29 December 2013

Dinner 02.12.13

As soon as I touched Swedish soil my dear friend G sent me a text suggesting that we should have a dinner together at his place with his wife P. It didn't take many seconds before I accepted the invitation.
Mr G is not only a dear friend but he is also a true wine lover like me and is now the owner of a small wine import firm called www.bristly.se
We started off in his kitchen sipping on a bottle of Brut Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru from the Champagne house Pierre Moncuit. A nice, fresh start with citrus notes and a pleasant touch of honey at the end.

I had decided to bring a starter and we were all happy with the result; pan-seared scallop with cauliflower puree served with a rich jus made of homemade beef stock, sherry vinegar and soy.
Because of the natural sweetness of the scallop and the cauliflower I served a bottle of 2011 Saarburg Rausch Riesling Spätlese from Weingut Forstmeister Geltz Zilliken in Mosel, Germany. It ended up being a bit too sweet and rich for the dish. Well you cannot always be spot on.

Now it was time for a "wine in between" while the barbecue was heating up. Who said you can't have a barbecue in December in Sweden?  

2007 Bonnes-Mares Grand Cru from Olivier Bernstein ended up being our beverage while waiting. A massive, rich, meaty and herbaceous style of Pinot Noir full of cherry and licorice flavors. A very unique style of red Burgundy I must say. Olivier Bernstein used to be a student of the legendary Henry Jayer before he started his négociant firm only buying fruit from the oldest vines possible in Grand Cru and Premier Cru soil.

Now a big pile of grilled flank of beef was on the table with a thick sauce béarnaise. Apart from the bottle of Riesling I also had brought a bottle of 2004 Messorio from Le Macchiole in Bolgheri, Tuscany, Italy.
What an amazing wine. Just perfectly balanced acidity, tannins and fruit followed by a long, long finish and not at all a massive blockbuster but rather elegant with mineral, black currant and almond liqueur on the palate. I believe that the wine was at a perfect stage now to drink and I'm not far behind James Suckling who gave this vintage a perfect 100 points in Wine Spectator when the wine was released. Both I and G discussed how happy we are that these kind of wines are so "un-trendy" at the moment, especially in Sweden where Burgundy seems to be the only wine you can drink unless you want to be considered as an uneducated geek. This means more of these fantastic wines for geeks like us, fantastic.

All Matrix-movie fans out there might know about the music composer Rob Dougan but I'm not sure how many knows that he, since 2004, owns the winery La Pièra En Damaisela? 
In Languedoc where the winery is located they make a couple of different wines and we drank their top wine La Pièra from the vintage 2010. Made from Syrah and Grenache from tiny, tiny yields it's a massive, rich red, that I can understand, made Robert Parker blush with happiness. Will be interesting to try in a few years as it was very young and oak-driven at this moment.

We rounded the evening with comté and a beautiful bottle of 2004 Asili Barbaresco from Roagna packed with notes of roses, violets and cranberries. Roagna keep their wines in their cellar for years until they feel they are ready for the market and ready to be drunk. A great philosophy that more serious Nebbiolo producers should adapt as so many of these red wines from the snowy hills of Piemonte are drunk way too young.

After all these wines, drunk mainly by me and G, as his wife drinks more moderately, we were pretty tired and I went back home after a fantastic evening.

20 November 2013

Home Alone 2

Another day off and my fiancé is in sunny California. What better then opening a nice, juicy bottle of pinot from the golden state.
2011 Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir from Brewer-Clifton to be more precise. The wine just screams out of lush raspberries, cherries and sour rhubarb. It has a medium full body with ripe berries and cherry-liqueur on the palate with a light herby finish. Maybe not the most complex wine but definitely flirty and charming.

Food wise nothing might be more classic to serve with pinot then duck so that is what I decided to cook.
Duck breast fried on the skin side and then roasted in low heat in the oven until it reaches 52 degrees. 
I let the meat rest for 10 minutes before I sliced it thinly and served it with lentils with mushroom and bacon and on the side a celeriac puree to meet the sweet fruit of the wine.
Simple but gorgeous. 

04 September 2013


The term "hole in the wall" can't be more accurate when it comes to this tiny restaurant on Sankt Eriksgatan in Stockholm. Only 18 seats and the open service kitchen take up a good 40% of the dining room.


