Pop-up Restaurant by Koka

I love our wine cellar Magnusson Fine Wines. It is the kind of friendly place, where people love wine, but you do not feel like you should know the name of every village in the German appellation of Alsace. People chat with each other and are generous with recommendations. The owner, Johan Magnusson, arranges wine trips and pop-up dinner by talked-about restaurant sin Sweden. There is always something happening at the cellar. We feel we get quite good value for the money we have invested in having a space for our wines there. Continue reading “Pop-up Restaurant by Koka”

A Peek Inside Gastrologik

Greetings from Vilnius! I have been here, in the capital of Lithuania all week on a business trip. And yes, I brought my camera (smirk). But todays post is not about Vilnius. It is about our recent birthday visit to Gastrologik, the one-starred restaurant in Stockholm. The restaurant specializes in wild-food (what they find themselves in the nature) as well as local, ecological produce. Continue reading “A Peek Inside Gastrologik”

Wineweek 97: Born in 1982

This has been a week of birthday celebrations. To be honest my birthday was already last week. However, due to my friend getting married on my big B-day, we postponed that celebration until later. I really like my birthdays. It is that one day of the year that is just about me. Sounds a bit selfish, but on my birthday I get to wish for what ever I want. And this year, I wanted to go back to where M took me for my 30th birthday, restaurant Gastrologik in Stockholm.
Continue reading “Wineweek 97: Born in 1982”

The Return to London

In less than two weeks, I am starting my short yet efficient summer holiday. It is quite common here in the Nordic countries to take four or fine weeks, however myself and M save our holidays to the winter. Something that is on the agenda every summer though is a long weekend in London, our former home city. There is nothing like summer in London. It is so vibrant, like always, and unlike the Nordics, July is still buzzing. Its also quite interesting to go and mingle in the city post-Brexit. I am hoping for some really good prices on wine. We have had our eyes on some bottles of Bollinger VVF, that are now much cheaper with the weaker currency. Lets see if we end up taking that road of no return. When you start collecting bottles like the VVF, I doubt that you ever stop.    Continue reading “The Return to London”

Wineweek 84: Paris Favorites

Even though we have been home for a few weeks, I still have so much photo material from our recent trip to France, that I can fill Wineweek with them for many weeks to come. I promise you, these Paris pictures are way more interesting than anything I did this week, except for the dinner I had last night at a new restaurant called Derelict. It was awesome! However, I will write more about that another time. Now to some Paris favorites. Continue reading “Wineweek 84: Paris Favorites”

Going Wild at Chef & Sommelier

A few weeks back I heard the concept wild food for the first time. It all makes sense now, several restaurants offer self picked kale, or apples from the chefs backyard. It is not just about growing with ecological methods, its about picking food from the wild. Ingredients without any production-like manipulation. That is wild food, and supposedly it is very cool.  Continue reading “Going Wild at Chef & Sommelier”

Wineweek 72: Easter in Helsinki

It has been a mad March. We have been working hard: ordering summer wines and looking for a new warehouse. We also did a short wine trip to the city we fell in love in – London. All the buzzing around came to a nice relaxing halt when we flew on Thursday to Finland for relaxing Easter celebrations.  There is nothing like coming to a ready set table. While in Helsinki, we had the chance to try some nice Finnish Gin, visit one of our favorite wine bars as well as finally try out one of the most talked-about Helsinki restaurants, the Michelin-starred Chef & Sommelier.  Continue reading “Wineweek 72: Easter in Helsinki”

Fine Dining in the Nordics – Michelin Stars for 2016

It is that time of the year again, that Guide de Michelin launches its stars for the Nordic countries. This is not that much of a star-struck region (compared to France or Britain for example). Its only a hand full of cities that are evaluated and I secretly suspect the critics avoid this part of the world during the winter. So we are proud of every single star we can get. This year, Stockholm was granted 13 stars (28 in Sweden), Helsinki 4 , Copenhagen 19 (26 in Denmark) and Oslo 7. Two restaurants in the Nordics reached that magical three stars this year: Maaemo in Oslo and Geranium in Copenhagen. Bjorn Frantzen in Sweden, who is said to be completely obsessed about that third star was yet again left with “just two”.

As we are semi-serious foodies, me and M, we do try to visit as many of these restaurants as we can get reservations to. Due to the absurd cost, we of course have spread these visits out as we cannot afford too many in a year. We always have something in the plan though. We have reserved Chef & Sommelier in Helsinki for Easter and I really want to finally visit Operakällaren, serving traditional Swedish cuisine in Stockholm. Perhaps something to wish for my birthday.

