Friday Night at Punk Royale Cafe

I am always so happy to start writing a post when I am covering my favorite places in town. It is a challenge though to really convey my enthusiasm on “paper”. And I am very enthusiastic about Punk Royale. So how to do this in the right way. I don’t even know where to start. Perhaps I can start from the note that it is the most fun restaurant in town. Continue reading “Friday Night at Punk Royale Cafe”

Wineweek 95: The Beginning of September

It is September! How on earth is it already September? Where did the summer go? Or rather, where did the whole year go? I still remember how the year seemed to go on forever when I was young. Perhaps I should just think that time flies when you are having fun. And this week, we have been having a lot of fun: walking in sunny Stockholm, drinking some great wine and visiting the newly opened Punk Royale Cafe.  Continue reading “Wineweek 95: The Beginning of September”

Wineweek 44: Two Weeks to Go Until Cavatast

Another week has passed without me even noticing it. It has consisted of preparations for Cavatast, a business trip to Edinburgh as well as a few great wine and restaurant experiences. Not to mention finally the publishing of my Stockholm travel guide (only a month late from schedule). If you understand Finnish, go and have a look www.tripsteri.fi/tukholma. Time flies by when you are having fun, right? We are also approaching the end of Septembers order-window. Sales have been relatively good so it’s looking good for our charity fund. All of the profit from September will be donated to SOS Childrens Villages.

As with many business trips, I spent most of my three days in Edinburgh inside an office. Staring at the walls of a conference room. It wasn’t even really Edinburgh, but Livingston that is a 30 minute drive away. Great! I did, however, have one evening out with a fellow winecurious colleague, so we went out to a nice restaurant in the heart of the old city. We didn’t really have much time for reservations, but were able to snatch a table at restaurant Mark Greeneway a local celebrity chef (never heard of him). I am not that keen on TV chefs, but M had visited the restaurant before and regardless of the slightly pretentious atmosphere (I can second that) he said the food is excellent. And that it was. We also had some excellent sparkling Riesling from Australia (!!) and Semillon from Margaret Valley. My colleague is extremely knowledgeable about wine, so she gave the sommelier a good test run. To wrap up the work-week, we went to Punk Royale, perhaps one of the most rebellious restaurant in Stockholm, for dinner (again). It is a party every time..

Views to Edinburgh castle
Views to Edinburgh castle
Aperitifs at restaurant Mark Greeneway
Aperitifs at restaurant Mark Greeneway
Skillogalee sparkling Riesling from Australia
Skillogalee sparkling Riesling from Australia
The best oyster I have ever tasted at Punk Royale
The best oyster I have ever tasted at Punk Royale
Making my own dessert at Punk Royale
Making my own dessert at Punk Royale

And now about some future events. Cavatast is closing in fast (only two weeks to go) and we are fixing up the meetings. We will of course meet up with our friends from Peret Fuster, Rimarts and Cellers Carol Valles as well as we are looking forward to making some new connections. Rimarts and Carol Valles were the result of last years Cavatast, so let’s see how many new “must-haves” we find. Not sure if we have space for new cava producers in our selection right now, but always good to make connections. I was also contacted by some fellow cavalovers from the UK who are kind enough to take us along for a visit at Torello. The blog has proven a good way to meet like-minded people. I am also quite interested in making some new contacts in Priorat and other surrounding wine regions in Catalonia. We are a bit restricted as we prefer not to rent a car (it was a bit of a catastrophe the last time), but hopefully we can find someone to take us around.

That was all the wine-news for this week. Hoping to post some reviews on Mark Greeneway and the Australian sparkling in the coming week. Have a good one!

A Playfull Dinner at Punk Royale, Stockholm

There is a new kid in town and his name is Punk Royale!

Stockholm is a city of food trends. There is a constant vibe in the air, a search for the next big thing in culinary delights. Hamburgers are going out and Japansese Izakayas appear to be coming in. Punk Royale represents an immortal genre in the Nordic countries, the Sacndinavian kitchen, but the food (and the whole dinner) is executed in a playfull manner, to be trendy of course.

When we arrived at the small restaurant, we were seated at our table with a pile of legos and an egg. Yes, an egg, a raw one with its top cracked open. After ordering a bubbly aperitif (the options were a boring Laurent Perrier and a somewhat more interesting Cremant de Loire, guess which one I chose) I hit the pile and started building. It has been a while since I have played with Legos, but I remember them being (especially the space ones) my absolutely favorite toys as a child. We had the only option the five course dinner with 10 small dishes and as we were in a festive mood (due to it being Saturday) we also signed up for the drinks flight.

The first course was caviar, served on the top of my hand, followed by a schnaps of Finlandia Vodka. I looked at the vodka suspiciously as I am not the one for hard liqueur straight up (regardless if it is the national drink of Finland, my home country) . However, after the fatty caviar, the vodka tasted fresh and sweet. When the second course arrived, we understood what the egg was for. The cook came with a small steaming hot frying pan and made an omelette at the table.

