and the quite tart lemon gave the champagne quite a flavour boost that made me smile. I don’t usually go for sorbet or ice cream on its own when I’m at a restaurant but this time it was the perfect ending.

1 Melon, getost, skinka
Melon salad with prosciutto, goats cheese and pine nuts.

2 Potatis, brynt smör, gräddfil
New potatoes, creme fraiche, roe, browned butter, dill and deep fried chalottes (half eaten because I forgot to take a picture).

3 Linser, morötter
Green lentils from Gotland, green asparagus, carrot, spinach, sellery and parmesan.

4 Gemsallad, kaninGrilled baby gem lettuce, confit rabbit, beans and herb mayonnaise.

5 Citron- & champagne-, lime- & kokos- + mangosorbetClockwise from the top: coconut and lime sorbet, mango sorbet and lemon and champagne sorbet.

An Asian Adventure at Farang Stockholm

Last year I won a gift certificate for a dinner for two at Farang here in Stockholm, a restaurang both me and my boyfriend have wanted to visit for a few years. Early this June we finally made happen! We had both heard quite a bit about them beforehand and follow them on social media so we had built up some expectations.

And let me tell you, we were not disappointed.

Farang is an Asian restaurant that focuses of Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia. They serve share style food, which means every dish on the menu is meant for sharing with your companion-s. You can either choose one of the set menus or build your own (yes, they have a vegetarian menu as well). During the summer months they scale down and close down the main restaurant area and only keep the bar open where you can get something to eat and drink. The food menu is much shorter here but I’m sure it’s equally delicious as the main ones.

We went for the eight course menu, along with the wine pairing and a non-alcoholic lychee cocktail to start with. It was very hot and humid during our visit so to start with something without alcohol was a very good choice, and the lychee one had lots of mint in it and so was really refreshing.
The dishes come out in the order they are finished in the kitchen, which means that you can have one or more different dishes on the table. But since the staff don’t stress you to finish anything that’s not a huge problem. The service do have a logic though, in which they start with the lighter dishes and then continue with the heavier ones, to finish off with the dessert.

Our first course was more like a snack, smoked rainbow trout with roasted peanuts on top of a cha plu leaf that you rolled up and ate like a taco. A very nice treat to start with, light and the peanuts complimented the trout really well. Rainbow trout is one of my favourite fishes but you don’t see it very often so I was very happy to see it used here.
The second course was a Vietnamese style sashimi made with salmon, asian herbs and a black rice vinegar dressing. The dressing was wonderfully sharp and cut through the fatness of the fish in a very nice way.
The third course was something that I’ve wanted to try ever since I first saw it on Masterchef Australia some years ago: soft shell crab. Here it was served deep fried and accompanied by a refreshing green mango salad with pomelo, mint, peanuts and other delicious ingredients. I had been assured it was safe for me to eat (since I’m gluten intolerant) and I could tell there was no wheat flour coating that crab (you sort of pick up how things with gluten taste and feel after a while) so I was truly happy! And it was so good! Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. The major perk with a soft shell crab is that you can eat it whole, shell and all, and it was a really lovely dish.
By the fourth course we started towards more heavy dishes with pork cooked two ways (braised and crispy fried) with a palm sugar caramel dressing, rice vinegar and roasted onion. The pork was crispy yet soft and with the rice vinegar and caramel you got to create a yummie sweet and sour sauce to your own liking.
The fifth course was a yellow curry that was served with a roti bread for my boyfriend and a  prawn cracker for me. The curry was a beautiful yellow colour and had so much flavour. You could really tell it had been cooking for a long time in order to let all the spices and flavours bloom and come together. And since it was quite spicy they gave you a small jug of coconut cream for you to add to your own taste.
For the sixth course we went vegetarian with a crispy fried tofu served with watercress and pak choi. I love crispy fried tofu and while this could have been a bit crispier I can’t fault the flavours, and the vegetables were wonderful.
The seventh and last of of the savoury courses was a braised ox cheek served in a chili broth with a mint a bean sprout salad. The meat was so tender it fell apart and the broth was very aromatic and not too spicy.
Finally we came to the dessert. My boyfriend got the one that was part of the menu, a bounty inspired treat of young coconut ice cream, salted caramel, crystallized chocolate and whipped coconut. Since there was a gluten element in that one I got a lovely exotic fruit salad with a white chocolate creme, peach & pineapple sorbet and a vanilla & cocnut sauce. Personally, I think I got the best end fo the dessert bargain as it was very light and refreshing. Perfect to end a meal full of warmth, flavours and spices.