Gro means grow and here vegetables play the main character. This doesn't mean it's a vegetarian restaurant but fish and meat rather play in the background of the locally-grown veggies.

The chefs and owners Magnus and Henrik does everything here; cooking, serving and I bet they even take care of the pile of dishes after each lunch as well, because this place only serves lunch from Monday to Friday.
As a guest you don't have much of choices, the three courses are written on a small board on the wall and apart from various juices they serve one beer.

First dish was the raw dish of the day where most of the ingredients are uncooked. Might sound like a boring salad but this dish was great. Black kale with cauliflower and toasted hazelnuts. The cauliflower puree was very light and not made with a lot of butter and milk or cream which might be more common. I think it was mixed with a light vegetable stock and it fitted the dish better. If someone was served raw dishes like this I can understand how someone can become vegan, very good.

Second main was carrots with fennel, new potato, onion and a smoked mayonnaise with fish roe. Another great dish, but half way through the plate it became a bit too much. I accidentally run into my blogger-friend starfood scout who's been here various times and he told me that the carrot dish was his least favorite so far.

For dessert we had cheesecake, but not to be confused with the American version made of Philadelphia cheese on a digestive base. The Swedish cheesecake is made by adding rennet to milk to make it coagulate and later form a "curd cake" that is normally served lukewarm.

The cheesecake in Gro was good but maybe a bit too dry to be perfect. It was served with cherries and chamomile. The crunchy bits on top was quite pointless though; no taste and way too tough to bite.

Nonetheless I will definitely come back to Gro and when each main is only 100kr (15 us dollars) I must say it's an amazing bargain.


02 September 2013

Home Alone

Day off, not much to do and my better half is in San Francisco.
In secret I like these kind of days, no obligations, no plans and just a lot of time for myself.

Obviously I need to spoil myself a bit and what better then some simple good food, a bottle of red and TV? Tonight it turned out to be an Italian theme; home made pappardelle with meat sauce and in the glass 2001 Brunello di Montalcino from Casanova di Neri in Tuscany, Italy. Their more prestigious 2001 Tenuta Nuovo Brunello di Montalcino got voted "wine of the year 2006" by Wine Spectator and their "top of the line", single vineyard 2001 Cerretalto Brunello di Montalcino got a perfect 100p from the same famous American wine magazine. So despite all these accolades this producer got the proof is always in the glass. Bottle to bottle, palate to palate, a wine is never the same.

I opened the bottle while kneading the pasta dough and poured a bit in my big Reidel glass. The nose was still very concentrated and deep with aromas of sour red fruits, newly ground coffee, olives and baked root vegetables. Even though the wine will easily last another 5-10 years I must say it drank perfectly now. Soft texture with earthy notes of sweet and sour berries and coffee on the palate.

Together with my perfect meat sauce and freshly made pappardelle it was a simple but fantastic treat to myself.

26 August 2013


Finally I had both the time and the opportunity to get one of the sought after seats in this small, fine-dining restaurant in Stockholm's posh neighborhood Östermalm. Gastrologik is one out of two new additions to the michelin-starred scene here in Stockholm (the fabulous Ekstedt is the other one) and the concept of this restaurant is serving swedish produce at its best. As a guests you "only" have the option to go for one tasting menu and the physical menu is simply a blank white page with the price typed small on the right hand corner. Jacob Holmström and Anton Bjuhr are the chefs and owners and their constant search for the best contributes to some of the dishes being changed daily.

The dining room is classic scandinavian with white walls and chairs but it still feels cozy.

I really liked the cutlery rest made of elk horn, and all their plates from the Swedish designer Quality Verified (http://www.qualityverified.se

The dining room is run by my two friends Erik Forssell and Felix Bergman so I knew that I and my old friend were in good hands.

We started with a glass of 2008 Cuvée Charlemagne Blanc de Blancs from Guy Charlemagne. A great start with its flavor of candied citrus and honey. A low dosage helped giving this Chardonnay a lovely fresh finish and our appetite ready for food.

And now it was time for a cavalcade of appetizers. The first one was already on the table when we arrived; dried new potatoes with powder of ceps mushroom. So crispy and thinner than paper.

