The Michelin Guide to The Nordic Countries and Guide Michelin Main Cities of Europe 2014

On Wednesday March 12 the head of Guide Michelin, Michael Ellis, will attend a press conference in Stockholm to present the Main Cities of Europe 2014 and the first edition of The Michelin Guide to the Nordic Countries. It is still uncertain whether it will be a full guide covering all cities in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Finland or just, like today, the capitals and Gothenburg. It is also uncertain whether it will be a regular guide or an edition resembling the Bonnes petites tables du Guide Michelin.

I have not heard any reports of Michelin inspectors visiting restaurants outside Stockholm and Gothenburg so I guess that – at least when it comes to the Swedish part of the guide – the new guide will feature just the same cities as before. If that’s the case it is a bit said because I think e.g. Fäviken, Daniel Berlin and Vollmers are very strong candidates for stars, Fäviken and Daniel Berlin even for three stars.

I have not heard any rumors yet but considering that the head of the Guide will come to Sweden I would not be surprised if Sweden finally gets its first three starred restaurant. Most people in Sweden would put their money on that Restaurant Frantzén will be the first restaurant with three stars. I do not think so. I think Mathias Dahlgren will be first. This is just speculation from my side since I have not eaten at any of those two restaurants during the last year.

This is my prediction of what the list of starred restaurants in Stockholm will look like.

Three stars

Mathias Dahlgren Matsalen

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Two stars

Restaurant Frantzén

Restaurant Esperanto

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One star

Ekstedt

F12

Gastrologik

Mathias Dahlgren Matbaren

Oaxen Krog

Operakällaren

Pubologi

Restaurang Jonas

Volt

Since last years guide was published I have eaten at eight of the twelve restaurants above. I have no opinion of Oaxen, Frantzén. Matsalen and Operakällaren since I have not been there this year. I think that Gastrologik is worth two stars but I do not think they will get a second star this year. Simply because they have just been open for two years. I am not sure whether F12 and Jonas are worth a star. They are not as good as Matbaren and Gastrologik but they are on par with some Spanish one starred restaurants. I would be very fun to see Pubologi and Volt on the list of starred restaurants. Both are without doubt worth a star. In my opinion Ekstedt and Matbaren should retain there stars.

Last year I tried to map Guide Michelin and the Swedish White Guide to see how many stars Sweden would have been awarded if White Guide were in charge. White Guide don’t give stars to restaurants. Instead it uses a 100 point scale in which a restaurant can get a maximum of 40 points for the food. Last year I chose 32 points as being equal to one star; 36 points to two stars and 39 points to three stars. I equalled 32 points to one star because that was the lowest amount of points a Michelin starred restaurant got i White Guide. If using the same standards this year the fictional Guide Michelin for Sweden would look like this.

Three stars

Esperanto

Fäviken Magasinet

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Two stars

Oaxen Krog

Mathias Dahlgren Matsalen

Gastrologik

Restaurant Frantzén

Daniel Berlin Krog

Operakällaren

PM & Vänner

F12 Restaurant

Gothia Towers Upper House

Hotell Borgholm

Restaurang Vollmers

-

One star

Restaurang Jonas

Bhoga Restaurang

Mathias Dahlgren Matbaren

Sjömagasinet

Krakas Krog

Bastard Mat & Vin

Bloom in the Park

Swedish Taste

Ölbaren

Ekstedt

Thörnströms Kök

Grossmans

Råkultur

28+

Lilla Ego

Linnéa Art Restaurant

Sofiero Slottsrestaurang

Agatons Restaurang

Gastro

Restaurang Volt

Wasa Allé

Restaurang Hvita Hjorten

Pubologi

Which restaurants do you think will get a star this year?

Lilla Ego

Få restauranger har blivit så omskrivna på kort tid som Lilla Ego. Att få ett bord inte det lättaste (om man inte kniper någon av de obokningsbara platserna vid baren). När något blir för hajpat blir jag ofta lite tveksam. Men i det här fallet faller jag till fullo in i hyllningskören. Lilla Ego är nämligen precis så bra som alla säger. På kort tid har den blivit en av mina absoluta favoritrestauranger i Stockholm.