I really don’t recall all the exact dishes we had that evening, and I will not mention them all, but here are some of my favorites: the smiley face foie grass toasts, blood pudding with bacon and the small cheese puffs that arrived in a mouse trap. During the dinner, the staff did all kinds of weird things. They hung a clothes pin from Ms ear, rubbed another guest with a fox fur, and there were some strange people sitting around for hours on a flight of stair. Weird, I say, but entertaining.

Looking at the drinks we had: a really excellent Punk Royale IPA, Chardonnay, some very buttery Sauvignon Blanc and xxx Red. To finish off, we had a cup of punsch (very Swedish Arrack based alcoholic beverage). The staff were knowledgeable (they apologized for the house champagne being Laurent Perrier), and the ambience cozy. The dinner all in all was excellent. Very sea food heavy, which is not Ms forte, but still flavourful. I, for example, had the best oyster in my life (perhaps due to it being submerged in butter and garlic).

The menu changes slightly every week, a few dishes at a time, so in around two months or so we can go again and sample all new dishes. And we will, if we can get a table. With just 26 seats and one seating, one must be quick to grab a table reservation. I am not surprised about the popularity as the menu is only 600 SEK with the drinks flight making it double. 1200 SEK for such a meal was a steal. For a fun night out in Stockholm, this is the place to be! But beware! The drinks flight is quite generous, so there is a high risk of getting drunk.

Wineweek 30: Sword and Legos

It is finally Sunday again (or Monday as something went wrong with WordPress on Sunday), they day of the week I try to dedicate to resting (and some creative writing). One can see that vacations are closing in as everybody is extremely busy. I, as many others, like to have things done and out of the way in advance of the well deserved break. Stockholm has also started showing signs of summer: temperatures above 20 C and the migration of the Burger boat. Yes, the burger boat! It arrives when it is summer and it leaves when it feels like it. I have not had any burgers there yet, but I will, when I am on vacation (as it often shows up around lunch time to the marina close to where we live).

This week we made some interesting purchases. M (finally) received his birthday present, only a week late (thanks to crappy UPS, seriously do not understand how they can even survive as their service is horrible outside the US), the beautiful champagne saber from Georg Jensen. I really liked it’s clean design and I felt it was about time that M, married to a Finn, gets his own knife (all the Swedes joke about Finns carrying around knifes, don’t ask me why). I have sabered before, and it is not that hard, but it requires some practice. Let’s see how many lamps we have left in our living room after the first session. One thing is for sure, regardless of whether the sabering is done wrong or right, is that our floors will from now on be mopped with  champagne. We also purchased some nice Bodum Pavina double glass cups. The double glass shields the hands of the holder from extreme hot or cold, so these will be great for coffee, tea as well as beverages with ice.

There was also some extreme dining this week. Not that I am at all jealous, M traveled to Copenhagen (originally to meet our accountant and warehouse manager) to eat at Noma, one of the most known restaurants in the world. It sounded like a wonderful meal and a wonderful experience, however I am not sure what I would have thought about eating ants. Yes, one of the dishes contained ants. Supposedly they tasted like lemon.

We also did some nice dining last night at a new restaurant in Stockholm, Punk Royale. It was a weird and fun experience with some of the best seafood I have had all year. We played with Legos on the table and the staff went around rubbing the guests with a fox fur. The food was fun, quirky and amazingly tasty. There was a scent of burned butter in the air, perhaps due to the fact that almost all dishes had been prepared with a fair amount of it. We took also a drinks flight with the meal and it was very nice: diverse, with beer, snaps (vodka), wines and punsch (a Swedish arrack flavored alcoholic beverage). This was one of the best meals I have had all year and I cannot wait to go back again when the menu has changed.

Being wine merchants one would think that we drink our own wines all the time. Among all the sampling and curiosity for new things, that is seldom the case. So I was very happy on Friday to open a bottle of one of the best cavas we have in our selection, the Rimarts Chardonnay. It is a Gran Reserva from 100% Chardonnay grapes. This is not a variety indigenous to Penedes, but it is more and more used in the production of cava. The chardonnay gives the wine some of the toasty and nutty notes that are more often found in champagne, but you can still taste the limestone from the Sant Sadurni terroir. I love the combination.

So an eventful week with a lot of wine and great food (especially for M). Next week it is time for Midsummer, the celebration of the longest day of the year in the Nordic countries. Midsummer is often celebrated at the cabin (summer house) with great food (barbecue), wine and in Finland a great big bonfire (and in Sweden with dancing around the maypole/midsummer pole).  As we are not cabin-people we will be escaping to Iceland, where there is no Midsummer. There we will be celebrating with some great food and wine as well, just without the mosquitoes and out-of-control fires.