Wednesday 3 August 2016

The Flying Elk, Stockholm.

Unbeknown to me, many restaurants in Stockholm close for a Summer break as they customarily do in southern European countries. I kind of like that but it is frustrating when you're in town for the weekend and everywhere is shut. So although it's been on the bucket list for years, Restaurant Frantzén was out, plus they are moving to new premises anyway. However, Chef Bjorn Frantzén's gastro-pub in Gamla Stan (the Old Town of Stockholm where we were staying) was happily open. So we made a reservation for the first evening.
I had expected a 'pub' pub as the English word implies but The Flying Elk looks like a proper restaurant, a popular and buzzing but cosy bistro. We opted for Björn Frantzéns Tasting Menu (695K), about £61 for 6 courses, a relative bargain here. I did however pull back on the beer as alcohol is notoriously expensive in Sweden. In fact our trip here was the most sober holiday I've ever had, not necessarily a bad thing. I did enjoy the Swedish beer here, a beautifully tangy fresh IPA from Omnipollo. (112K - £9.86 each. Looking now at the receipt, I had went mad on three halves!)
Mrs B enjoys a goldfish bowl of Gin & Tonic. (155K - £13.60).
I had expected the food here to be pretty good, but it really was absolutely brilliant. All of it. So much so that we returned a few days later to sample the truffle burger (well worth the return). The tasting menu was as follows.
Oysters fine de Normandie. Elderflower cream, dried gooseberries & walnut.
Rhubarb macaron with foie gras. Dried pomegranate, pickled strawberries & 100 year old balsamic vinegar. My god, one of the best snacks I've eaten this year. Perfect.
Vendace Roe from Kalix.
Cauliflower & spelt langos with lightly fried pork belly, sour cream, browned butter & pickled onions. (Above). Also as an extra course we ordered the steak tartare. (Below,
155K - £13.60).
Divers Picked Scallop 'signature.'
Truffled scrambled eggs,  “pommes paille” &  lightly smoked browned butter. The finest scallops we've ever had. They just melt on your tongue. Apparently this used to be on the menu at
Frantzén and a favourite of the staff who work here. Just superb.
Short Ribs glazed with sundried tomato juice, smoked chili and green onions.
Crème of roasted corn & garlic, confit of tomatoes from Viken & salad of young spinach watercress and arugula with limonette. A beautiful piece of meat.
Eton Mess.
Swiss meringue with toasted white chocolate, strawberries x 4 with lemon verbena served with vanilla & ginger buttermilk mousse.

 We've been to quite a few bistros owned by chefs with higher end restaurants in Spain and quite often we've enjoyed them as much if not more than the Michelin star sister venue. I think in part it's their supreme understanding of flavour but combined with dish selections that are perhaps necessarily more populist which seems to be so successful.
I never got to try Restaurant Frantzén to compare but we loved The Flying Elk, the food and service is superb here. One of the (perhaps surprising) highlights of the year. 

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