March 29, 2019

Restaurant at Fotografiska

In my last article, I wrote about the new "Truth is Dead" exhibition at the museum Fotografiska and I promised that in my next article I would write about my visit to their restaurant that evening. So, as promised! High quality restaurants inside museums has been a trend over the past few years, and the restaurant at Fotografiska is one of the best in this category. In fact, the restaurant was awarded "Best Museum Restaurant" in the world by Leading Culture Destinations in 2017. It has also been listed as one of the top 20 restaurants in Sweden over the past few years by White Guide.
Open kitchen
It is important to note that Fotografiska goes all out in incorporating the restaurant with the museum so that the museum has extended opening hours to coincide with the restaurant's hours... closing at 11pm on Sundays through Wednesdays and 1am on Thursdays through Saturdays. This means you can easily combine a visit to the exhibitions with dinner and/or drinks. Feels very civilized. The restaurant is located on the top floor of the museum, with great views of the harbor, so maybe take in one exhibition on the way to dinner and another on the way home?
First course
The philosophy of the restaurant is sustainable dining with a major focus on fruits and vegetables, using only the freshest seasonable, organic products. They turn the tables on the traditional menu concept where vegetables come as side dishes. At Fotografiska, you choose (if you wish) meat/fish as a side dish. When we dined there last week, both my friend and I did choose meat as a side dish though felt, in the end, that it really wasn't necessary. We would have been easily satisfied if we had just stuck to the plant based dishes. However, it is always good with the option for our dedicated carnivores out there!
Second course
There are set three, five and eight course menus to choose from or else you can choose dishes from an a la carte menu and mix and match the dishes as you desire. My friend and I did end up choosing the set three-course dinner, adding a meat dish each. The first course was potatoes prepared three ways with smoked sour cream, burnt butter and bleak roe. The second course was long-baked beetroot with potato puré and basil and, finally, for dessert we were served "last season's" berries with emmer wheat, salted caramel and goat milk sherbet. The whole meal was delicious, beautifully presented and creatively interesting.
During the daytime, there is a great café adjacent to the restaurant, which is perfect for lunch or just a coffee and snack. They also serve a very popular brunch on the weekends! Speaking of popular... booking a table in advance for dinner is highly recommended, as they are generally fully booked most evenings. You can book your table on their website and you can also choose the option of booking a visit to the exhibitions (at a discounted price) along with your table. Fotografiska is located on the northern waterfront of Södermalm, just a 15-20 minute walk from the Hotel Rival. They are doing some major construction in the Slussen area, but just follow the signs to get to Fotografiska. The closest subway/bus station is Slussen (10 minute walk from the museum).
Watching the ferries glide by on their way out to the Baltic
Click here for other restaurant recommendations and click here for other vegetarian restaurants in Stockholm.

March 20, 2019

"Truth is Dead" Exhibition at Fotografiska

This week I took a visiting friend to Fotografiska museum for her birthday dinner and a look at their new exhibitions. I will write about my visit to their wonderful restaurant in a coming article. But, as I just wrote about another restaurant in my last article, I thought I would start with the exhibition first. They have three ongoing exhibitions, but we concentrated ourselves on "Truth is Dead" by Alison Jackson (showing until May 19th.
"Truth is Dead" is an evocative and humorous, sometimes dark, look at celebrity culture. Jackson uses celebrity look-alikes posing in situations, which may seem outlandish at times but completely plausible at the same time... which says something about celebrity culture these days. I mean we have a former reality star as the president of the US and one of the most famous women in the world is known for, well, her large bottom. Our royals and politicians become celebrities and our celebrities become royals and politicians.
Many of the images push the boundaries of good taste, which adds to the humor, though I will admit that this exhibition might not be for everyone. In fact, while a couple of photos in this article might seem questionable to you... I did choose the more "family friendly" ones. Don't misunderstand me, they are more PG 13 (for light nudity and sexual situations) than R rated.
The look alikes Jackson uses are often spot on so that we found ourselves arguing which ones were real or not. We also found ourselves giggling and sometimes laughing out loud at the situations she photographed these celebrities in... Bragelina picking out babies, Prince William using a breastfeeding apparatus, Marilyn and JFK in an embrace, Kanye and Kim in the delivery room and Simon Cowell getting a "Brazilian". It truly is a devilish look at how we revere famous people these days.
Fotografiska is located on the northern waterfront of Södermalm, just a 15-20 minute walk from the Hotel Rival. The closest subway/bus station is Slussen (10 minute walk from the museum). One extra special aspect of Fotografiska is their generous opening hours, closing at 11pm on Sun-Wed and 1am on Thurs-Sat. They also have a café and award-winning restaurant on the top floor with views of the harbor... well worth a visit. I am heading off on a work trip but will write an article about the restaurant upon my return.
They are doing some major construction in the Slussen area. But just follow the signs, like the one above, to get to Fotografiska.

