Yet again they get my taste buds going and tease the palate. The light carrot and foie gras macaron disappears in my mouth and explodes in a sweet and intense livery flavor. A technically brilliant reconstruction of the classic “vichyssoise” is hidden under generous shavings of Tasmanian truffle. To wash this down with a glass of champagne is pure entertainment for the mouth.
This was my 10th visit to Frantzén/Lindeberg. The restaurant that has hooked me in every possible way during the last 1,5 years. I am not involved professionally with food or the restaurant industry and I don’t dare to tell anyone how something should taste. I am happy though to tell anyone how something can taste and most of my references to ingredients and produce come from this small restaurant situated in Stockholm Old Town.
I spent this evening in the open kitchen counter as one of four guests watching closely and in detail how each dish is being prepared and plated. We were presented a 6.9 kilo turbot to be enjoyed later on while the prologue continued with ”tomato water” made out of 30 different kinds of tomatoes. An oyster had been cooked in its shell and was served with frozen gooseberries and Jersey-cream flavored with juniper, elderflower and a touch of walnut oil. Lovely fresh and clean flavors, all the way.
I have learnt a lot from Björn Frantzén and Daniel Lindeberg during the last year. I have watched in detail how they kill fish using the Ike Jime method but most importantly learned why it is killed this way. I have met with their passionate gardener outside Stockholm who let me taste the most amazing vegetables. They have told me about their own pigs, fed on buttermilk, apples and a nice cup of warm herbal tea in the morning. They taught me why they transport langoustines from the North Sea to Stockholm in small individual compartments and I have seen the frustration in Björn and Daniels eyes when they found out that the fox ate up their chickens and immediately relegated the bird from the menu that season.
Still, they amaze and humble me every single time I visit the restaurant.
To follow I had an elegant piece of halibut aged for 12 days served on top of ducks egg and fresh Norwegian king crab, a result of extensive research for how to kill fish and how to handle it resulting in amazing texture and outstanding sweet flavor of the fish.
Next was one of the best wine pairings I have ever come across. The Don José Oloroso sherry from Sanchez Romate is served to baked bone marrow with Sevruga caviar, sour cream and smoked parsley. The sherry is literally taking the fatty, salty, smoky and sour flavors to a completely new level.
The same wine is also being served to a coal-flamed tartar of veal, tallow from an 11-year old milk cow, smoked eel and vendace roe – complex flavors in great synergy with each other.
A long-term signature dish at Frantzén/Lindeberg has been the Satio Tempestas – “flavours of the season”. This evening it consists of 37 ingredients, all carefully selected from the restaurants own gardens a few miles outside Stockholm. Björn Frantzén has taken exceptional care of each and every vegetable in order to enhance its natural flavor. It is a beauty – a masterpiece, really – topped with crispy fish scales and butter, with every bite being a treat of different textures and flavors. I can’t get enough of this, whether it is the winter-, spring-, summer- or autumn edition. Paired with 2009 Domaine Leflaive, Puligny Montrachet its “a dream come true”.
Bread is raising table-side in a small wooden box before being baked over open fire and served with just-churned butter in front of each guest’s eyes. The bread has a superb crust and gorgeous texture with the melting salted butter being absolutely lovely.
To follow a velouté of fried yellow onions, goat’s milk, almond and liquorice was served. With this dish Björn Frantzén demonstrates his unique skills for how to turn the simplest ingredients into something extraordinary. This is a “soup” being light and foamy, yet rich and packed full of flavor. Top drawer food.
Then there was a blue lobster cooked to 44 degrees served with girolles, apricot and Tasmanian winter truffle. The lobster had a beautiful texture and flavor, without a doubt some of the very best lobster I have ever tasted, with a fun take on components in girolles and apricot being very similar to each other in taste.
The turbot that was presented to us earlier was cooked whole for 4 hours and presented in two different servings. First, the skirts were served in a small bowl with only browned butter being very similar to crab meat in texture. A very delightful thing to eat.
For the second serving the turbot was served with white asparagus (baked for 3 hours) with pine, lemongrass and mint. The fish had an incredibly clean flavor and a beautiful texture, very similar to the lobster served earlier. These flavors worked very well with each other with the asparagus adding perfect little crisp to the dish.
Risottos are not usually served at Frantzén/Lindeberg but Sous-Chef Jim Löfdahl wanted us to try his version as a complimentary dish this evening. This was a true delight, perhaps one of the 2-3 best risottos I have ever had, with shavings of Tasmanian truffle and frozen foie gras that melted as soon as it hit the plate. I enjoyed each spoonful and was happy to drink 2004 Mascarello Barolo Monprivato to this dish.
Frozen lemon verbena was served to cleanse the palate.
I was anxious to try the 2001 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Cras, Ghislaine Barthod that maître d‘ Jon Lacotte showed me when I arrived. And this was a phenomenal wine with the 4-week old spring chicken from Bretagne. The chicken had a delicate flavor with juicy meat and a perfectly crispy skin. I also very much enjoyed how the butter, infused with roasted chicken stock and soy, worked with the cockscomb in this dish.
Moving on to desserts Pastry Chef Daniel Lindeberg had prepared an orgy of them this evening.
The balance of flavors was brilliant in the dessert made of beer, yeast and yolk from the first egg the hen ever lays with a raisin pure binding it all together. There was a “chocolate sauce”, made from cocoa beans and baked for 15 hours in the oven, served on top of Jersey milk ice-cream. I was impressed with the chocolate sauce, as it was extremely light but had an incredible depth of flavor. A sweet and sour variation of gooseberries was served before the most summery of summer desserts – strawberries and vanilla ice cream. The only difference being that the strawberries and vanilla ice cream tasting much more concentrated than it is possible to imagine.
Frantzén/Lindeberg only serves Chemex coffee which is clear, pure and flavorful in taste without any bitterness. Simply, it is delicious coffee to enjoy with some macarons after dinner.
To finish of the evening I was served a beer from the Mikkeller 黑 Black-series – a dessert on its own.
Compared to my first visit at this restaurant 1,5 year ago, which was a bit shaky, the duo of Björn Frantzén and Daniel Lindeberg has in a short period of time moved on to offering one of the very top food and restaurant experiences there is to find in the world today.
It is just a matter of time before they receive their third Michelin star and I am sure they will continue to climb on The Worlds 50 Best Restaurants list in 2013.
Thanks to all members of the Frantzén/Lindeberg team for a wonderful evening. I am counting the days to my next visit.
Address: Lilla Nygatan 21, 111 28 Stockholm, Sweden
Telephone: +46 (8) 20 85 80