Oklassisk fläsktartar med smaker och tillbehör från djupaste Småland men tolkad på Lilla Egos vis.

Oklassisk fläsktartar med smaker och tillbehör från djupaste Småland. Men tolkad på Lilla Egos vis.

Du som läser det här har med största sannolikhet redan hört talas om Lilla Ego. Jag tänker därför inte skriva någon längre presentation av krogen. Lilla Ego drivs av Tom Sjöstedt och Daniel Räms. Båda har vunnit tävlingen Årets Kock; Tom år 2008 och Daniel 2013. Tanken med Lilla Ego är att det ska vara en kvarterskrog, men med höga ambitioner.

Ordet kvarterskrog kan ge felaktiga associationer. Jag ska medge att jag först inte trodde att matambitionerna var så höga som de faktiskt är. Rent matmässigt är Lilla Ego långt bättre än vad en kvarterskrog i Sverige brukar vara. Ordet kvarterskrog passar dock betydligt bättre som beskrivning av stämningen i lokalen. Även om nivån på maten är högre än på många fine-dining restauranger är stämningen precis lika avslappnad som på en kvarterskrog. Lilla Ego är en restaurang med mycket värme och humor. Det senare märker man bland annat på de humoristiskt skrivna menyerna. Det är helt enkelt ett ställe där man väldigt snabbt känner sig som hemma.

Daniels vinnarrätt ÅK13, fast bra. Serveras med dovhjortssadel, bakade champinjoner och vinägersky

Daniels vinnarrätt ÅK13, fast bra. Serveras med dovhjortssadel, bakade champinjoner och vinägersky

Till skillnad från de flesta andra restauranger i Sverige, som lagar mat på samma nivå som Lilla Ego, serverar de inga avsmakningsmenyer utan har bara en traditionell à la carte-meny. Portionerna är generösa, man går inte hungrig från Lilla Ego och priserna är väldigt sympatiska. Prissättningen uppskattas av oss konsumenter som har råd att besöka restaurangen många gånger men tydligen inte av en person med hög ställning på en framstående stockholmsrestaurang som ansåg att Lilla Ego har för låga priser och serverar för stora portioner och därför gav restaurangen en utskällning.

Den här recensionen baserar sig på tre middagar; de två första besöken skedde i höstas och det senaste i slutet av januari. Jag kommer inte att gå igenom varje rätt i detalj utan det blir mer av en samlad bedömning.

Saltbakad selleri med stekta padrones och picklade grönsaker serverad med en citron- och rostad vitlökskorv 

Saltbakad selleri med stekta padrones och picklade grönsaker serverad med en citron- och rostad vitlökskorv Lilla Ego

Det finns ett tydligt grönsaksfokus på restaurangen. Det är dock ingen vegetarisk restaurang, men i flera rätter tar grönsakerna större plats än de animaliska proteinerna.

Det ord som allra bäst beskriver maten på Lilla Ego är god. Allt som serveras på Lilla Ego är nämligen vansinnigt gott. Så där gott att man vill slicka varenda tallrik. Alla smaker är väldigt väl avvägda och rätterna är genomgående välbalanserade. Det är alltid en väldigt bra balans mellan fetma, sötma och syra i rätterna.

Jag tycker det finns något väldigt befriande med maten på Lilla Ego. Tom och Daniel försöker sig inte på några konstigheter för att väcka uppmärksamhet utan synes hela tiden förlita sig på att man kommer väldigt långt med att servera god mat. Läsaren skall inte tolka detta som att maten är simpel. Det är trots allt två kockar som har vunnit Årets Kock som står bakom grytorna. Rätterna kan vara komplexa såväl smak- som texturmässigt, men aldrig på bekostnad av det goda. Med den oklassiska fläsktartaren med isterbandscrunch har de redan skapat en signaturrätt.

