24 October 2014


There is almost more sushi joints than pizzerias in Stockholm now days. With the extremely high standards of the restaurants in the capital it's shocking to see how bad 99% of the sushi restaurants are. Thank god for Råkultur.
This easy going sushi place, serving both lunch and dinner, is owned and run by Sayan Isaksson and is located in the same building as Sayan's Michelin starred, fine dining restaurant Esperanto.

I went for a quick lunch with mom and my auntie.
We started of with a lovely selection of sashimi beautifully presented on a mist of dry ice.

Next up a maki roll filled with sweet pork ribs, ginger and shiso. Great flavors but the rice was a bit too cold.

After this we were served sushi moriawase of only Scandinavian fish. The nigiri selection were; wild salmon, cod with chili mayonnaise, silver eel with smoked teriyaki sauce, pike-perch in hay, halibut marinated in beetroot and topped with tobiko, char with squid emulsion, scallop with mustard miso and finally salmon belly tataki with meat soy.
On the plate we also had a gunkan of char and two kinds of maki rolls; salmon with tamago and cod with cucumber and leeks.

To prevent the guests to over-season their sushi in a pile of soy, Råkultur serve all their sushi bites with soy in a shot glass and a brush. You're meant to "paint" a small amount of soy on the fish only, not the rice, in true Japanese fashion.

Together with the sushi I drank White Ale Hitachino Nest Beer from Kiuchi Brewery in Ibaraki, Japan. This fantastic wheat beer is flavored with coriander seeds, orange peel and nutmeg, just like the famous Hoegaarden. But unlike the Belgium wheat beer, the White Ale is backed with nice bitterness and greater depth. The beer is imported in Sweden by my good friend Åke Nordgren and his company Akebono. Åke is a well respected person in the world of Sake and Japanese gastronomy and was 2010, awarded Sake Samurai in a big event in London. He's the seventh person outside Japan who got this prestigious award.

An amazing dessert of apple purée flavored with brown butter, topped with frozen yogurt and fennel meringue came next. I really loved this one, so, so good.


Can't wait for Sayan's next restaurant to be opened soon. It's going t be a fine dining version of Råkultur. Stockholm and the world, be prepared!!!



When this restaurant opened a few years ago they served pub grub with finesse and their burger was perhaps the most talked about dish in Stockholm for a very long time.
Now the style has slightly changed and with my friend "Rai" behind the pots and pans it's more of a budget version of fine dining. They only serve one five course menu at a price of 550 sek (85$) which for this level of cooking is ridiculously cheap. And when it comes to the quality of the food and the ingredients it's far from budget.
The restaurant is run by Mr. Crespi. He and his team run a handful of restaurants in this block of Stockholm Old Town; Djuret (see previous blog), Leijontornet 12x8 (all-in classic fine dining opened only 12 times a year for total eight guests), Svinet (backyard restaurant only serving pork) along with the newly opened wine bar The Burgundy and the cocktail bar Tweed.

It was with a glass of NV Ruinart Blanc de Blancs and a chat with Mr. Crespi himself I started this evening while waiting for my friends to arrive.
The restaurant is tiny with a communal table in the middle where the big part of the guests are seated. Around the table they have the "wine wall" where you can make some real bargains. Apart from that they also have an impressive wine list that is very advantageously priced. We choose two bottles from the evening. From the wine wall we picked a bottle of 2006 Château Pontet-Canet and from the bible-like wine list we chose a bottle of 2010 Meursault Tessons, Clos de Mon Plaisir from Domaine Roulot. The white Burgundy might have been the wine of the evening. It was so full of mineral fragrance that when I stuck my nose in the glass I was transported back in time to the smell of fire works at New Year's Eve when I was a kid. Fantastic wine with such an appetizing balance and great lenght.

As an appetizer we got breaded duck leg with sour dip. Simple and tasty.

Bass with onion purée, burnt onion, lumpfish roe and nasturtium.
Great first dish and perfect with the Meursault.

Coarse tartar of fallow deer with parsley emulsion, fried oyster mushrooms and fried herbs. I never get tired of a good tartar and this one was amazing. The very pungent herb lovage was noted in the mix and it worked very well with the dish. Normally I think this herb is too strong and dominant.

Next dish was a lobster and truffle serving. It wasn't part of the original five-course menu but an additional option we couldn't resist to order. Just on the edge of being too salty, but still great.

Burnt salsify with cod, cockles, toasted almonds, smoked beurre blanc and seaweed. So, so good and along with the dish we had a glass of the wine from their wine pairings; 2008 Mas d'en Compte Blanc from Celler Cal Pla. This white Priorat is made from the grapes Garnacha Blanca, Picapoli, Pansal (Xarello) and Macabeo, all matured in 80% new French oak and has aromas of vanilla, dried apricots and fennel with a rather low acidity. Interesting wine, if not a personal favorite, it matched the food perfectly.

