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.

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