Råstekta hummerklor och kryddig hummerkräm. Kommer med röda grönsaker, picklad vitlök och torkat surdegsbröd

Råstekta hummerklor och kryddig hummerkräm. Kommer med röda grönsaker, picklad vitlök och torkat surdegsbröd Lilla Ego

Visst finns det restauranger som är mer innovativa. Och visst är det kul med innovation. Men det viktigaste, i vart fall enligt min mening, är att maten är god. På denna punkt har herrarna Räms och Sjöstedt väldigt få övermän. En restaurang blir inte bra bara för att den serverar udda råvaror kombinerade på ett nytt sätt eller tillagade med en ny teknik. Intressant mat är inte bättre än god mat. Det bör sägas att de har en tydlig egen stil.

Pumpa och anka

Pumpa och anka Lilla Ego

Råvarorna håller överlag bra kvalitet om än inte samma höga kvalitet som på t.ex. Gastrologik eller Daniel Berlin. Tillagningen är i princip fri från anmärkningar. Den enda miss jag noterat är att honungscrunchet i chokladdesserten vid ett av två tillfällen då jag ätit desserten drog åt det lite för beska/brända hållet. Den andra gången jag åt desserten var balansen i denna komponent bättre. Detta är väl egentligen min enda anmärkning. Jag förstod dock inte riktigt den falska tryffeln som revs över den rotade vitlöks- och citronkorven. Den tillförde nämligen ingenting till rätten. Något som tyvärr alltför ofta är fallet även med äkta tryffel i Stockholm.

Din enda vän i vintermörkret stavas choklad

Din enda vän i vintermörkret stavas choklad Lilla Ego

Lilla Ego presterar redan nu på enstjärnig nivå. Jag tror dock inte att de kommer att få någon stjärna i år. De har helt enkelt haft öppet för kort tid för att Guide Michelin skall ha hunnit inspektera restaurangen. Stjärnan borde dock komma nästa år. Det skall bli väldigt intressant att se vad White Guide tycker imorgon. Lilla Ego hör utan tvekan hemma på Mästarklasslistan. Lilla Ego är en väldigt stark rekommendation. Jag kommer så klart att återvända många gånger. Faktum är att det blir ett återbesök redan nästa vecka.

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Volt – Stockholm

After having worked at a couple of Sweden’s best restaurants the four friends of Simon Carlson, Fredrik Johnsson, Peter Andersson (chefs) and Johan Bengtsson (restaurant manager) opened Volt in 2010 with the intention to serve ambitious food in a more relaxed environment than the traditional fine dining restaurants. In the beginning they used the word gastro bistro to describe the restaurant. They have yet to become recognized by Guide Michelin but I do not think it will take long before they will receive their first star. Although not all, but most, of the produce is from the Nordic region you could describe Volt as being part of the New Nordic cooking school. The restaurant is fairly small seating 32 people.

At Volt you can either choose from the à la carte menu or one of three set menus with four, six or nine courses. I had dinner on November 7, 2013 and chose the six course-menu which cost 700 SEK.

Dried black trumpet mushroom and pickled fårticka (Albatrellus ovinus)

Dinner started with a couple of mushroom crackers made of tapioca flour in basically the same way as you make a rice cracker. The crackers were lightly seasoned with black trumpet mushrooms and rather salty. In the bowl were also small pieces of pickled fårticka, a mushroom which English name I cannot find (Albatrellus ovinus in Latin). A nice but not great start.

Restaurant Volt Stockholm 7 November 2013

Bread was fair but not remarkable. It was served with home churned butter and ister seasoned with dried fennel.

Crab, Jerusalem artichoke, elderberries and virgin butter

Crab, Jerusalem artichoke, elderberries and virgin butter

With the first course on the menu Volt served me one of last year’s very best dishes. I have to say it was absolutely brilliant. A shredded crab was served with elderberries and Jerusalem artichoke in three textures; as a roasted purée, fried peels and raw shreds on top. The roasted purée was especially delicious being made solely of the Jerusalem artichoke and crab butter. The fried peels and the raw shreds of Jerusalem artichoke added some nice crunch and freshness to the dish. A true masterpiece that I want to came back and eat.

