October 25, 2015

Bistro Rival - A Classic Södermalm Restaurant

Bistro Rival... pre service!
Over the past few years I have reported on many of my restaurant visits throughout Stockholm... but it is only fair that I write a report on a recent dinner I had at the hotel's own restaurant: Bistro Rival. My cousin was visiting from out of town, so I treated her to an evening in the Bistro. I suppose I don't have to report on how to get to the restaurant from the Rival Hotel like I do in other reviews? Well, at any rate, it is located on the first floor of the hotel with views of the Mariatorget square in front of the hotel. The restaurant also has a balcony which is open during the summer months and is perefect for dining al fresco.
Red velvet booths along one wall with movie star card artwork.
Close up of the artwork.
The Rival Hotel is in a building that once housed a movie cinema. These days the cinema itself is a popular theatre and the hotel has used its cinematic history as a theme for the hotel and adjacent public areas like the restaurant and bars. For example, our Cocktail Bar used to be the popcorn concession stand for the cinema. In the Bistro this is evident with a lot the decor... from the red velvet booths to the artwork and design touches. For example, on one wall the artist Carouschka Streijffert has created an artwork made up of hundreds of movie stare cards. In the US people collect baseball cards, but here in Sweden we used to collect and trade cards with movie stars on them!
We love an open kitchen... dinner with a show.
Our head chef is Håkan Carlsson. As I write this, he is actually preparing for the quarter finals of the prominent competition "Årets Kock 2016" (chef of the year- 2016). We are keeping our fingers crossed that he makes it all the way to the finals! Håkan told me that his philosophy is to use Swedish, especially locally produced, ingredients as much as possible and that he aims to have a vibrant and creative kitchen. This means that the menu has Swedish cuisine using seasonal ingredients. The entire menu can be seen on the website which you will find on the right hand side as you scroll down.
Löjrom (bleak roe) from Vänern with accoutrements...
...and Jerusalem artichoke soup with seared scallops.
My cousin started with bleak roe from Vänern and I opted for the soup with Jerusalem artichokes from Tollby Gård and seared scallops and autumn truffles. A great start! For our main courses my cousin had the pan fried hake from Skagerak with chanterelle mushrooms and baked beets and I had the wild duck from Österlen served with rillettes of duck leg and fried brussel sprouts. All of it was very autumnal and delicious. Instead of dessert we decided to take an after dinner cocktail from the bar, sitting in the entrance foyer to do some people watching. I should definitely mention that the Rival bartenders are great and have a drink list with some amazing signature cocktails. In fact, the bar was recently named as one of the top 5 hotel bars in Stockholm!
The hake with chantarelle mushrooms...
...and the wild duck.
The Bistro Rival is a very popular restaurant with locals and not only hotel guests, This is especially true on evenings when we have shows in our theatre. Then the restaurant can be particularly busy with guests eating dinner before the start of the show. It is therefore always smart to book your table ahead of time, either on our website or by sending an e-mail to bistro@rival.se. The restaurant is open every evening, 365 days a year. There is also a popular brunch served on most Sundays. So popular that it requires booking a table at least two weeks in advance!
Hotel lobby with stairs leading past the Cocktail Bar to the Bistro.
Cocktails with a view... 

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