23 July 2014


Fine dining might not be the first thing you think off, or longing for when you visit Indonesia, especially at the touristic paradise island of Bali. Normally you want to indulge in spicy 'nasi campur' or crispy 'babi guling' washed down with liters of refreshing Bintang beer.

But there is one place that has an solid reputation as a modern fine dining gem in Bali...
Mozaic is located in the outskirts of Ubud, a small town in the Balinese jungle. They were on the 50 best restaurant list in 2009 and most recently (2013) they were on position 50 on Asia's 50 best restaurant list.
Chef and owner Chris Salans from Washington D.C. runs the kitchen and his cooking is an interesting mix of Indonesian ingredients prepared with European techniques.

We started off by the pool at our beautiful resort in the jungle with a piña colada. For a pale swede, surrounded by palm trees nothing equals holiday more than this sweet, rum based cocktail.

When we arrived to the restaurant we were escorted to the indoor lounge where we got served a glass of refreshing Champagne, Taittinger Brut Réserve together with parmesan and edam-cheese croquette filled with liquid truffle. Great start.

Few minutes later we were shown to our table in the lovely outdoor area.

The wine list in Mozaic is decent, especially considering that we were dining in the middle of the jungle in Bali. But when they offer corkage for a low sum I obviously decided to bring two bottles from home.

2008 Beaune Clos de la Féguine Premier Cru Monopole from Domaine Jacques Prieur in Burgundy was my white choice. Elegant fruit mixed with butterscotch, crisp acidity and a salty mineral note in the end.

And on the red side I brought 2004 La Muse from Vérité in Sonoma County.
The sommelier carefully decanted the bottle and poured a taster for me.
No fruit and a discreet aroma told me that something was wrong. 15 minutes later when I went back to the wine it was clear, the wine was corked.
The level of TCA, that causes the wine to be cork tainted, can vary and people has a different sesitivety to this spoilage. In this case it wasn't much, but enough to ruin the wine.
When a wine is strongly affected by TCA most people, even with an untrained nose, would refuse the wine, with the understanding that something is wrong with the bottle.
It's almost worse (especially for the producer) when a wine is 'gently' tainted because a non experienced drinker will think that "this wine is crap, I will never by this again".
Dear wine producers, for your own sake and especially for the care of your big spending customers; stop using this ancient thing called cork. It's 2014 and there is something called screw cap!!!

After this major disappointment we got our amuse-bouche that quickly changed our mood to the positive.
Wagyu beef cornetto with parmesan creme and salmon cornetto with yuzu.

Next up oysters two ways: one with kaffir lime and one with kiwi and coconut sphere. 

The first starter was a bit special; dried tuna that reminded me of jamon serrano. It was served with watermelon and an intense foam seasoned with cloves. This, native Indonesian spice, easily dominates any dish and in this case it wasn't really a winner.

Next dish was better; Yabbies (similar to langoustine) served with pata negra, scallop and truffle emulsion. Great rich taste.

The favorite dish of the evening;
Sea-bass with quince puree, tempeh crumble and curry leaf oil.
Unlike anything I've eaten before. Superb dish!

Trio of foie gras;
- as a terrine with beetroot sorbet and olive crumble
- grilled with licorice and raspberry
- seared with beetroot and hazelnut, which was the favorite.

Pigeon with cepes, quinoa and truffle espuma.

Iberico pork cooked perfectly to juicy medium served with pumpkin, squid ink puree and calvados coulis.

Next up, cheese serving;
Vacherin on brioche and once again, truffle.

First of three desserts;
Basil ice-cream with chocolate crumble. Very good combo.

This was followed by chocolate mousse with ginger flower sorbet

Gingerbread with pineapple, chocolate espuma and clove ice-cream. This time the intense spice worked well.

The sum of the experience would be; high level of cooking with mainly great ingredients but some of the combinations felt a bit awkward.
As a whole, I can recommend this restaurant with its appealing pricing.

21 July 2014

Ekstedt Revised

Ekstedt revisited... this amazing restaurant where everything is cooked over an open fire. As I presumed on my previous visit (http://esurientem.blogspot.ae/2012/09/ekstedt.html) they now have their well-deserved Michelin star. The portions are slightly smaller than before, something I like as the generous plates last time was a bit too much and left an almost unpleasant feeling.

The expectations were obviously high and it sort of lived up to that even though the first visit was a notch up on the whole.
Like our previous visit we were served a mini-pizza as an appetizer.
This time it was topped with mozzarella, foie gras and summer truffle. Nice start but the truffle was unfortunately tasteless. I don't see the point of using truffle that doesn't add any flavor to the dish. Not star quality.