Garlic, cod roe and sour cream

Garlic, cod roe and sour cream

Steamed and seared onion, fermented garlic and sour cream mixed with dried cod roe. Despite being a very light dish there was a lot of flavor and complexity. The sourness in the cream and the slight saltiness in the roe finely balanced the sweetness of the onion. A very good dish.

Elk, beetrots, marrow and spruce oil

Elk (European), beetroot, marrow and spruce oil

Pickled beetroots and burned thin slices of beetroots were covered by a very thin slice of raw European elk. (The elk was most likely from Sweden but I used the word European so readers should not interpret this as being a deer. After Björn Frantzén opened his pub The Flying Elk in Stockholm there seems to be a confusion around the word elk and whether that or moose is the correct English word for the Swedish King of the forest.The correct answer is that in America the Swedish ”älg” is called moose and in Europe it’s called elk). There was a fine balance between the sweetness in the meat and the acidity and burned notes in the beetroots. Although it was a good dish I did not find it a as good as the previous dishes; maybe because the flavors were a bit bland. It was still on Michelin star level. There were also some spruce oil on the plate but I have to admit that I could not really notice that.

Monkfish, cauliflower, browned butter and sea buckthorn

Monkfish, cauliflower, browned butter and sea buckthorn

Cauliflower baked in (browned) butter with cauliflower purée, baked monkfish and sea buckthorn. This could have been an excellent dish but I found it a bit unbalanced. The sweetness in the fish, cauliflower and butter needs acidity but here the sea buckthorn became a little bit too dominant. The fish was of fine quality but could have been cooked one or two degrees more. Despite these remarks it was a delicious dish with good flavors.

Lamb, cabbage broth and buckwheat

Lamb, cabbage broth and buckwheat

Lamb, cabbage broth, point cabbage braised in butter and roasted buckwheat. It felt like the lamb had been cooked sous-vide, the meat was just barely browned and the whole piece of meat had pretty much the same texture. I would have preferred the lamb having more browning. I have to say that I do not find cabbage broth particularly interesting. Not at the same level as the rest of the dinner.

Quince, almonds and meringue

Quince, almonds and meringue

A frozen quince bavaroise was served with slices of meringue. At the time of writing I do not remember what the almond part of the dish consisted of. Unfortunately this dessert was just overly sweet and bland.

Dried apples

Restaurant Volt Stockholm 7 November 2013

My dinner was not free from remarks but overall this was a very, very good dinner. The way that Volt keeps the food quite simple (even though it’s elaborate) shows that the chefs got real talent and feel confident with what they are cooking. I do not like overcomplicated dishes. Generally I think less is more (there are sometimes exceptions). Adding an extra ingredient seldom makes a dish better. At this dinner I thought every ingredient deserved its place on the plate. Well done.

Sponge cake

I think that the chefs at Volt have found their own style of cooking. When you look at the food you can almost instantly see that it is cooked by Volt. The food is creative, produce is of high quality and most of the cooking is basically faultless. In my opinion this dinner clearly merits one Michelin star and that’s without taking into account the fact that the dinner only cost 700 SEK (remember that value for money is one of Michelin’s criteria for a star). I had two dinners at Volt back in 2012. This dinner was absolutely a step up from my last dinner back in 2012. I would say that Volt is probably the most underrated restaurant in Stockholm.

Although it’s fine dining food-wise and the restaurant is quite tranquil the friendly service makes the atmosphere very relaxed. It is the kind of restaurant where you immediately feel comfortable and happy. Service was excellent during the dinner and every course arrived without delay.

Volt is a strong recommendation. I will definitely return.

