June 26, 2015

Restaurants Esperanto, Råkultur and Shibumi

The building that houses all three restaurants, once a theatre.
Last week I was invited to a tasting tour of the restaurants Esperanto, Råkultur and Shibumi. Three restaurants, one building and one owner! I have visited Esperanto a couple of times and it is one of Stockholm's top restaurants... so I was eager to see/try the other two. All three restaurants are located in the same building (a former theatre), on different floors, in the downtown area. From the Rival Hotel, it is a 10-12 minutes by taxi or a subway ride to Rådmansgatan (green line).
The community table in Esperanto's French Summer Salon.
Esperanto is the flagship restaurant in this trio and has earned multiple awards. Besides having a star in the Michelin Guide, it has also been named best restaurant in Stockholm for several years now in the White Guide and ranked as 98th best restaurant in the world this year by Restaurant Magazine (guides/lists). They generally offer a 6 or 10 course tasting menu. The cuisine is New Nordic with a twist... the twist being head chef Sayan Isaksson's passion for Japanese cuisine (more evident in the other 2 restaurants). Traditionally Japanese ingredients (shiitake, daikon, miso, dashi, etc.) can be found in various dishes, married beautifully to local produce. This summer, between June 27th and August 4th, they close the main dining room. Instead they will be open in their lounge, which they call their French Summer Salon. Here they can take up to 16 guests, all sitting at a communal table. The cuisine has more French influences and they offer an a la carte menu with medium sized dishes that are made to be combined (2 to 3 dishes are recommended).
Indoor dining room at Råkultur and...
Esperanto and their summer salon are found on the first floor... and on the ground floor you will find Råkultur, their Japanese restaurant. Råkultur means "raw culture" and is a play on words and a reference to the raw fish used in their sushi and sashimi. The quality and creativity is on point and I can report that many Stockholmers consider Råkultur to have the city's best sushi. They do not accept reservations at Råkultur, with the exception of their Chef's Table, only drop-in guests. During the summer months, they move the restaurant to their outdoor terrace when the weather permits. Because of this, the Chef's Table isn't available. The terrace, with bar, is definitely a very nice place to spend a summer evening...
...outdoor summer terrace.
Shibumi is the newest star in the Esperanto constellation and has already garnered very positive reviews. Located in the basement level, this is their take on a Japanese food bar (an Izakaya). They serve Japanese cuisine, often utilizing local produce, in small to medium sized dishes (perfect to sharing). The restaurant is a bit shrouded in mystery... no sign out front, no obvious entrance and not much information on their website. But this just adds to Shibumi's mystique. When I was there we got to try tempura corn and grilled asparagus with a miso bearnaise. Very good...
Shibumi, their Japanese food bar.

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