All in all it was a very lovely meal, it was really fun to try all these different dishes and experience the different flavour combinations. They are very tuned into different allergies as well and have no problem recommending what one should do if there are any allergies. We left Farang very happy and we are planning to go back – hopefully soon.

Alkoholfri lichidrinkNon-alcoholic cocktail with lychee and mint.

1 Cha plu-blad, varmrökt regnbåge, jordnötter & regnbågsromCha plu leaf, smoked rainbow trout, roasted peanuts & rainbow trout roe.

2 Sashimi vietnamese styel
Vietnamese style sashimi, asian herbs & black rice vinegar dressing.

3 Soft shell crab & grön mangosallad
Deep fried soft shell crab, green mango salad & peanuts.

4 Krispig gris m palmsockerkaramell
Crispy fried braised pork, palm sugar caramel, rice vinegar & roasted onion.

5 Gul curry m rischips
Yellow curry with prawn cracker (the gluten free version).

6 Salt & pepper tofu
“Morning glory”, salt & pepper tofu with greens.

7 Oxkind Seremban
Ox cheek “Seremban”, aromatic chili broth with mint & bean sprout salad.

8 Fruktsallad, vanilj- & kokoskräm, persiko- & ananassorbet
Exotic fruit salad, peach & pineapple sorbet, white chocolate creme, coconut & vanilla sauce.

8 Phanangan bounty
“Phanangan bounty”, young coconut ice cream, salted caramel, crystallized chocolate and whipped coconut.

Anniversary Dinner at Aloë

“Including, contemporary, romantic gastronomy”. This is how the team behind Aloë describe what they want to do and they’re definitely not wrong.

When my boyfriend and I earlier this year were discussing where we wanted to spend our 11th anniversary we both felt the answer was pretty obvious. We have been following Aloë since the very beginning and have had dinner there twice before, and so now when they decided to re-invent themselves again we knew we had to go back.

If you’ve never been to Aloë before you might be a bit surprised by the fact that it’s not located in the city center but in a suburb south of Stockholm. It’s not very showy on the outside, in fact, it’s just an ordinary small house. Which is perfect because the staff immediately make you feel at home.

The first thing that happens is that you get seated in a small ante-room where you will be served some punch (with or without alcohol) and some snacks. The point here is to relax and start talking with other guests that are joining. This is then continued as you are led into the dining area, because if you are only two you get to share your table with two other guests. You are supposed to talk to each other and let the dining experience turn into more of a social event. Talking pictures of the food is fine, but they don’t want you to spend the entire evening staring at the screen.
I love this concept, because I am one of those who can’t help getting involved when other people talk about food. And we were lucky enough to share our table with another foodie couple who also happened to be gluten intolerant! So my boyfriend was (for once) the odd one out, which was quite fun as he was the only one to have some dishes in their original form.
The only problem I found was how the chairs were placed around the table. They were all on one side so instead of looking at each other we were all looking in the same direction. I have roughly 50% loss of hearing on my right ear so this type of seating didn’t work as well for me as sitting opposite each other would have.

But the food was amazing!