And now to the serious part of this post: what do I actually think about the stars? Is it worth all that fuss, and not to mention all that money? What I can say is, that it is definitely interesting. My best (ever) restaurant experiences have not been from the three star restaurants though. I rate many of the two star experiences much higher. Perhaps its the expectation versus what you actually get. However none of the three starred restaurants make it to my top-five list.

Eye candy at Takasawa, which is said to be the best restaurant in the world without a star

However, when talking best value for money, they have always been the one star restaurants (although the quality varies a lot). Or actually, lunch deals at the two and three starred restaurants. I don’t know why they don’t do this in the Nordics, but in London we used to go for set menus as great restaurants all the time. A three course menu with wine could be one third or even one fourth of the dinner price. For example Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester had an awesome deal for around 50£. Writing this post makes me miss London again (ETA 14 days).

So here is the list of 2016 starred restaurants in Stockholm. Even though many of these will cost you an arm and a leg (Stockholm is a expensive city), they are worth truing out.  I have been to three of them: Gastrologic, Volt and Matbaren and can recommend all three. Perhaps worth mentioning though that I seldom find the wine lists that interesting (read: reasonable in price), so I am definitely there for the food rather than the drinks.

** Frantzen
** Oaxen Krog (gained one star)
** Mathias Dahlgren Matsalen
* Gastrologic
* Esperanto
* Volt
* Ekstedt
* Operakällaren
* Mathias Dahlgren Matbaren
* Sushi So (NEW)


I would also like to mention that Fäviken up in the north of Sweden was also granted two stars (the prices doubled over night)

Have a great week!

xx Soile

Champagne for lunch at l’Effervessence (**)

Tranquil Lunch at Fera

I thought I would post some more London memories this week before really jumping into the food scene in Thailand. It was such a short time in between our trips, that I really did not have time to share everything I wanted to from the UK. I must admit, we visited quite many familiar places last time (we often go for new things) but Fera was something new and exciting.

The real hype about Simon Rogan’s Fera at Claridges may have passed as we had no real issues snagging a table for lunch despite poor planning (poor planning for us means not booking months in advance). We opted for lunch as we were already had our evenings full and  to be honest the lunch seemed like the best value for money. If you are on holiday who cares if you are stuffing down food at noon or later in the day – It tastes just as good. The lunch deals at starred restaurants are often much more reasonable than the same in the evening. Ok, I do have some doubts about the quality of lunch at many restaurants. After a friend of mine, who works at a wholesaler, explained what kind of stuff they sell to restaurants as “lunch” products, my lunch-life has never really been the same. However, I believe (hope) a Michelin starred restaurant would not risk it.

The design of Fera is fairly nice, it somehow brings out a calm and tranquil feel and design fits well with the focus on seasonal produce. The set lunch deal is great value at £30 for three courses. There is a choice of two starters, two mains and two desserts. We made sure to order different dishes to be able to try all of it. Looking at the wine list, I was a bit disappointed at least with the selection by the glass. The house sparkling was from Davenport Vineyards in East Sussex for £12.5 (after the success of Ridgeview and Nyetimber, English sparklings have had an somewhat unjustified ego-boost showing in their prices) and the house Champagne by the glass was a Laurent Perrier Brut for £15. Boring and expensive (to be London). The more interesting grower Champagnes, Jacques Lassaigne and Voutte et Sorbee, that I would really have liked to taste, were unfortunately out of a reasonable price range (over £20 a glass). A few years ago, I would have perhaps been ok with just cold, dry and sparkling, but these days I would rather just skip it if it doesn’t excite me. However I must say I might be quite excited of a £15 Laurent Perrier right now, as the lack of wine in Thailand is a bit excruciating.

Before the starter we were served some bread and a beautiful amuse bouche (a single, bite-sized “starter” served free). Flowers, herbs and a cheese, mmm, sounds delicious. Flavor wise it was however a bit flat and thus disappointing. The bread with the caramelized butter was however genius.

The starters offered were a lovely smoked bantam yolk with kohlrabi and a great dish with beets. Both were as almost as beautiful as the amuse but these were also great to eat. Well-balanced and felt fresh and if not innovative at least not boring. The focus on seasonal produce was clear. The mains were plaice and hen. Both lovely dishes and not very small either. At this point we started filling up a bit with dessert still to come (luckily there is a separate stomach for desserts). The apple crumble/cake was great while the chocolate dessert was a bit boring as chocolate desserts often are. Sometimes it feels as if something with chocolate is on the menu out of a sense of obligation.

Service was good but slight hick-up on bill, resulting in a wait and the addition of contribution to a charity. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against charity. But I just hate when they add that on the bill without asking (and then add service charge on top of it…). This to me brings down the marks a bit.

All in all, food was great (with some room for improvement). Next time in London I will definitely consider Fera for another visit, perhaps for an even more extensive tasting menu in the evening time.