Mathias Dahlgren Matbaren – Stockholm

Normally I do not publish a restaurant review after just eating two dishes because it is not enough in order to evaluate a kitchen. Today I will make an exception to that ”rule”. My lunch today at Mathias Dahlgren Matbaren was so good that I would like to share it despite I had just two courses. Considering my post only covers a main course and a dessert I would not call it a review but simply a short report. I have written about Mathias Dahlgren Matbaren a couple of times before so I will not do that today. Matbaren is as you most likely know the more casual of Mathias Dahlgren´s two restaurants in Stockholm’s Grand Hôtel. The restaurant holds one Michelin star since 2009. Since I had not planned to go to Matbaren today I didn’t have my camera with me. The pictures are therefore not very good.

Swedish coarsely ground entrecôte

Svensk grovmalen entrecôte Mathias Dahlgren Matbaren

A very fine piece entrecôte had been coarsely ground and then very quickly seared. It was almost completely red. The meat, which had a very pleasant flavor and texture, rested on a Gruyère flavored emulsion which added nice complexity to the dish. Also on the plate were some watercress, thin slices of onion (I cannot find the English word for silverlök) and fried potato juliennes. The latter adding a nice crunch to the soft texture of the meat. This may not look special. In a way you could say that it basically was a burger with fries. But it was so much more and so much better. The dish did not feel heavy like a burger yet there was a real depth of flavor. It was simply the kind of dish I could eat every day for the rest of my life. Absolutely fantastic.

Cherries and tonka

Körsbär och tonka Mathias Dahlgren MatbarenFrom top till bottom; cherry sorbet, two very thin crackers made of oat, buttermilk sorbet and tonka cream. Scattered over the tonka cream were some caramel powder and what must have been freeze dried cherries (I did not notice that until I looked at the picture). A couple of years ago I had a very similar dessert at Matbaren made of cherries, tonka and goat milk. In that dish everything had the same texture; in principle it was just three different ”creams”. This years version was much better even though this one also was composed mostly of different ”creams”. But the caramel powder balanced the creamy texture of the other ingredients (a bit like tannins in a wine) and added a slight bitterness. In short, super delicious!

Mignardises

Kaffegodis Mathias Dahlgren

The selection of mignardises have not changed sine my last visit; Madeleines and peanut fudge. I find them overly sweet, especially the last one. There is room for improvement.

I have been to Matbaren about 15 times. Some dishes have been excellent while some have been a bit disappointing. Since my last visit, which was about two years ago, I have heard some negative opinions about Matbaren. I have therefore been a little hesitant to return. After this lunch my reluctance is gone. Now I feel like I have to go back very soon.

Daniel Berlin Krog – The Hunt Dinner

A restaurant with chefs foraging edible plants in the woods and fields around the restaurant is not a particularly uncommon sight today. Foraging almost seems to be more common than a restaurant serving foie gras and caviar. When you have dinner at Daniel Berlin Krog in southern Sweden you will most likely be served some foraged plants. But unlike most chefs Daniel Berlin has taken a step further and is also a hunter. When Daniel Berlin ended the 2013 season with three ”Hunt Dinners” (Viltmiddag) he had himself hunted every animal that was served. I was lucky to attend the very last dinner of the season on December 7.

What made this dinner special is that during the greatest part of the year the menu at Daniel Berlin is more about fish and vegetables than meat. Animals featured on the menu were wild duck, pheasant, goose, wild boar, roe deer and venison. I have quite recently posted a review of Daniel Berlin Krog. I will therefore not give a general presentation of the restaurant this time.

Quail egg and leavened wild boar

Quail egg and leavened wild boar

Since more than a month has passed since the dinner and I do not take notes while eating I do not remember every dish in detail so that I can give a dish-for-dish review. Like my previous dinner at Daniel Berlin this one was absolutely brilliant. The quality of the produce was stunning and everything was cooked to perfection. On my three dinners I cannot remember one single remark. Daniel is a master of bringing out flavour of every ingredient. All the dishes were perfectly balanced.

Dried and burned onion

Dried and burned onion

Time and place (in Nordic Cuisine) is the name of René Redzepi’s second cookbook. Time and place is also a good description of the food at Daniel Berlin because he only works with ingredients from the area close to the restaurant. That means you will not be served scallops from Norway or vendace roe from Kalix. I do not think that it is possible to use the term terroir when describing a restaurant because a dinner is composed of many different courses and flavours. But at Daniel Berlin you come quite close to the notion of terroir because your dinner will always consist of the local ingredients which are its peak at that specific time.