We started with a set of hors d’oeuvres, out of which my favourite was a squid dashi that held so much flavour and depth I could have had bowls of it. There was also a Cantabrian anchovy with coriander on top of a rice crisp that was just perfect, and a lovely little pot of fresh peas, whitefish roe from Kalix and vin jaune.
The service has a flow that let you rest a little between dishes, which is needed because there are many of them. Two servers bring the food out together and at exactly the same time they stir a sauce and pour in on the plate or add a light broth to your bowl. The whole thing is like a well rehearsed ballet and it’s beautiful to see. It’s details like that that make me a very happy diner when I’m having food at this level.

The inspiration clearly comes from all over the world and they pair flavours and ingredients with utmost confidence. Not all of them work for me, but that’s just my personal taste. While the dish with Philibon melon, argan oil and aged balsamico (150 years, to be exact) balanced the ingredients perfectly, I found the green horseradish a bit overpowering with the white asparagus chawanmushi (that I otherwise loved). The blue lobster with tomato and grapefruit was also a nice treat. Out of the more main like courses we both felt that the monkfish with soup de poisson was a success, as was the dessert with strawberries, chestnut honey and black olives.
As a finishing touch you get a tray of sweet treats, which for us included a chocolate caramel sphere (a tart in its original form), marmelade sweets, bonbons and a tartelette filled with pistachio and wild strawberries (originally an eclair). However, we were so full at this point that we could barely finish any of these (we even forgot to snap a photo!). The pistachio and wild strawberry treat was delicious, as was the passionfruit sorbet that was served at the table.

Normally I would say something about the wine pairing here. but we didn’t have any wine. Instead, we opted for the non-alcoholic pairing. This menu holds juices and teas that they make themselves. They are very refreshing with flavours like cucumber, tomato, pomegranate, apple, Lapsang Souchong and lychee, and all of them work wery well with the dishes. It’s very nice to see that they make an effort for people who for one reason or other don’t feel like drinking alcohol. Everyone deserves something nice to drink and I hope that more restaurants, no matter budget level, will do this.

Aloë is a place I love to go back to and it’s so much fun to follow the team on social media to see what happens behind the scenes. They are all so dedicated to what they do and that helps lifting a dinner here to new hights. They already have one Michelin star and I hope that they will reach their goal of three stars.

2 Starter treatsHors d’oeuvres, including Cantabrian anchovy and squid dashi.

4 Blå hummer, tomat & grapefruktBlue lobster with tomato and grapefruit.

5 Vit sparris-chawanmushi2
White asparagus chawanmushi with razor clam and green horseradish.

7 Marulk, soup de poisson2
Monkfish with soup de poisson.

11 Franska jordgubbar, shiso, kastanjehonung & taggiacheoliver
Strawberries with chestnut honey and black olives.

Kagges: Relaxed With an Attention to Detail

One of my best friends and I have started on a little food project. We both love eating and we both feel that we haven’t experienced Stockholm’s food scene enough, so we decided to eat our way through the city together (as best as we can, anyway).

The first restaurant we decided on was Kagges, a place I’ve wanted to go to for some time. They have taken over Frantzéns old location in Old Town, which, if you were ever lucky enough to eat there before they moved (I wasn’t), isn’t very big. But even though the dining area is quite small, and you have to manouver through the small coat room to get to the only toilet, it doesn’t feel cramped.
Most of the seats are at tables but there are some seats at the bar, a place that I love to sit at because I get to see the food being made. We didn’t get to sit there but we did get a table fairly close to the bar so we could see them plating up.

The staff is incredibly friendly and relaxed without being too much in your face. They were very nice and went through the menu with me when I said that I’m gluten intolerant to see what I could order without any issues and which dishes to avoid.
We decided to pick our own dishes (they have a “tasting menu” offer as well where they choose the four best dishes of the day) and let our waiter recommend suitable wines for us.
While they recommend to choose four dishes for a full meal, we chose three and felt that was just enough for us.

