Friday, August 28, 2009

Scandinavian Dining : Frantzén/Lindeberg

Frantzén/Lindeberg was the first ‘arty meal’ we had in Scandinavia. Situated in Gamla Stan, Stockholm in a couple of old houses the main dining area seats only 18 and another room 12. Frantzén/Lindeberg just received their well deserved first star from Michelin – a coup for a young kitchen and house which so obviously has a delight and passion for their art.

The restaurant offers a tasting menu and wine pairings with running commentary from the sommelier which is a performance in itself - informative and humorous. I’m afraid you’ll see that my attempts at taking pictures with the iPhone in low-light - and the influence of these wine pairings – made for VERY poor photography. You can go to their website for more info. | +46 (0)8 20 85 80 | Lilla Nygatan 21, 111 28 Stockholm, Sweden

Amuses bouches arrived in the form of smoked nuts and frico (fried cheese). The surprise was in the smoking; it was our first example of a taste/smell experience which would be repeated throughout Scandinavia. Foods were cold smoked only briefly using a specific wood and quite often were presented under a dome which contained more of the smoke. The result was ‘NOT kippered’ but only slightly redolent of the hearth. (no picture)

Appetizers were tiny tastes of mustard ice cream and a mushroom truffle, minted peas and sprouts, and yellow tomato gazpacho.

Breads everywhere in Sweden were a surprise and delight. Here bread and butters arrived as a stand-alone course with recommendations for bread and butter pairings. A sourdough épée and a mini version of a wholegrain Scandinavian flatbread with anise (complete with it's own tradidtional mini stand) arrived with two butters - a Brittany sweet cream and a smoked, cooled and beaten brown-butter.

Scallop with asparagus saffron/pistachio sauce. (no picture)

Turbot with lardo balsamic reduction potato stuffed onion with watercress sprouts, licorice root shavings and port sauce.

White soy (miso?) and truffle tea with a tiny ‘French Toast’ made of onion, 100 year old balsamico and a HUGE truffle slice on the top.

Veal sous vide, smoked pepper and bay coulis, white wine butter sauce. What a flavour! - it was superb! I was getting very overloaded with sensations by now, however.

A Tour de France of cheese. A map of France arrived with little tastes of French cheese. The Tour de France was on at the time, and an iPod also arrived with a mock TdeF running commentary of what you were tasting. Talk about a hoot! - and you can't complain about this restaurant engaging all of the senses. Here's a little snippet of a video -

Cheeseburger – a sweet course that looks like a cheeseburger. Buns were macarron shells, chocolate truffle hamburger, and the sauces were mustard (mango) and ketchup (Swedish berries). I know, it's really blurry...definitely my fault by now, and not the camera. ;)

The main dessert course - vanilla bean ice cream with sundried local strawberries and rhubarb in strawberry juice, cookie crumbs and cookie-dough sauce. (no picture – I was really beginning to lose it by then…)

Chocolate truffles and macarrons. (Maybe the sugar was waking me up.)

Just when you though it was safe to stop - coagulated apple juice sphere with a sugar and eucalyptus ‘fog’ contained under a glass dome. Frantzén/Lindeberg goes ‘molecular’. No, this time you're actually seeing a mist in the centre of the picture which was for inhaling.

At this point I really couldn't even walk home and halfway down the street a cab was hailed. Ladies, note that you might not want all the wine pairings - I certainly learnt my lesson. This place refilled glasses and gave you extra tastings of things if you showed enthusiasm.

To take back to the hotel we were given a bag with yet more chocolates, little cakes (which we had for a hotel meal) and granola (which is being eaten here at home) all made in their own bakery.

I'll remember this meal and restaurant for its warmth and humour. Observing the other tables, people obviously come here for an entertaining experience, as well as artfully done food. I'd recommend this restaurant to anyone. Go there as an 'event' when in Stockholm.

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