Now we slowly started to sip on the Pontet-Canet that had been decanted for a good hour. Great, medium bodied claret with classic nose of cassis, toasted oak and a hints of violets.
Unfortunaly the super tasty main course served next with its rich and sweet flavors kind of killed the wine and every bit of fruit existing.
Iberico pork neck glaced with hazelnut
 butter and served with an intense red cabbage pure with a lot of natural sweetness, baked pointed cabbage, pork jus and black truffle. Such an amazing dish but the poor wine was lost. Should have ordered a richer, more fruit driven wine. A bit of a waste of a great Bordeaux.

As dessert we were served an ice cream made of caramelized rice with grilled pear, lemon mascarpone, sake syrup and puffed wild rice. Good but a bit anonymous after the other great dishes.

After the dessert we left the restaurant and walked to the other side of the block to their cocktail bar Tweed. It's a very cozy bar that looks like an old men's club.
A second dessert was here offered; Chocolate creme with vanilla ice cream and "polkagris", a hard, swedish candy seasoned with peppermint.

We were still longing for more wine so after a basket of bread to neutralize the palate I ordered a bottle of 2006 State Lane Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Kapcsándy in Napa Valley.
I drank the same wine about a year earlier. I was more floored by the wine last time. It felt a bit closed at the moment. Still an impressive red though.

Still thirsty we moved a few blocks to Restaurant Frantzén's wine bar Gaston where my dear friends O-chäf and Mr. Agrell served us two nice last bottles before we strolled home happy in the early morning.

13 October 2014

Six Senses Yao Noi

Six senses has seven, exclusive, sustainable resorts on unique locations in five countries; China, Oman, Maldives, Vietnam and Thailand. Our holiday destination was their resort on Yao Noi island at the beautiful Phang Nga Bay between Phuket and Krabi in southern Thailand. Most of the 50+ villas are located on a hilltop and gives the guests complete privacy and a sense of relaxed luxury with private pool and complete comfort.

Head chef is Anthony Reynolds with past experience in places like Le Gavroche in London, and he oversees the three restaurants on the resort. 'Living Room' serves a variety of dishes in an informal "al fresco" setting. This is also the venue where the massive and great breakfast is served every morning. 'Dining Room' serves organic european cuisine in a fine dining setting and finally 'Hilltop Reserve' with its amazing view over the bay and the main property pool.

They also have some visiting chefs from time to time. Only two weeks after we left the island Magnus Nilsson from the famous Fäviken Magasinet in northern Sweden was doing a guest appearance. Do I need to explain how bummed I was that I missed that?
Overall the standards of the food were very high and they had a good wine list to dig in to.
Various gardens are scattered around the place where they grow herbs and vegetables for their dishes. They even have their own mushroom hut.
They also collect rainwater that they filter and bottle to serve the guest, they ferment pineapple skins to use as a magical fertilizer in their gardens and the vegetable off-cuts are fed to the chickens that produce the tasty eggs that the guests eat for breakfast.
We definitely didn't walk around hungry during our stay and the service was throughout very attentive and warm.


Mushroom hut

Aloe vera, used in their after sun lotion

Day 1

A light lunch of steamed barramundi caught in the water outside the resort and served with green chilli seafood sauce.
The fish was steamed to perfection, juicy, soft and flaky. The sauce, eventhough containing chilli, didn't overpower the delicate fish. A great dish.

For dinner we went to the Dining Room.

A refreshing tamarind ice tea with a perfect balance between sweet and sour was served with the lemongrass towel as a welcome gesture. Now both my throat and hands were clean and ready for some food.

As an appetizer we were served a tuna tataki with asian pickled vegetables.

2011 Dog Point Chardonnay from Marlborough, New Zealand was my choice for the evening. Smokey aromas, roasted hazelnuts, matchstick and a massive minerality. Medium bodied with refreshing acidity and just a light touch of oak. The wine was very perfect with my two dishes.

Roasted cauliflower bisque with truffle, brown butter and apple.

Home made tagliatelle with roasted garlic and a selection of mushrooms grown on the resort.
Really good and rich but both dishes was a bit similar in their bold, creamy flavors. I could only blame myself who made the order.

Day 2

Chicken satay with peanut sauce and pickled cucumber. Compared to the one I'm used to from Indonesia, these skewers had an Indian seasoning that was very interesting and tasty as well.

Beef salad with chilli, mint, celery and shallots as a main course this lunch. Classic Thai flavors like lemongrass and ginger in the mix, pretty spicy but very good.

We started the dinner in our villa with some Serrano ham and olives. A half bottle of NV Grande Cuvée from Krug was our choice of aperitif. 
This truly is a great champagne packed with aromas of lemon confit, pineapple, roasted bread and elderberry. Creamy, rich taste with a long finish.