As is common on most restaurants we started with a bread serving, which for my friends consisted of a roll baked at a fairly local bakery (I wish I could remember the name!) and smoked butter. They didn’t have any gluten free bread for me but what I got instead was even better: cruditees of carrots and radishes with a ramson mayonnaise to dip in. It was so delicious, I actually kept the bowl with me for the entire dinner, nibbling away between the dishes! I thought it was a very nice and creative thing to do instead of just giving me any old gluten free bread that they themselves didn’t feel proud serving (although I know there are some really good ones out there!). As someone who’s not all that into bread before a dinner I was more than happy.

After that it was time for the food. At Kagges the menu is divided into four sections: vegetables, fish, meat and desserts. After some deliberation we went for vegetables, meat and something sweet to finish. And because we like the same things we ended up choosing the same dishes.

The main ingredient for the vegetable dish was something that I absolutely love: pointed cabbage. Here it was served smoked with sour cream, lavender and trout roe. The cabbage was soft but still with a little bite to it and the smokiness went really well with the sourness of the cream, the fresh roe and the perfume of the lavender (which always runs a risk of being overpowering but here it was a very well balanced sidenote).
The meat was lamb that had been slowed cooked for a really long time, it just fell apart. It was served with lightly boiled yellow beets, carrot ribbons, kale, dill oil and the most amazing lamb jus. It had bags of flavour from cooking down for days. We both wished we had spoon or a piece of bread to eat it up with.
The dessert was a lovely mix of cooked rhubarb, soft goats cheese mousse and a tuile that you had to break in order to get to the deliciousness underneath. Rhubarb is one of my favourite things, especially this time of year when it has the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness. Together with the goats cheese and the crispy tuile it was a match made in heaven!

1 Bröd och cruditeer2Bread with smoked butter (not seen), duck liver sausage and cruditees with ramson mayo.

2 Spetskål, syrad grädde, lavendel & forellromSmoked pointed cabbage with sour cream, trout roe and lavender.

3 Lamm, gulbetor & morötter
Slow cooked lamb with yellow beets, carrots, baby kale, dill oil and lamb jus.

4 Rabarber, getost & flarn
Cooked rhubarb with goats cheese mousse and tuile.

4 Rabarber, getost & flarn öppen
Cooked rhubarb with goats cheese mousse and tuile, broken open.

Kagges might be a tiny restaurant but the atmosphere is so friendly and relaxed that it doesn’t feel like it. It’s still airy and you don’t have to worry about bumping into other guests. Everyone in the kitchen as well as on the floor know what they’re doing and the attention to detail is immacculate. And because they change their menu depending on what ingredients they have the food is always a surprise.
We both really enjoyed our dinner there and personally, I hope I will get the chance to eat there again.

Birthday Dinner at Pubologi

Last Friday, 19th April, was my birthday. To celebrate it, my love and I decided to go out to dinner. We had talked quite a bit about going to Pubologi (me especially since my visit last fall with my sister) and since we knew they were going to close after Easter we were very happy when we managed to get a table.

Fun fact: the table we got seated at was next to the one my sister and I had during our dinner!

This final menu was inspired by the different continents of the world, with the usual four base dishes and two optional ones to add on. We opted to just go for the standard four ones and we also chose the head chef’s wine pairing menu. The flavours and combination of ingredients were fairly classic with some nice twists here and there.
We had a question mark or two but overall we enjoyed everything. For example we had difficulty finding the wasabi in the sabayonne with the white asparagus, which was a bit sad since the wine had been chosen to match with its heat. It was still a good tasting dish but I think not being able to taste the wasabi unfortunately didn’t make it as great as it was intended to be.

They were also very accommodating to my gluten intolerance (as usual) and tweaked the dishes that contained gluten for me. Mostly that meant just taking away the ingredient that had gluten in it which worked fine with the fish (it’s originally breaded and fried but I got it plain). I would have liked to have more walnuts with the pork though as they got slightly lost in the bold flavours. The original dish also had a Swedish sausage called “isterband”, but since that contains gluten it was left off my dish. I didn’t feel that I missed out on anything though, it tasted just as good without it.
Let me just say though, that the buckwheat brownie was delicious!