Wild duck liver on spicy bread

Wild duck liver on spicy bread

There are few restaurants which manage to make you feel so welcomed and at home than Daniel Berlin. I have only been to Daniel Berlin three times but it already feels like I have known the restaurant for many years. I will of course return to Skåne Tranås many times. I recommend that you as soon as possible book a table for the 2014 season because it will not take long before every table is reserved.

More pictures from the dinner can be found on Flickr if you follow this link.

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Tartar of roe deer, dried blood, blueberry leaves and forest plants

Tartar of roe deer, dried blood, blueberry leaves and forest plants

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Svartsoppa (blak soup), goose offals, plums and cherries

Svartsoppa (black soup), goose offals, plums and cherries

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Jerusalem artichoke, deer marrow, cold herbs and sour milk

Jerusalem artichoke, deer marrow, cold herbs and sour milk

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Roe deer tongue, heart and liver

Roe deer tongue, heart and liver

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Venison, cabbage and Rubinola

Venison, cabbage and Rubinola

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Pear and old cucumber

Pear and old cucumber

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Goat yoghurt, salty meringue and rosemary

Goat yoghurt, salty meringue and rosemary

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Raw milk, spelt and blue raspberries

Raw milk, spelt and blue raspberries

The Best Restaurants of 2013

As the year of 2013 is approaching the end I thought that I should list my favourite restaurants of the year. Like last year I will not present a ranking list. I do not think that it would be meaningful since I have not been to every good restaurant in Sweden. Also, all of the restaurants on my list are quite different, which makes it very difficult to say one is better than the other. In order to qualify as a favourite restaurant it is not enough to simply serve good food. There are numerous restaurants today that serve world-class food. I have eaten a couple of dinners that were very good yet still don’t qualify as a favourite restaurant. To become a favourite restaurant there must be something more. It is difficult to explain what that extra consist of since it varies from restaurant to restaurant. But I do prefer restaurants that focus on high quality ingredients, show a lot of passion, where the head chef is present in the kitchen and restaurants which don’t serve attention seeking or unnecessarily complicated food. Equally important as the food is the front of house staff and the atmosphere in the dining room. All of the restaurants below serve excellent food and have great front of house staff doing everything in order to let you have a fantastic night.

Wood sorrel sorbet, blueberry, raspberry, elder berry and honey Gastrologik

I notice this list is quit Sweden centric. I have eaten very well this year in both Dubai and Paris but none of those restaurants, despite including two three star restaurants, made it to my personal top list.

Pubologi Köksbordet

Havskräfta Pubologi köksbordet

Back in march I had an absolutely amazing dinner at Pubologi’s new chef’s table. I had eaten well at Pubologi before but with the kitchen table chefs Mikael Einarsson and Olof Håsteen took the food to a much higher level. This dinner was actually better than some Michelin two and three star restaurants. In a time when most restaurants focus on Nordic cuisine it is nice to find a restaurant in Stockholm, which is not afraid of adding some Mediterranean flavors. Read my review here.

Daniel Berlin Krog

Raw cold smoked mackerel with red seaweed and beats - Daniel Berlin

When I dined at Daniel Berlin the first time I did not really liked the food. I could see why lovers of New Nordic Cuisine liked the restaurant but I found the food a bit too ”Scandinavian cool” for me. Despite that I was still a little curious about what was happening at Daniel Berlin. And since I spend the summers in the area near Skåne Tranås I thought that I should give it another try. I am very happy I did because my second dinner at Daniel Berlin (the first of two this year) was absolutely mind blowing. Everything was a couple of steps better than the previous year. The quality of the ingredients was exceptional and this year the ”Scandinavian coolness” was replaced with more passion and warmth. In December I attended a very special “Hunt Dinner” where focus was on game. All the animals served that night had been shot by Daniel Berlin himself. Daniel Berlin Krog is now one of the best restaurants in the world. An absolute must go. Read my review here. For pictures from The Hunt Dinner please click on this link to my Flickr-account.

