If you want to go out for dinner in Stockholm you really are spoiled for choice, no matter your budget. There are many affordable restaurants and quite a few high end luxury places are popping up here and there. What is not so common though is high end restaurants outside the city center.
Aloë is in the foreruns to change all that. Situated in the southern suburbs of Stockholm they bring luxury dining to those who either don’t want to go into the city or who are willing to take a trip from it.
When my boyfriend and I first visited Aloë two years ago we were already impressed with their high standard and attention to details in flavours and plating. Last Friday we, along with my mother as this was her Christmas gift last year, experienced first-hand how much they have stepped up their game. During our first visit they offered two tasting menus of different length. Today they offer only one, but by no means is it a small one. If you book a table here you better not have anything else planned for the rest of the night. That’s not a bad thing though as the entire dinner is an experience in itself. They also change the menu every now and then so what was served last week may not be what is served this week.
Two years ago the menu was a combination of Nordic and Continental flavours, beautifully executed with as local ingredients as possible. During our visit last week we found it to be heavily Japanese inspired (both in entire dishes, individual ingredients as well as plating) with Continental touches here and there. The Nordic feel was also present, especially in the choice of certain ingredients, like the squid that comes from the Swedish coast and is caught along with other fish. I’m not usually a fan of eating squid but this one, in combination with iced coriander, jalapeño and a green bell pepper soup was incredible and cooked to perfection.
Aloë 2015: venison with Jerusalem artichoke purée, baked onion, apple sauce and truffled soy flavoured butter.
Aloe 2017: Swedish squid with jalapeño, iced coriander and green bell pepper soup.
Now, I won’t give the entire menu away as I want your experience to be as much a surprise as it was for us. So instead I will show some of my favourites and try to describe the overall evening. The dinner started off with us being placed right by the open kitchen in order to be treated with a selection of “snacks”, or smaller treats. All three of us agreed that one of our favourites among these was the shawamushi made with halibut stock and served with Jerusalem artichoke purée, caviar and rice crisp. Shawamushi isn’t something you see on the menu very often in Sweden so to finally try it was really fun and the dish itself was amazing, so smooth and full of flavour!
Shawamushi with Jerusalem artichoke purée, caviar and rice crisp.
Once we were done with the treats we were led to our table where the non-stop flavour journey continued. Watching the staff changing cutlery, bring out new dishes and remove the finished plates was like watching a perfectly choregraphed dance, no one missed a beat (with the exception of a fork that shouldn’t have been placed out and needed to be changed). And the dishes that were placed before us were no different. Everything was so finely tuned, every single ingredient worked in perfect harmony with the rest and even though the dishes are very small they all pack a flavour punch.
The first dish was a perfect example of this, a baked char with kimchi and cucumber placed on a shiso leaf that you ate with your hands.
Baked char with kimchi, cucumber and shiso.
While this particular menu focused a lot on fish and seafood there were some meat dishes as well. One of these was my absolute favourite, the one thing I can never say no to: fois gras. Here it was served with a meringue cover and a kumquat purée which bitterness perfectly balanced the richness of the fois gras. The meringue was a completely new touch for me but of course you want something crispy to go with your fois gras and it worked like a charm.
Fois gras gateau with kumquat purée and meringue.
I love a menu that surprise me and there was no end to all the surprises that we had. Everything we tasted had that “wow” feeling that left us talking about it up until the next dish arrived. You know how you sometimes feel a bit let down by the desserts? Like it doesn’t feel that they put as much love and care into them as the savoury dishes? Well, not at Aloë. Here the desserts are as meticulously thought out as all the previous dishes and we were not disappointed by neither flavour nor texture. There were two before the smaller sweet treats and I think my favourite was the first one, an apple parcel with Amontillado and raisin served with an apricot ice cream that really tasted of apricots.
Apple parcel with Amontillado, raisin, chocolate twig and apricot ice cream.
Aloë is definitely one of my all time favourite restaurants and even though it’s expensive you do get a lot for your money. You don’t get just a dinner, you get a food experience together with an opportunity to interact with the chefs and owners. They are working hard at what they do and it shows in every single dish that they put up. It is obvious that they aim for a Michelin star and to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if one is waiting around the corner.