We would never have gone for a dinner like this, if not for the fact that the dinner was on the house. The average meal here is close to 30 euros, my average meal doesn’t top 10 euros. Take a look at the places I typically dine and feature and you’ll know that this place is atypical for my dining and spending habits. But we got a free meal because there was some big problem with our room where we put up when the family visited and we were offered a free all-expenses paid dinner at the Björk Bar & Grill at the Courtyard Marriott in Kungsholmen.
According to what we found out later on, this restaurant is rated rather highly by diners for service and food. This is a restuarnt that serves Swedish cuisine, a cuisine that is undergoing its own renaissance.
The food here is modern Swedish food and the design of the restaurant was designed with birch trees, berries and Swedish copper as an inspiration. Frankly, it’s not hard to see why.
The food here is not as traditional as Restaurang Pelikan but a more modern take on modern Swedish cuisine. Most of these dishes were new to me, I’ve never tried them before and have mostly heard of them.
Our meal began with an cup of soup and a serving of breads and home churned butter.
I don’t think I’ve actually tried soup served in a cup before, or frankly as a appetizer in this manner. A small cup is less fillings and goes no where in filling you up or satiating your appetite but obviously whets your palate for more food, which I guess is the intention.
For starters were shared two dishes, a beef tartare and a toast skagen. Toast Skagen is a combination of shrimps and roe served on atop of a sauteed bread and flavoured with dill. It was created by the chef-restaurateur Tore Wretman and is typically served at dinner parties as an appetizer (I reckon, as an hor d’oeuvre). It was Wretman who elevated this home-cooking dishing to restaurant levels. It was rich, creamy, shrimpy and the whitefish roe provided that added texture to the dish. The lemon served on this dish really helped to cut the heaviness of the dish. I would have liked this served as hor d’oeuvres rather than as a huge piece of bread though.
Steak Tartare is made from finely chopped beef and served with onions, capers and other seasonings as well as a rich and creamy egg yolk to be broken and mixed into the dish. This was a Swedish take on steak tartare because of the mustard, capers and beets.
It had yolk and raw meat, almost like a beef sashimi of sorts. I reckon that the good quality fillet that was used did not have too much fats which would have made the beef hard to eat. Raw beef, without the sear that the fats give does not have the rich fatty fragrance that you would expect of steak. There was a mixture of textures from the soft chewiness of the steak to the runny consistency of the yolk and the crunchy cut of beetroot. Unlike sashimi though, the way that steak tartare is served means that the strong flavours of the other items like mustard, egg yolk, capers and onions can sometimes overpower the dish. In my view this steak was just nice, it was not too beefy and strong but also was not completely overpowered by the strong flavours of the accompaniments to the dish.
Then came our selection of mains. There was a Baked Celeriac dish served with king mushrooms, salsify, savoy cabbage, truffle and parmesan; a fish (salmon and codfish) and seashell (lobster) stew served with a saffron aioli an,
a grilled entrecote (prime cut of beef).
These were all wonderful dishes. The celeriac was crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside and despite its large appearance filled you without stuffing you. The stew was very rich because both cod and salmon are local fishes rich in fat – cod and salmon and their fats provide a rich source of Vitamin D which is something extremely vital in sun-poor Scandanavia. Eating locally and seasonally tends to provide us with important nutrients that our body needs for the climate we live in, another reason to eat locally and seasonally. And the entrecote was a little over cooked but the beef was high quality so we were happy.
We ended the meal with a home-made sorbet, something really sour that would balance out all the richness because honestly – this was a rich meal, something that would give you “rich man’s disease” if you eat it too often .
But once in a while is fine. Everything in Lagom as they say in Sweden.
And by any standard, that was an awesome meal!
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