“What sort of meat is the meatball made from,” asked one of our group.
“Oh a mixture of beef and pork, that’s the only way to eat real meatballs,” was the response from the waiter serving our table.
That was our proper introduction to Restaurang Pelikan, a dining institution in Stockholm. The restaurant has been open since 1664 in various different locations and since 1962 has been located in a beer hall in the Sodermalm district.
It was opened in Gamla Stan in 1664 by Hans George Cron and moved to Sodermalm in 1733. Before the age of Michelin guides, Pelikan was talked among locals to be the best place for a meal in the Soder district in Stockholm. It has continued to this day. While not a Michelin starreed restaurant, Pelikan can rightly be proud of its heritage serving authentic Swedish cuisine.
I first found out about this restaurant from a video by food blogger Mark Weins. Weins was on a world tour sponsored by Star Alliance and was sampling food from all the main cities of the airlines within Star Alliance. This was the first place he visited on arrival to Stockholm and was rave in his reviews about the restaurant.
But the price seemed too high for my budget, “let’s put this off, I thought to myself.”
The visit of an old friend to Stockholm seemed like a good occasion to visit, “I’ve saveed up enough, I could spend a bit, I thought to myself”.
We took a train to Skanstull and walked our way down to the restaurant.
After what seemed like an eternity, we saw the sign of Restaurang Pelikan. Finally.
The interior of the restaurant seemed like a beer high, with a high celling and long wooden tables placed in the centre. The walls were painted with pictures of nature, a very beautiful (and what seems to me), traditional nordic way of decorating – in homage of the beautiful nature in the Nordic region.
It was hard to decide what to eat, I chose to try to meatballs (the waiter seemed to take great pride in it) while the others chose the reindeer steak and the potato dumplings.
What can I say about the meatballs?
They were massive. But this did not mean that the quality was bad, in fact the texture of the meat was extremely smooth, almost like they were well beaten until the protein disintegrated and lost its mince structure even. The taste of beef and pork with a light hint of onion and some herbs flavoured my mouth as I took in bites of the meatballs with the wonderful gravy.
The accompanying mashed potatoes was some of the best I had. Rich, silky and smooth, certainly unlike the lumpy sort that I make for myself.
The reindeer steak looked marvelous too.
I had a small piece of reindeer to taste, the texture was really nice and there was a creaminess to the meat, almost like a liver or pate. It had a slight gamey flavour, but nothing too pungent or strong.
Even the non-meat potato dumplings looked great.
The meal was wonderfully enjoyable and the we were not rushed throughout, the waiters instead telling us to take our time, “we are open till 1am, just relax an enjoy your meal,” he went. For a city that closes rather early, this was music to my ears.
It was more expensive than the meals I was used to by about 50 % (I ordered a relatively cheaper item on the menu), the reindeer steak will set you back almost 300 SEK.
Is it worth the price? I don’t go to these kind of place often, but once in many months, yea I think so.
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