When I do get a chance to fly back to Stockholm I generally try to fly out early on a Friday morning – this so I arrive in time for a proper Swedish lunch. Usually this will be with friends at around noon (they love to eat lunch early the Swedes!) and given the choice I would normally propose scoffing a Biff Rydberg (with mustard cream please) or a “Wallenbergare” at Prinsen or Bakfickan (this would usually be with B-M; Stockholm’s one and only trading princess!). Occasionally I opt for fish and for that there is no better place for lunch than Kajsa’s Fisk at Hötorgshallen .
Friday afternoon would be spent mooching around the various design shops (subject of another blog) with a quick stop at Östermalms Saluhall before propping myself up at the bar at Grodan or more likely across the road at Tures which has got to be one of the more pleasant places to have a quiet glass of wine or a coffee while reading the papers waiting for my best friend Chris to arrive… Now I say Tures is the perfect place for a quiet glass of wine, but actually it isn’t a quiet place at all – it’s actually slap bang in the middle of the entrance/exit to one of Stockholm’s more salubrious shopping malls and is therefore very “buzzy”. But for some reason I find it incredibly relaxing and I can easily spend a good 2 – 3 hours doing not very much at all there.
Another quite interesting fact was that “back in the day” of the mid-to-late nineties, Friday nights at Tures was the hangout for all Stockholm’s equity traders. Grodan (which is literally right across a narrow pedestrian street) is where I used to go as it was the place for all the bond dealers with FX/money market around the corner at Martini.
A Friday evening in Stockholm would also not be complete without a visit to my “local” Oxsvansen (or just plain “Oxen”) – not to be confused with the notorious gambling den made famous as the place where Christer Petterson, the alleged assasin of the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was hanging out just before the shooting. I could wax lyrically about Oxen until the cows come home and I will in a future post but for now just rest assured that I would visit for at least a pint.
Stockholm is blessed with many fine restaurants, and one that I always return to is Rolf Kok (and no, it isn’t pronounced like that!). I’ve never been disappointed here and have had some of the best dishes ever. About 10 years ago I was lucky to be served one of their classic dishes “Beef cheeks in red wine with truffle potatoes” when it was still in an experimental stage where no expense was being spared on its preparation – let’s just say it was rich beyond comprehension but absolutely phenomenal! These days it is a lot more refined and still on the menu – so please do have a taste.
However, if I was planning a visit to Stockholm today I would without hesitation try and book at table at Mathias Dahlgren. I have had the pleasure of eating at all of his restaurants throughout his career – even from the early days when Bon Lloc was on Kungsholmen before it moved into town. But his latest venture at the Grand Hotel is without doubt his best yet – and then I am only basing that on a sublime evening at Matbaren – the “lesser” of his two restaurants (trust me it’s not “less” in any way).
Another “only in Sweden” delight is the Tunnbrödsrulle – perfect for a Saturday lunchtime in town; or if that is a bit too much maybe just a plain “grillad med brod” would be sufficient. I have quite a few stories of introducing the cult of the Swedish hot dog to various people; the initial reaction is usually incredulous (I mean just look at the thing!) but it is without doubt a minor taste sensation!
Another story was when I was a taken as a guest to the Stockholm Furniture Fair and my supplier was desperate to take us for a fancy lunch and the look on his face when I suggested that the only thing I really wanted was a hot dog (I’d be eyeing up the hot dog stand and salivating for the previous hour) was classic!
A blog post on Stockholm wouldn’t be complete without a reference to the classic Swedish pass time they like to call Fika, but while I totally appreciate the concept and occasionally do partake (Kanelbullar are a culinary delight!); I am more of an afternoon tea kind of guy – which I guess would be classed as fika of sorts!
Now I know that everyone has their own favourites; and these are mine… it’s always nice to share!
PS. Here are some of Jamies’s suggestions from when he visited for his last series.