A bottle of 2012 Loibner Loibenberg Grüner Veltliner Smaragd from F.X. Pichler in Wachau, Austria was my first choice from the wine list. Rich, young and powerful with flavors of the ripest yellow plums and smoke with a delicate bitterness at the end of this rich-textured wine. F.X. Pichler is rated as one of the top producers in Austria and I have drunk quite a few bottles from them over the years. Tonight I realized, actually it isn't my personal favorite. I would love to try something from F.X. Pichler with a bit of age as their young wines can be a bit too much and I find them a bit unbalanced in their youth.

First dish was beef tartar with oyster, almond and smoked avocado, amazing!

Next we got, what has become their signature dish;
Lobster with chimney smoked tomato.
Once again a fantastic dish but it was even better on our last visit.

Octopus with chorizo, lemon cured herring and sweet bell pepper.
Lovely dish with intense, Spanish flavors.

The rich Grüner Veltliner that matched the food well so far, was now finished so we ordered a bottle of red for the two remaining meat dishes.

2005 Clos de L'Obac from the producer Costers del Siurana in Priorat, Spain.
The base material for this wine comes from old garancha vines that has been blended with cabernet sauvignon, syrah, merlot and cariñena.
Still youthful in the mouth with a round and sweet dried plum character mixed with mint-chocolate and backed up with silky tannins. It's been a while since I last tried this wine. Not bad at all.

The main protein, lamb ribeye, for the next dish was served on the side while the main plate contained of roasted eggplant, smoked tallow and sprouts.
Another tasty serving.

After a quick chat with Niklas Ekstedt himself we moved to the chefs table were we enjoyed the experience on our last visit.
Here we had the last savory dish which was a combination of hay baked pork with smoked cauliflower and truffle. A dish that was "right up my alley". The crispy pork skin that was sprinkled on the plate gave a nice crunchy contrast to the super soft pork meat. Once again the tasteless truffle added nothing to the dish.

The desserts at Ekstedt has so far not lived up to the standard of the savory dishes. A bit too heavy and oversimplified. After a heavy meal like this I prefer something lighter and more on the sour side. Anyhow, this is my personal feeling and I'm sure that most guests loved this sweet at the end.

Socca (an north Italian pancake) was meant to reflect the pizza in the beginning of the meal. It was served with rum raisins, nougat, hazelnuts and coffee ice cream.

Overall it was again an amazing dinner and I cant wait to go back.


18 July 2014


Good Asian restaurants hasn't been the strongest player of Stockholm's dining scene.
Chinese pork stews based on cheap, industrial, Swedish rosehip soup, sushi made of cold stodgy rice topped with an even colder prawn and garnished with plastic bamboo leaf and restaurants serving bland, Indian cuisine has become the norm. So sad when everything else in Stockholm, gastronomic wise, is so elitist.
I was happy when I first heard that Farang would open their doors on Tulegatan in Stockholm.
The restaurant was opened by three chefs that has worked in some of the finer restaurants around the world. The original Farang is located in Helsinki, the capital of Finland.
Flavors from Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia are mixed without making the concept too disjointed. The venue feels more New York than Stockholm and despite the large amount of seats available it was packed on our visit which gave off a fantastic atmosphere.

A bottle off 2011 Les Noisetiers from Kistler in Sonoma Coast for 700 Swedish crowns caught my eye on the wine list and must be seen as a great bargain. Yellow, tropical fruit mixed with toffee and citrus rounded off with a nice, fresh finish.

The food is meant to be shared, a concept I love as it gives you the chance to try more dishes and also creates a nice vibe around the table.

As a snack we started with cha plu leaf with tempeh, coconut and tamarind. 

Next was a selection of mains or 'sharing dishes' served;
Soft shell crab with green mango, peanuts, mint, pomelo and green 'nahm jim'

Pork in palm sugar caramel, rice vinegar and roasted onions.

Rib eye steak satay style.
A classic dish of beef skewers dipped in a spicy, creamy, peanut and coconut sauce. Here in a more refined form.

Tofu with morning glory, bok choy, watercress and salted pork belly was the last of the savory dishes.

As a sweet finale we choose mango-mandarin sorbet with Thai style marinated fruits and sweet peas topped with a coconut and vanilla stock.

I must say that I really liked Farang with its nice ambience, friendly service and bold, rich flavors. The fact that my picky in-laws from Indonesia loved the food and found the flavors to be authentic must be seen as a plus?
I would recommend if you could visit the restaurant as a party of four or more as it gives you a bigger chance to try as many dishes as possible. The fairly loud volume in the venue makes it better suited for a night out with the friends rather than a romantic valentines dinner with your partner.

15 July 2014

Bar Burger Cafe

They call themselves a 'Gourmet Burger Joint' and the burgers are truly great in this new place, located in Kungsträdgården, in the heart of Stockholm.