Gastrologik and Speceriet

Jacob Holmström och Anton Bjuhr

As you probably know Gastrologik and Speceriet, are my very favourite restaurants in the world. This year I had two magnificent dinners at Gastrologik. The first dinner was indeed a very special one. On March 14, Gastrologik was awarded their first star and I was happy to have dinner that same night. It is a dinner that I will never forget. To choose the very best dish of the year is of course very difficult. But this year I would cast my vote on one of the desserts that night. A goat milk sorbet with endives and honey vinaigrette was both creative and utterly delicious; absolutely magnificent. Read my reviews here and here.

Sorbet på getmjölk med honungsvinaigrette och endive

I have since long lost count on how many times I have visited Speceriet. It has almost become my second home. I would therefore like send a special greeting to Malin, Hanna and Daniel and the rest of the staff which makes Speceriet such a nice place.

Lilla Ego

Lilla Ego Unclassical tartar of pork with flavour of deep Småland interpreted by Lilla Ego

Several good restaurants opened up in Stockholm during the year. Two of them, Lilla Ego and Gro, quickly became favourites of mine. Lilla Ego is owned by the reigning chef of the year (Årets kock) Daniel Räms and a previous winner of the same contest Tom Sjöstedt. When Sjöstedt and Räms announced their new restaurant they described it as a ”neighbourhood restaurant”. It is indeed a very relaxed restaurant. But the food is so much better than every other ”neighbourhood restaurant” in Stockholm. I will visit Lilla Ego several times next year. For pictures from Lilla Ego please click on this link to my Flickr-account.

Gro

Magnus Willnow och Henrik Norén Gro

Gro sort of popped up from nowhere and became an instant hit serving the best lunches för 100 SEK in Stockholm. I have had numerous lunches there. Almost every one was very, very good. In late fall they also started serving dinners once a week. I really hope that they will expand the dinner service to more nights than just Thursdays. For pictures from Gro please click on this link to my Flickr account.

Volt

Garlic, cod roe and sour cream - Volt

It has been rather quiet about Volt lately. Maybe that’s because in Sweden we just talk about the most recently opened restaurants. Maybe it’s also because the guys running Volt seem to be a little bit too shy to promote their restaurant. They shouldn’t be because Volt is in very good shape right now. In November I had a very good dinner. Volt is definitely a top restaurant in Sweden and a strong candidate for a star in next years edition of Guide Michelin. For pictures from Volt please click on this link to my Flickr-account.

Best Front of House team – Esperanto

Best Front of House Team Esperanto

Unfortunately I did not have a full dinner at Esperanto this year but I attended a test dinner of the Salon d’été and had a couple of dishes in their lounge this fall. Headed by restaurant manager Erika Lindström the front of house team at Esperanto delivers one of the very best service experiences in the world. There are very few two and three Michelin star restaurants that can beat Esperanto when comes to service.

This year has for me been very much about apartment renovations. I have renovated two apartments which has taken a lot of time. Luckily I am now almost finished so hopefully there will be more time to blog about my dinners. My next trip will probably go to Gothenburg and restaurant Hoze. It seems like José Gabriel Cerdá Contreras is serving some exceptional food at his little restaurant.

Djuret, Ekstedt, Esperanto, Volt and Lilla Ego

The blog is still alive. I just have not had much time to post new reviews. I have just bought a new apartment, which has taken, up a lot of my spare time. But as soon as I have finished all the renovations I will try to update the blog more frequently. Since my last blog post I have had lunch at Djuret, dinners at Ekstedt, Esperanto, Volt and Lilla Ego (all in Stockholm).

