October 23, 2013

Restaurant: Who is Mr French?

Gorgeous waterfront promenade... Mr French can be seen on the right.
(EDIT: click here for new blog post about the restaurant- after renovation) This past spring there was a piece of news that hit like a thunderbolt among people working in the Stockholm restaurant world... "Pontus by the Sea", long a mainstay restaurant in Gamla Stan, had been sold. Who bought it? What were they going to do? It wasn't long until we found out that the new name for the restaurant would be "Who is Mr French?". Does that mean they will be serving French cuisine? Why the mystery? And who exactly is this Mr French character?
Outdoor summer area with great views. (photo provided by Mr French)
You might wonder why there would be so much curiosity regarding the sale of a restaurant... after all, it isn't that strange that a restaurant is sold/bought. Well, it mostly has to do with the location. The restaurant has arguably the best location in Stockholm: right on the waterfront of Gamla Stan. The views of the boat-filled harbour from the restaurant are especially nice during the summer (they have a fantastic outdoor bar & lounge)... but during the winter they have the additional advantage of being located adjacent to the city's official Christmas tree.
Cozy indoors...
I was invited there last week for dinner as well as a meeting with their marketing director to hear about their concept and what they have planned for the future. The dinner was delicious... with a blend of French and American cuisines on the menu and a nice selection of shellfish. It was very interesting to hear about their concept and grand plans. When Mr French purchased the restaurant, it was just a few weeks ahead of the busy summer season. They didn't have enough time to make the changes they wanted to in the locale before summer kicked off. So they refurbished the outdoor area first and this winter (January & February, 2014) they will close for a complete change to the indoor area. Can't wait to see how it will look! When they reopen, they will announce the name of the owner (a secret so far) and the restaurant will change its name to just Mr French.
Gamla Stan waterfront with the official Christmas tree (last year).
Another one of their plans is to really build up their cocktail business by hiring some of Sweden's best bartenders and creating an innovative cocktail menu. In the meantime, they will be open as usual this autumn and will be serving the traditional Christmas buffet (julbord) during the month of December. With the restaurant's proximity to the Christmas market in Gamla Stan, it is the perfect place to end a day of Christmas-y activities. It is an easy 15-20 minute walk to the restaurant, through Gamla Stan, from the Rival Hotel. I will be sure to write about the restaurant after their reopening in March! Click here for my collection of restaurant recommendations/reviews.

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