We started off with pata negra and gherkins followed by two of their burgers;
'True-Burger' made from coarse ground angus beef topped with cheddar, caramelized onions, tomato, lettuce and their signature burger dressing. The second burger was called 'El Diablo Burger', made with the same patty but topped with jalapeños, cheddar, buffalo style tabasco, lettuce, tomato and roja sauce. The crown of the jewel was perfectly cooked onion rings.

One thing that wasn't up to standard was the very slow service. 1.5 hours for some ham and two burgers are not what you would expect for a dish that is considered as fast food.
I hope and think we were just unlucky this time and we will gladly come back to indulge in these juicy burgers.



13 July 2014

BBQ 12.06.14

Sunny Swedish summer, great company, first game of World Cup 2014, a pile of fantastic meat and some tasty wines, can a day be any better?
I and VicSlic were invited to P&G's beautiful villa in Lidingö and thirsty as we were, we started off on their balcony sipping on 2004 Nicole Moncuit Vieille Vigne from Pierre Moncuit. A single vineyard Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs from Les Chétillons in Le Mesnil sur Oger, same as Pierre Peters use for their prestige wine. The vines that produce these chardonnay grapes are over 100 years old and even though this champagne has started to open up a bit there is still a lot of power left for many years of ageing. At the moment it showed generous notes of toasted bread, ripe yellow plums and citrus with a great length. Very good start of the evening.

After this lovely refreshment we moved inside where I quickly cooked a little starter by using some lovely German asparagus that I found on the vegetable market in town. Topped with brown butter, parmesan and prosciutto crudo it turned out to be a great and simple dish along with our next wine. This chardonnay is made by the family of an old colleague of mine in Burgenland in Austria. 2011 Chardonnay Glaggsatz from Mariell was fairly rich and round with a profile that turned to tropical fruits, with a nice use of oak and still balanced up with a good acidity. Thanks to Katharina and Joachim for the bottle.

Now it was time to grill the meat. I bought some salsiccia and flank steak but the highlight was a beautiful piece of well aged T-Bone that just smelled like the finest pata negra ham you could think of.

Instead of grilling all the meat on the big, outdoor BBQ, the host suggested that we should cook the meat inside the open fire place in their living room. Sounds amazing I thought.
While we arranged the logs we started sipping on our 'pause wine'; 2009 d'Alceo which is the prestigious Bordeaux blend from the great Tuscan producer Castello dei Rampolla. This wine, dedicated to Alceo di Napoli, is based on cabernet sauvignon, lightly seasoned with petit verdot. Only a tiny part of the wine stays in new oak as they like to preserve the freshness of the fruit. This is far from the richer Bordeaux blends you find on the Tuscan coast. Here elegance and finesse is the key with a strong resemblance to the best Chateau's on the western side of Bordeaux. Soft tannins and packed with dark berry and mineral notes, yummy!

After we got some nice caramelized surface on the meat I put the 1.6kg heavy T-Bone in a low heat oven and left it there until the thermometer showed 54 degrees Celsius. I took it out and placed it back on the fire for a few more minutes to sear the surface even further and then we cut it up in slices. Wow! The meat tasted even more intense than it smelled. Hazelnuts and matured cheese came to my mind when chewing on the beast. Sauce Béarnaise, salad, veggies and oven roasted potatoes was served on the side.

We had two big wines from southern France together with the meats; the first, 2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes from Domaine de la Janasse. This top wine from the producer is made from old wines planted between 50 to 100 years ago which gives the wine its concentration and endless length. Red, intensive plum fruit mixed with smoked meat and fresh cut herbs. Still with a fresh acidity that kept the wine balanced and firm.
Second wine was way more bombastic and rich in its texture. 2... Saint Jean du Barroux comes from the high mountain Mount Ventoux in the norther part of Provence. Philippe Gimel, who runs the property, used to work for both Domaine de la Janasse and Câteau de Beaucastel before he bought these 10 hectares in Ventoux. The wine is un-oaked to really show the fruit in its purest form. I can't remember if I ever tried a wine that had such a pronounced nose of "garrigue", which is the low growing vegetation in this part of France. Bay leaves, thymes, rosemary, sage and lavender, you name it and it was in the wine, concentrated and intense. The herbal notes were paired with an massive blueberry-like fruit that developed two minutes later into licorice and raspberry. A very impressive wine and fun to try even though I preferred the Janasse. I understand that the wine got high points from Robert Parker.

The game between the host, Brazil and Croatia was accompanied with two more bottles; 2006 Symposium Pinot Noir from Fort Ross in Sonoma Coast and 2006 Château Cambon la Pelouse on Haut-Médoc, Bordeaux.
Both wines went down easily together with the football, and how it went in the game you all know.