Our experiences were a little haphazard, not least because it is the period when Stockholm closes down to go fishing. Nonetheless, our food experiences were pretty positive. Much easier to get a good feed in Stockholm than in Paris, even at the wrong time of year.
Convenience saw us going to Rott our first night. We both thought that our dishes were too messed about:
SMOKED DUCK BREAST Creamy orange and chilli risotto with saffron and cherry reduction for 255k
HERB DEER FILLET WITH SERRANO HAM Tomatskummad cream sauce with smörbrynta autumn mushrooms and salt baked beetroot with honey. 298k
I would be surprised if the risotto was made with appropriate rice and it was, in any case, about stiff enough to hold a fork up, which isn’t at all the consistency of risotto. It also had little bits of tomato, asparagus, jam and cream around the plate, which seemed to me to go against the main ingredients of the dish. On the other hand, I imagine it is hard for Swedes to cook anything without cream and sugar being added one way or another. There was a huge amount of foam with the deer. Still, this was not an awful meal, I would have been happy enough with it in Paris, but I expected better from Stockholm. The main courses were over $40 each. In Australia I’d want seriously good tucker for that price.
DELIKATESSTALLRIK – 540 SEK
with marinated and smoked salmon, smoked and fresh shrimps, smoked eel, skagen mix, crayfish mix, trout roe and bleak roe served with accompaniments
It was okay, certainly enough for two, but in particular we were disappointed that the smoked eel consisted of three tiny pieces, may 2 cm x .5cm each. I’m not really the right person to judge this sort of dish as I find the Swedish use of creamy dressings and sauces overwhelms the delicate taste of the seafood. But Manny, who has great experience of Sweden, gave it the thumbs up.
A couple of days later, we stumbled into what turned out to be another place which probably does a big tourist trade, no great surprise given it is in the old town on a main shopping drag: Mårten Trotzig. Amongst lots of good reviews on tripadvisor, it has some awful ones but notably not for the food. Some dislike the service, though we found it excellent and others complain about the prices. It is true that the bistro priced dishes chalked to the outside, are not displayed inside and the menu is considerably more expensive. You have to ask for the dishes that are displayed outside, but if you do, it doesn’t seem to be an issue to order them, even at dinner time. We had a bargain meal from these ‘bistro’ dishes: a large, impeccably cooked lambshank and an excellent version of Swedish meatballs. I’d only ever tried the Ikea ones which are revolting, so it was good to discover they don’t have to be like that. At around $20 each, these main courses were simply good value. The potatoes with my lambshank were undercooked, but this was another culture clash, as apparently Swedes like their potatoes on the al dente side, whilst it is one of the few vegetables I would never cook that sparingly. The only disappointment was that the ‘chocolate pudding’ was no such thing, it was sort of a chocolate cream, nice, but I was expecting something hot. Back to the prices – the people who complain about them can’t have much knowledge of dining in Stockholm where high-end dining prices are very expensive. But still, stick to the bistro dishes and there is nothing to complain about. An excellent meal.
Still, the very best value we got in Stockholm was also the most expensive: the smorgasbord at The Grand Hotel. You can find a detailed pictorial review by The Cutlery Chronicles. I’ll cut to the chase. It can be had for lunch or dinner, lunch being a tad cheaper and a bargain at around $70. Everything was first rate, the cold seafood was all wonderful, the hot dishes included meatballs (of course) and baked mussels which I’m going to have to try myself when I’m back home. I didn’t try the cheese but I can attest to a fantastic array of sweet things from truffles to custard-fruit pastries and an array of fruit which wouldn’t look special in Australia, but here in the North of the world was positively exotic. Excellent service, a fine view of the water; nothing let down this meal.