March 15, 2019

Restaurant Kvarnen

Yesterday I was invited, along with my colleagues at Les Clefs d'Or Sweden, to a dinner at the historic restaurant Kvarnen. The restaurant is located just a stone's throw from the square Medborgarplatsen on Södermalm... just about a 10-12 minute walk from Hotel Rival. Otherwise, the closest subway station is Medborgarplatsen (green line). The restaurant is steeped in history and is a great place to try traditional Swedish cuisine and feel some authentic "Söder" ambiance.
Part of main dining room.
Kvarnen means "the mill" in Swedish and the restaurant's name (originally Gråkvarn- "grey mill") was inspired by a mill which stood nearby until 1863. Södermalm is the largest of the 14 islands which make up Stockholm and, up until modern times, Södermalm was known as the working class district of the city. Gentrification during the last century turned the area into a more trendy, bohemian neighborhood... popular with artists and hipsters. Opened in 1908, the restaurant has kept to the working class history of the area with its beer hall atmosphere and hearty cuisine.
Kvarnen has lovingly kept the historical details of the interior and it looks much like it did back over a hundred years ago. The main dining room features features beautiful high windows, black & white checkered tiled floor and lots of interesting details and artwork. In the back, behind the main dining room, they have a great, rustic bar ("bakfickan") with Swedish and Czech microbreweries on tap. Kvarnen also has a chambre separée downstairs for private dining and events (up to 25 persons). 
4 types of herring
As I mentioned, Kvarnen serves traditional Swedish cuisine. About half of the menu is filled with traditional dishes and the other half is more modern dishes using seasonal Swedish ingredients. We were served 4 types of pickled herring for our starter and Swedish meatballs for the main course... all washed down with Swedish beer and traditional snaps. Hearty and delicious! Other classic dishes on their menu include fried herring, toast skagen, renskav (reindeer stew), grilled trout and cured salmon. Click here to find more restaurants in Stockholm which serve traditional Swedish cuisine and click here for other restaurant recommendations. 
Swedish meatballs.
A few interesting bits of trivia... Kvarnen attracts readers/fans of the Millenium book & film series as it is mentioned a few times as being the character Lisbeth Salander's favorite restaurant and bar. Another guest demographic is the fans of the local football club Hammarby and they can often be found here before and after matches, dressed in green & white. Finally, Kvarnen shares a history with another historic restaurant, Källaren Hamburg, which was once located close by (Kvarnen took over their liquor license when Hamburg closed in 1908). Källaren Hamburg was around as far back as the 1640's and was where criminals, sentenced to death, were infamously allowed one last shot of snaps as they were taken to the gallows nearby. 

March 9, 2019

J. Lindeberg Concept Store

J. Lindeberg is one of Sweden's best known fashion labels and one of my personal favorites. They brilliantly combine fashion and sportswear along with Swedish sensibilities and design. The label contains (besides sportswear separates) shoes, outerwear, jeans, suits, accessories and more. I have always liked their clean lines, high quality, sporty design and great colors.
There are a few J.Lindeberg boutiques in Stockholm, including the flagship store in the fashion district of Bibliotekstan and in the department stores NK and Åhlens City. However, if you are staying at the Hotel Rival, you don't have to go far to shop for J. Lindeberg fashion. We have a J. Lindeberg Concept Store just around the corner from the hotel. Located just next to the pedestrian street Götgatan, it takes about 7-8 minutes to walk there. On Götgatan you also have quite a few stores, so you can easily spend the afternoon doing a round of shopping.
Recently renovated, the store has a beautiful, clean design which shows off the clothes wonderfully. I had a nice chat with Rebin, the boutique manager, who explained how the store focuses on world class service with many modern finesses. Retail meets the future! The store also hosts private and public events. If you see a Swede walking around looking effortlessly fashionable, chances are they are wearing J. Lindeberg. Stop by the Concept Store and soak up some Swedish fashion.

March 6, 2019

White Guide 2019- Stockholm's Best Restaurants

Cover of the new White Guide (press image)
This is the time of the year when all of the restaurant guides come out. I have already written about Gulddraken and Michelin Guide, now it is time for the White Guide. This is a Swedish guide that tests around 700 restaurants all over Sweden each year. They hand out several individual awards, like "best newcomer" and "best service", but they also have a list where the best restaurants are ranked. As it is all in Swedish, I thought I would report on how the restaurants located in Stockholm fared this year. It is fun also to compare the guides. You can check all the awards here and the full ranking list here. Here are the Stockholm restaurants who nabbed an award and made the list:

Best Restaurant (restaurant culture)- Frantzén (also Sweden's only three star restaurant in the Michelin Guide)
Best Newcomer- Etoile
Best Service Experience- Frantzén

Press image from restaurant Frantzén.
Ranking (number in paranthesis is their ranking on the list of all restaurants in Sweden):

Global Masterclass
At Fotografiska
Curious which restaurant is ranked best in Sweden? Fäviken Magasinet up in northern Sweden came in at number one. A bit of a trip from Stockholm, but well worth a visit for foodies if you are in Sweden. Click here for more restaurant guides. If you are staying at the Hotel Rival and need any help making reservations or want more recommendation and/or advice, contact me directly.