After this great little start we went to Hilltop Reserve restaurant for our dinner. This restaurant is beautifully located above the resort's main pool. Every alternate day they serve a theme menu and a la carte Thai food. This night it was the later. You choose four courses from the a la carte menu to make up your own set menu. We decided to skip dessert and pick four savory dishes. After a start of prawn crackers with home made ketchup my first course was served;

Crispy crab balls with mango salad. A pretty plain dish without that extra "something". The crab balls weren't really crispy and the salad was more of a dipping sauce.

'Tom yam gong' was my second choice. This classic soup was made to perfection according to my taste buds. I asked for medium spicy which was perfect, still spicy but bearable until the last sip and perfectly seasoned. Prawns and mushrooms were added but why do they never take out these big pieces of ginger, lemongrass and handful of lime leaves from the soup bowl? Who wants to chew on those?

Third serving was wok duck with Japanese onion, Thai chilli and tamarind sauce. Served with steamed rice this was a good dish.

Grilled pork spare rib was my last choice. Charcoal barbecued and marinated in five spice.
Finger licking good.
All the dishes were washed down with the famous Thai beer Singha.

Day 3

This was by far the best young coconut water I've ever tried. Naturally slightly sweet and very tasty. We drank it together with 'som tum gai yang', an amazing, barbecued, local chicken with green papaya salad for lunch. Fantastic!

In villa dining for dinner.
A juicy grass fed angus ribeye steak with potato fondant and red wine jus.

With the steak a beautiful bottle of 2009 Dominus from Dominus Estate in Napa Valley, California. One of the classic wines from the region made by the famous Christian Moueix. There's not a single drop of Merlot in this wine, the grape that made Monsieur Moueix famous with wines like Petrus and Trotanoy. Mainly Cabernet Sauvignon with 10% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. The wine has been matured in 40% new oak for 18 month.
The nose was initially very perfumed, elegant and a bit closed. Lacking a proper decanter I poured the wine in an ice bucket we had and one hour later the wine had truly blossomed. 
This is one of these wines you don't need to drink, just sniffing it for hours would have been enough.
The sweetest of blackcurrants and blackberries ( without being jammy) with a medium body and an already perfect balance in the mouth. Silky tannins and acidity well integrated with the juicy fruit. Superb.
Together with the first Rush Hour movie on the TV this was a great end of another fantastic day in the paradise.

Day 4

Lunch at The Den which is the resort's bar.
We ordered a massive seafood platter with crabs, oysters, lobsters, scallops, langoustines and local prawns, served with bread and various dipping sauces. In the glass a young, fresh bottle of 2011 Chablis from Domaine Francois Raveneau. Light and citrusy with notes of raw rhubarb, lemon, almond and chalk. A bit fatter and rounder in the mouth than on the nose with yellow plum, chervil and cream. A five star lunch an amazing setting.

The craving for something sweet was now big. So perfect then that they have an ice cream bar serving unlimited, home made ice cream for free just next to the bar.
I chose green tea and sesame. Both great.

After a fantastic massage at the spa we went back to Dining Room where we had our first dinner.
This time a mushroom soup was served as an appetizer.

We decided only to go for a main course since the big lunch was still making an impact on our appetite. 

The Austraian lamb rack on the menu looked tempting. Served with romanesco crust, melted leek and juniper jus. It was perfectly cooked and seasoned.

A bottle of fruit driven Shiraz was ordered. 2010 Bishop from Glaetzer in Barossa Valley, Australia. Berry compote, vanilla and mint chocolate, very typical for its style.
Not the most complex wine but it filled its purpose this evening and matched well with my lamb even though the length of the wine was a bit short.

Day 5

The last full day on Yao Noi we felt like exploring the island a bit.
After a morning in mud piles, rice fields and viewing the local villages on our rented ATV the hunger kicked in so we stopped at 'Je T'aime', a relaxed restaurant in the heart of the island. It's run by a Danish lady and her French boyfriend and the restaurant is ranked as number one on the island according to Tripadvisor. We had vegetarian spring rolls as a starter and 'Laab Moo' (spicy pork salad) and chicken green curry as mains. Simple and very good.

For the last dinner we went back to the bar The Den. We ordered 'Plaa Bplaa', tuna tartare marinated in lime, lemongrass, mint, chili and shallots, like a 'lab-salad'. It was good but a bit more seasoning wouldn't have hurt for this refreshing starter.

As a main course I chose 'Neua yang jim jow', grilled beef cubes with a dipping sauce. Perhaps the least favorite dish during our stay. A bit plain and boring.

As dessert we chose a fantastic mango sticky rice with coconut sorbet.

The night ended with a few mojitos with the charming chef Anthony. A well traveled and experienced chef who must have the best job in the world.
It truly wasn't easy for us to leave this amazing resort the morning after.

I can really recommend you to try this resort if you travel in the Phuket region and you will be amazed with the nature, professional and friendly service, food, and fantastic accomodation.