My Top Dining Experiences of 2014

2014 has been a rather good eating year for me. I have been to Michelin starred restaurants in Sweden, Denmark, England, Spain and Belgium. A couple of the restaurants are ranked high on various lists such as 50 Best, OAD Europe and White Guide Sweden and Nordic. But those are not the restaurants that made the strongest impression on me. Below I have listed, in no special order, my top dining experiences last year.

Daniel Berlin Krog

Marehomp - Lovage - Rye

Last year I had one dinner and two lunches at Daniel Berlin Krog which has become one of my very favorite restaurants that I always want to return to. Daniel Berlin cooks food like no other. In his little restaurant you get a very unique experience, something I value highly. Few other restaurants give such a sense of time and place as Daniel Berlin. However that wouldn’t be worth a penny had the food not been so delicious as it always is. Like the previous year the stand out dishes were the ones with the lightly smoked and seared mackerel. Nobody cooks mackerel like Daniel Berlin does. Pure magic! I will return at least twice this year.

Mackerel with seaweed and horseradish


Gastrologik

Langoustine from Fjällbacka, a cream made of the langoustine head and raw and pickled kohlrabi

Gastrologik in Stockholm continues to deliver absolutely stunning dishes made of the very best produce. Last year I had two splendid dinners there. I really like how Jacob Holmström and Anton Bjuhr constantly creates new great dishes. There are not many restaurants that are able to renew the menu so frequently yet keep such a high level. Two dishes stand out as true masterpieces. First a langoustine with raw and pickled kohlrabi and a cream made of the langoustine’s head and second a smoked wild turbot with very mild and delicate onions, almost like onions from Cévennes, and a wonderful sauce made of the turbot.

Spruce smoked wild turbot with this year's first yellow onion and turbot bouillon

The Sportsman

Roast lamb from Monkshill farm The Sportsman

It is difficult to describe how good a restaurant The Sportsman is to someone who hasn’t been there. If you have been there you simply know. The food may look quite simple but it is brilliant. The usual luxury attributes of a fine dining restaurant are all absent. At The Sportsman all the focus is on the food. It could be described as fine dining stripped down to the bare essentials. Produce is first class, cooking is perfect, dishes well balanced and staff is very friendly. There is a very good sense of time and place and last but not least; food is delicious. A must visit.

Salmagundi The Sportsman


Hedone

Warm chocolate mousse, powdered raspberry, passionfruit jelly and Madagascar ice cream Hedone

If I were to choose just one restaurant where I could eat for the rest of my life it would probably be Hedone. No other restaurant have served me better produce than Hedone. But it is not just the quality of the produce. Mikael Jönsson creates absolutely brilliant dishes. The texture of the millefeuille below is absolutely amazing. To me the dinner at Hedone was better than the lunch at Noma that I had in July. In my opinion it is a big mystery why Hedone was not awarded a second Michelin star this year.

Asparagus and pistachio Hedone

Millefeuille; crème pâtissière, grapefruit and saffron Hedone


Pre Rigor Mortis

Pre Rigor Mortis

The most memorable and special dinner is without doubt Pre Rigor Mortis. I have yet to publish a post about this dinner. A Saturday in October I went to a country estate to attend a dinner hosted by chef Mikael Einarsson and restaurant manager Daniel Crespi of Djuret and Pubologi in Stockholm. At the estate a deer was hunted down and then served before rigor mortis. This was a very unique experience. I had never before eaten meat so fresh. Chef Einarsson cooked great dishes and mr Crespi served a lot of excellent vines. A truly hedonistic dinner, which will be featured in Einarsson’s and Crisps’s coming cookbook. If you get the chance to attend next years dinners, just go!

Lilla Ego

Unclassical tartar of pork

When it comes to pure deliciousness Lilla Ego is second to no restaurant in Stockholm. Chef owners Daniel Räms and Tom Sjöstedt call their restaurant a neighborhood restaurant. And yes the atmosphere is very much a neighborhood restaurant but the food is much, much better. Last year I had four great dinners and I will definitely return several times.

Glazed point cabbage with kohlrabi, Ramson, morels and rooster leg

Lilla Ego is part of a much welcomed trend in Stockholm. Great chefs opening inexpensive, casual restaurants with very good food. This year I also ate very good at Shibumi, Sushi Sho, Nook and Adam & Albin Nudellunch. In a few weeks Jon Lacotte, Johan Agrell, Fredrik Lundberg and Olle Tagesson will open a new restaurant i Stockholm. I very much look forward to that restaurant.

It seems like 2015 will also be a good dining year. In January I will go to Fäviken for the first time. There will also be trips to Istanbul, Amsterdam, Skåne Tranås, Spain, most likely Denmark (should I go to Geranium or Kadeau Bornholm?), probably London and hopefully New York.

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