Oh yeah, and salty popcorn with truffle butter is a killer combination!

1 Snacks popcorn, tryffelsmör & chorizoStarter snacks: salty popcorn with truffle butter.

2 Torsk, morötter, dill, tapioka & vitvinssåsAntarctica “Pingu Food”: cod with carrots, dill, tapioca and white wine sauce.
Cider: 2017 Gravenstein Ice Ice Baby, Pomologik, Strängnäs, Sweden

Mathias 2_4
The original serving of the fish dish.

3 Vit sparris2
Asia “The Last Samurai”: White asparagus, wasabi sabayonne, soya, yuzu & crispy chicken skin.
Wine: 2016 Zeltinger Himmelreich Kabinett, Markus Molitor, Mosel, Germany

4 Fläsk, valnötter, röbetor & kålbuljong
Europe “The Smolandian Urka”: Birchotan grilled “Pig’s Secret”, walnuts, beetroots & roasted cabbage jus (without the “isterband”).
Wine: 2015 Protos Crianza, Bodegas Protos, Ribera del Duero, Spain

Mathias 4
The pork and cabbage dish with the “isterband”.

5 Passionsfruktsglass, grädde, bovetebrownie & chokladjord
Africa “Gloria’s Munchies”: chocolate, passion friut ice cream & brownie.
Wine: 2016 Masetto Dulcis Passito, Endrizzi, Trentino-Alto Adige, Italian

Apart from creating wonderful dishes, Daniel Crespi (the mastermind behind Pubologi, Djuret, Tweed, Burgundy and Flickan) also keeps incredibly friendly staff at his restaurant. I have visited almost all of them (still haven’t ticked off Burgundy, this needs to change!) and I have never been disappointed with the level of service. They are nice, easy-going, always willing to answer any questions you might have and you know you can trust them to take care of you.

While I am sad that I will never be able to eat here again I am very excited to see what will happen now as the restaurant gets turned into a test kitchen, complete with occasional pop-up events. Hopefully I will be able to visit one of them in the future.

A Quick Life Update

Sometimes things doesn’t go exactly as planned.

In January I posted about my goal to write at least one blog post a week. Well, that kind of failed during February but that’s only because life got in the way, partly because of work and partly because of family. On the work side things got more intense than usual and I felt a huge amount of stress piling up.

On the family side my grandmother (on my father’s side, the last one of her generation remaining) fell ill. In early December last year she turned 96. A few years ago we didn’t even think she would live that long as a combination of illnesses took over. Thanks to some brilliant doctors and nurses (and some difficult but necessary decisions, I’m not going to lie) she survived and it became a running joke in our family that she would outlive every single one of us.
Even before her birthday last year we all started to notice that she was becoming more tired and after December it became clearer than ever. In late January I visited her at the nursing home where she lived and it was like seeing a completely different person. She had become so very old it was heartbreaking. In early February she was taken to the hospital with fluid in her lungs and on the 11th of February she quietly passed away.

Last Friday (on International Women’s Day) it was her funeral, a small but beautiful one. My sister had made cookies that grandmother had used to make when we were young, she had practiced the recipe several times to get it right.

And that is one thing that I will always keep with me, the memory of her cooking and baking when we were kids. Her cookies were some of the best ever and there are several dishes that I remember from her dinner parties and from our summers in our country house in the north of Sweden. And I’m lucky to be able to say that I will be able to make many of them at home even though she’s gone. Because she wrote down all of her recipes in books for us grandkids to keep. So her legacy will continue even though she’s not here anymore.

I will miss her very much but I will treasure the happy memories more.

Receptbok
My grandmother’s handwritten recipe book