Appetizer no 2; coriander and dill flowers deep-fried in a sourdough batter. Simple and tasty.

Appetizer no 3; brioche baked with vortex flour and served with butter seasoned with the herb savory.

Appetizer no 4; meringue topped with chicken liver mousse and pickled apple. I loved this one with the contrasts of sweet, salty, creamy and crunchy. The apple was anonymous though as I think the chefs prioritized the aesthetic look of a thin piece of apple rather than something bigger that would add a nice acidity to this amuse bouche.

Appetizer no 5; mussel with lavender and crunchy spinach crumble. So, so good.

Appetizer no 6; quail egg marinated in home made soy made from yellow split peas to give a swedish touch to this asian seasoning. Very good and the flavor from the soy reminded me more of chinese soy than the more elegant japanese version with intense bitter and burnt flavors. Really good and beautifully presented.

Last appetizer; dried reindeer blood topped with sour creme and vendace roe, this delicious Swedish caviar.

Instead of the option of having their wine paring we choose two bottles of wine that would follow us through the menu. First a bottle of 2010 Chablis 1:er Cru "La Forest" from Dauvissat. It worked well with many of the dishes with its elegant notes of yellow apple, lemon, almond and mineral. Followed by 2010 Timbervine Syrah from the producer Radio Coteau in Russian River Valley, California. Blind tasted I would definitely go for Northern Rhône Valley with its intense flavors of garrigue, crushed white pepper, bay leaves and juicy blueberries. Two great wines but I forgot to take picture of the bottles.

Nice bread.

First "proper" serving and one of my favorite this evening; cold smoked and cured wild salmon from Vindel River in northern Sweden served with frozen horseradish cream and a crumble with pickled spruce shoots. true Scandinavian flavors and the spruce gave the dish a touch of the forrest. What a superb dish. 

Next leek from Rosendal with grated pork cheek and onion broth. I could easily have drunk liters of this intense, tasty stock.

The quality of the Scallops from Hitra was out of this world. Seared to perfection and served with a creme of the roe sack, cauliflower and brown butter seasoned with the above mentioned home made soy. If you read my blog post http://esurientem.blogspot.ae/2012/10/dinner-at-home-241012.html I cooked a dish not far from this. It would be insane to think that a michelin-starred restaurant would get inspiration from my blog but nonetheless flattering.

Even though monkfish has never been a favorite of mine the next dish was great. Served with a rich jus of monkfish, chanterelles and roasted corn.

Beef from Älmhult (same town as the first Ikea store) served with beetroot and cress. Another tasty dish but a bit anonymous compared to the rest. Do I need to say it was a perfect match with my herbaceous syrah? 

Cheese board

A trio of gooseberry came next, crisp, jelly and finally a compote of the berry with its sorbet, raw celery and milk. The last brought back memories to my grandmother when she used to do various compotes and serve it with milk. Yummy.

Ice cream of sorrel with peas and dill.

The final dessert was beetroot puree with milk sorbet, cherries and caraway. So, so good.

For once I skipped the coffee but not the goodies that was meant to be served with the black brew; miniature sponge cake of lavender and blueberries with honey. Once again no photo, sorry.

Next time I visit my home town I will definitely visit Gastrologik's easier going restaurant Speceriet wall to wall to the fine dining restaurant.

24 January 2013

Dinner at Home 03.01.13

This evening I and C had the pleasure to invite M. Albrektsson and his lovely fiancé for a dinner. M who is a great chef and blogger was visiting Dubai for a few days so a dinner at home was obvious.
We were all a bit "tired" after the previous night in Zuma but after the first sip of NV Bollinger Rosé we were back to life. A rich, food-driven champagne that worked perfectly both as a aperitif and along with the first dish.

A pure mouthful of the ocean was my plan with this serving. Lightly seared, sliced scallop with oyster, seaweed, salicorn, avocado, dill-pickled cucumber and oyster vinaigrette. Fresh start.

Home made ravioli that i filled with dried mushroom, ricotta, nutmeg and shallot. Small pieces of bread crouton to add texture, brown butter to match the oak flavors from the wine and then topped with a generous amounts of white Alba truffle.