Restaurant Djuret – The Friday lunch

Djuret The Friday Lunch - The roast beef fried in cast iron 58°. Served with a cream of roasted ceps, butter fried girolles, baked point cabbage, roasted parsley root and red wine jus

The roast beef fried in cast iron 58°. Served with a cream of roasted ceps, butter fried girolles, baked point cabbage, roasted parsley root and red wine jus

Restaurant Djuret is normally only open for dinner but every Friday they also serve lunch. For the Friday Lunch a three-course prix fix menu for 395 kr is offered. At Djuret, which is Swedish for the animal, focus is on meat and they serve one animal at a time. This time – cow. Unfortunately this lunch was a little bit uneven. Not as good as the food at Djuret normally is. I found the starter and the dessert a bit unbalanced. The main course however was absolutely wonderful, pure love on a plate. There is probably not at better way to spend a friday afternoon in Stockholm than having a long lunch with good wines at Djuret. You can see pictures from the lunch on my Flickr-page.

Ekstedt

At Restaurant Ekstedt everything is cooked using fire in some kind; in wood burning stoves, over a fire pit or through smoking. Last winter Zagat named Ekstedt one of the ten hottest restaurants in the world and in March the restaurant, with head chef Gustav Otterberg, won its first Michelin star. Late last year I had a very good dinner that really sparkled. I am sorry to say but my first dinner was quite disappointing. Several dishes were unbalanced with disharmonious flavor combinations. It lacked the magic that last years dinner had.

Head chef Gustav Otterberg and Sous chef Niklas Bergström in action 2

A couple of weeks after my dinner I was invited by Niklas Ekstedt to try the restaurant’s almost completely new menu. This time the food was much better. The dishes were much better balanced. The sharp edges were gone and the food just tasted better. It was a solid one Michelin star dinner. You can see pictures from the dinners on my Flickr-page.

Esperanto

Esperanto Primeur egg with wild herbs, broccoli and ox marrow

Primeur egg with wild herbs, broccoli and ox marrow

A couple of weeks ago I had dinner at Esperanto, which in this year’s White Guide was ranked the number one restaurant in Sweden. The dinner was good but not as good as my visit last year. This time we did not sit in the dining room but in the lounge adjacent to the dining room. It is very dark in the lounge. The pictures from the dinner are therefore not very good. Service was excellent as always. It was correct yet very friendly. I cannot remember one single restaurant in Europe, which beats Esperanto when it comes to service. Restaurant manager Erika Lindström with team does a fantastic job in the dining room.

I might not be as content with the above-mentioned meals as I have been with my previous visits but I am still longing to revisit all three. I know that they can perform better.

This week I had a two very good dinners. First I went to Restaurant Volt in Stockholm. Guide Michelin has not really recognized Volt but it is, in my opinion, a very strong candidate for a star in next year’s edition of Main Cities of Europe. I will post a review soon.

I also had a quick dinner at this fall’s most anticipated restaurant opening in Stockholm; Lilla Ego. The restaurant is owned by the reigning chef of the year (Årets kock) Daniel Räms and a previous winner of the same contest Tom Sjöstedt. Don’t expect competition style food at Lilla Ego though. Ok, right now you can eat the dish that won Räms the title Årets kock (Chef of the year) but besides that, as far as I have understood, focus is on comfort food, but probably with a twist. I had two courses. Both super delicious. The atmosphere is very happy and friendly. I will return soon for a review and most likely several more dinners. Lilla Ego has the potential to attract many regulars in the area (and I am happy to live not far from Lilla Ego). With the pork tartar (below) they have probably already created a signature dish.

Lilla Ego Unclassical tartar of pork with flavour of deep Småland interpreted by Lilla Ego

Unclassical tartar of pork with flavours of deep Småland interpreted by Lilla Ego.

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Lilla Ego Saltbaked celeriac with fried padrones and pickled vegetables served with a lemon and roasted garlic sausage

Saltbaked celeriac with fried padrones and pickled vegetables served with a lemon and roasted garlic sausage

In about a month I will revisit Daniel Berlin Krog in southern Sweden, which will host a special game dinner. My last dinner at Daniel Berlin was absolutely stunning so the expectations are quite high.

From now on you can also find me in the Swedish magazine Restaurangvärlden where I will contribute regularly.

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