What is a prologue and what purpose does it serve?
It can be a speech addressed to the audience by an actor at the beginning of a play or an introduction to a literary work, an opening move that is supposed to tease you and get you going.
Visiting Frantzén/Lindeberg yet another time I quickly found out that they had decided to take the meaning of “prologue” to a completely new level. These six pieces of one bite amuse-bouches did not only confirm that the restaurant had kick-started its business after the summer break, it confirmed that the race is on.
Frantzén/Lindeberg has turned up their ambitions another notch.
Complicated in planning and design, involving so many carefully arranged details, these were bites of rich and wonderfully complex flavors. Each one of them arranged á la minute of course, like everything else in this kitchen.
Not very surprisingly, though having visited this restaurant more times than any other, I couldn’t stop help thinking: “What will happen next!?”
And what has happened during the summer break? The old wine cellar and dining room has been converted into a kitchen. A langoustine aquarium has been installed, there is a new patisserie and an open meat-aging fridge has been built in the window facing the street. An open grill and a rotisserie have been built in the open kitchen.
Yes, it’s a wet dream for any chef. And will most definitely scare the shit out of any restaurant having ambitions in Stockholm.
Moving on to the rest of the food this evening some of the dishes was familiar, some was not. This time I have chosen to highlight some of them, as it has to be counted as some of the very top notch food there is to find in a restaurant today.
I was happy to see the langoustine back on the menu – straight out of the langoustine aquarium. Frantzén/Lindeberg transport them from the North Sea packed in small individual compartments made to mimic the natural cavities in which they live during the day. This minimizes stress to the langoustine and keeps the animal as close to its natural environment as possible. It is presented live for each guest to study before being killed, just moments before it hits the plate, and served raw in order to maintain the natural shellfish sweetness.
I have tried this several times from the first version with only sea salt and lemon added to this version with melting pig’s fat, fennel, dill, cream, Finnish caviar and the essence of a freshly squeezed apple. It is an outstanding serving of shellfish. The texture and sweet flavor of the langoustine is beautiful, the pigs fat and fennel working very well together, the cream adding richness and the caviar somehow binding it all together with the freshness of the freshly squeezed apple.
Next was a fired sourdough pizza served with a puree of chanterelles in the bottom, pickled spruce shoots, fried and dried chanterelles and a melting goat’s cheese from Vilhelmsdal in south Sweden. With the Done José Oloroso sherry from Sanchez Romate in the glass I simply can’t stop thinking of this dish where the simple is turned into something extraordinary.
The coal fired tartar that is becoming a signature dish in this kitchen was presented in perhaps the best version ever. The topside from lamb was used and mixed with lamb gravy spiced with cumin. On the side there was a sheep’s milk yoghurt perfumed with lavender, crispy fat from the lamb, browned butter, goat’s cheese and a smoked puree of eggplant. This had all components of a great dish being rich, yet fine and delicate.
A little later something happened in the kitchen that caught my attention. What was going on? A fragrance spread all over the restaurant and when inhaling it my mouth flood with saliva. I couldn’t figure out what it was until Chef Oskar showed us.
Sweetbread. Fried and basted in butter. It had been poached in hay earlier and was served with grilled Matsutake mushroom, fresh hazelnuts, hazelnut oil, a few onion flowers and a burnt béchamel sauce. Picture the most amazing crispy exterior on the sweetbread with a soft and tender interior. The Matsutake with its unique flavor, odor and beautiful texture. The burnt béchamel sauce lifted all the flavors. The fresh hazelnuts made the textural balance complete. I doubt this could be taken any further. It was elegant and intelligent. One of the very best dishes I have had from this kitchen. This is top drawer food.
As usual I feel a tremendous satisfaction after having visited this restaurant. I feel humbled and amazed. Curious to find out what will happen next time I come here.
If they continue down this path, the ultimate and highest recognition in the culinary world will soon come.
Address: Lilla Nygatan 21, 111 28 Stockholm, Sweden
Telephone: +46 (8) 20 85 80