As you can understand this dish screamed after a white burgundy. I opened a bottle of 2009 Meursault Sous la Velle from Rémi Jobard. A bit tropical in the fruit but well balanced with a white mineral character and a fresh acidity surrounded with a round mouthfeel. 

From burgundy we quickly moved to California and Napa Valley.
1999 Insignia from Joseph Phelps is a classic american bordeaux blend. This vintage the grapes were 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot and 1% each of Malbec and Cabernet Franc.
Mature notes of plums, tobacco and wet soil blended with soft tannins and a deep taste of overripe plums. Far from the finesse and grace of the 1997 I had a few years ago and strangely I felt that this bottle already reached its peak.

Next I cooked ribeye of Australian wagyu, medium rare and served with white beans, celeriac puree, pickled onion, pancetta and oxtail jus. The dish was finally covered with grated black truffle, 10g on each plate to be precise. Not bad at all I must say.

No sweet wine, just dessert.
Vanilla pannacotta topped with cranberry coulis, almond crumble and cranberry jelly. I was really happy with the flavors of this dessert but the pannacotta was a bit to hard in texture. Less gelatin next time.

09 January 2013

S.T.A.Y by Yannick Alléno

I should have learned...
After a big disappointment at Reflets par Pierre Gagnaire and a mediocre experience at Table 9, I should have learned that fine dining in Dubai is nothing more than a joke. The ethnical, low budget restaurants is normally when you get the best experience in the city but still I chose to go and try S.T.A.Y. which is located in the spectacular One and Only resort on The Palm.

The restaurant is owned by the three Michelin starred chef Yannick Alléno and I was hoping for tasty, classic French food with a twist cooked with superb produce.

The dining room is luxurious and the big tables with the well-ironed tablecloths are placed far from each other in a true, fine dining spirit. Still, rather ugly furnitures.
The service was correct and friendly but a ringing cellphone in one of the staffs pockets is far from ok.
When we entered, the hostess showed us the pastry kitchen which is located inside the dining room, giving the guest something to look at. "This is our beautiful pastry library" she said before she showed us our table. Since we were seated next to the pastry area we could hear how the hostess repeated the same phrase "this is our beautiful pastry library" to every single guest entering the restaurant. Pretty robotic and tiring after a while, and what is a pastry library?

The restaurant manager recommended us to go for the tasting menu which I normally think is the best choice when trying a restaurant for the first time.
We started with a glass of Nv Brut Premier from the Champagne house Louis Roederer along with the selection of appetizers; petit choux filled with gruyère, tuna tartare with bell pepper jelly and finally something they called pizza? which was a artichoke puree, sandwiched between two leaf-thin sheets of crispy, baked dough. All the appetizers went through unnoticed.

I ordered a bottle of 2006 Im Weingebirge Grüner Veltliner Smaragd from Nikolaihof in Wachau in Austria. It was fat and honey-like in the mouth balanced with a fresh acidety. A decent wine that started to sing on the last verse, don't keep any longer.

First dish was a cylinder shaped potato filled with sturgeon brandade and topped with radish and a sake consommé. The potato was cold and tasteless and so was the brandade. The only thing on the plate with character was the sake consommé.  

Next up was a dish so bland and bad I even forgot to take a picture of it. Raw pieces of scallop with artichoke as a crisp, foam and puree (same as the appetizer) injected in the scallop. Never, ever have I eaten anything as tasteless. I get a bigger taste sensation from the popcorn at the cinema (at least they are salty). 

After that total catastrophe of a dish came lobster pudding with chestnut fettuccine, mushroom coulis and lobster foam. An decent dish but the lobster pudding looked like small, factory-made sausages from the grocery store.

So came the best dish of the evening; Turbot with clams, grilled asparagus and béarnaise sauce. A simple bistro dish, well cooked and the béarnaise was actually seasoned to perfection.

Fillet of lamb with tomato concassé, fennel and olive was a simple, rustic dish.

A few petit fours before the grand dessert.

And then it came, the meter long dessert selection from the pastry library. The quince tart was good but the rest of the desserts tasted like something from Starbucks, no finesse at all, just sweet.

The dessert finally made me feel like leaving, not S.T.A.Y.