Sunday, January 12, 2014

Frantzen & Lindeberg, Stockholm

Frantzen & Lindeberg – May 8, 2012, 17-course, 1900 sek

This was the last dinner in Stockholm in this trip. We were so eager to have an authentic fine dining and enjoyable meal after the previous night’s disappointing experience at F12.

Frantzen & Lindeberg is located in Gamla Stan (Old Town) on our way to F12. When we arrived at the location, an old man standing in front of the restaurant’s address asked us whether we were the party of three from NYC and took as to a place two doors away. We were seated in a room with three tables only. We later found out the section where we were dining was a later addition by the chefs Frantzen and Lindeberg after they felt the needs of expansion.

As soon as we were seated, we noticed there was a container with an unbaked bread loaf sitting inside. We were told this bread won’t be served until we finished all the appetizers. We started with amuse bush, then, appetizer, entries and deserts.

We had two Amuse Bouche served together, 1st one was “Vichyssoise with summer truffles” and 2nd one was “Carrot Macaron with Foie Gras.”  The 1st one was puff pastries with vichyssoise cream sandwiched in between layers and slices of truffle on top. Its appearance was as elaborate as its taste. The 2nd one was carrot flavored macaron with luscious foie gras cream sandwiched in between, another creative and harmonious work. This was the 1st time that I had a macaron as a savory.

Then, we started appetizers. 1st course - “Cottage Cheese of Goat Milk from Vihelmdals Dairy Cucumbers from Gotland & Olive Oil (Ivar Gunther).” Goat Cheese was a mild-taste type and cucumbers were fresh and crispy.
2nd course - “Oyster, Frozen Rhubard, Cream & Juniper.” Oyster was the Nordic type fresh and tasty, and frozen rhubard and juniper both added to the flavor.
3rd course - “12 days old Halibut “sashimi & Duck Egg & Crab." Sashimi was made out of baby halibut along with duck egg and lump crab meat. This dish was mildly spiced. It mainly used crumbled duck egg and crab to complement sashimi. Before the next course was served, our server made a performance for us. He used a special torch to brown and flavor the veal to be used in the 5th course. This char-coaled piece of veal then brought to the kitchen for further flavoring and preparation.
4th course - “Bonemarrow with Caviar & Smoked Parsley." Roasted bone marrow topped with caviar was served with pureed smoked parsley. Smoked parsley puree was a typical Nordic style preparation.
5th course - “Coal Flamed Veal Tartar, Tallow from 11 years old Milk Cow (Stina), Smoked Eel, Bleak Row (Persson Brothers)." Tallow is beef fat used in preparing for veal. The special premium brand name was indicated to show the restaurant only used the best quality ingredients. Bleak Row is the eggs from the whitefish bleak/vendace in golden orange color and has a mild and elegant flavor. It is a Swedish delicacy. Along with smoked eel, veal tartar 80% raw yielded a sophisticated taste. Up to this point, we have had all the appetizers. As promised, we were served with the freshly baked warm bread. In addition, our server started making manually churned butter. He joked that his right arm was stronger and bigger than his left arm because of this daily work out. The hand-made butter was really tasty.

We had some palate cleanser “Satio Tempestas – Bread and the 6th course.

As promised, we were served with the freshly baked warm bread. In addition, our server started making manually churned butter. He joked that his right arm was stronger and bigger than his left arm because of this daily work out. The freshly hand-made butter was really tasty. When we finished our first loaf of bread, our server brought over more bread and bone marrow flavored butter which was really one of a kind. My daughter can’t stop eating until there was the last piece left; she then signaled the serve to take the bread basket away.

6th course - “Yellow Onion, Goat’s Milk, Almond & Liqourice.” This course was served in four medium size cups. Each cup was partially filled up with an individual item. They were part of palate cleanser.

At this time, our server brought out a basket full of fresh vegetable so that we knew what we would be getting our salad soon.

7th course - “Diver Scallops, Truffle Pure & Bouillons.”  The scallops were served in two different styles, one is half broiled and the other is raw. The half broiled one was served on an open shell with a little bit of Italian cheese sprinkled on top. It reminded me of the grilled oysters in New Orleans. The other style was like tartar. Both were fresh and outstanding.

Then, we had an extra course not listed on the menu. It happened to be my favorite item during this trip. It was the raw lobster, flanked by two pieces of half-cooked potatoes, in cream sauce. Chef informed me the lobster used in this dish has to be from a specific oceanic region in Northern Ireland. Only lobsters from this region are considered good enough to serve raw. I was totally satisfied with this dish. I guessed I would have to come back this restaurant if I ever desire to have more.

Then, we had another round of palate cleanser “Janssons Temptation.

8th course - “Whole Turbot Baked for 4 hrs. White Asparagus Baked for 3 hrs with Pine, Lemongrass & Mint.” Slow-cooked fish always tasted tender. I wished that the restaurant had served more than one piece of white asparagus in my plate.

9th course - we had “Frozen Lemon Verbena” as palate cleanser before the meat dishes were served. It was so refreshing.

10th course - “13-Weeks Old Spring Dorper Lamb from Klasbo Farm (Ina Eriksson).” It was the baby lamb that you did not need a knife.

11th course - “Goatmilk Ice Cream with Grass Pure, Malt, Olive Oil & Hay ash.” Everything was edible and smooth.

12th course “Beer, Yeast & Yolk from the 1st Egg the Hen Warps.”

13th course - “Buttermilk & Roses, Hibiscus, Flowers & Jasmine Tea." This was a very visually presentable dish with beautiful floral items.

14th course - “Macarons.” We were served a few varieties of macarons.

After dinner, we were given the opportunity to visit the kitchen accompanied by one of the co-owners/chefs Frantzen. Its kitchen is definitely not large with about 8 hard working staff.

Chef Frantzen met Chef Lindeberg while they were both working together. Two decided at some point of their career they would like to open their own restaurant. When the little space used to be occupied by a restaurant name Mistral was available in the Gamla Stan, they thought it was perfect because they were not sure their restaurant would be a success or not. Later, they gradually acquired more space at the location two doors away and the location across the street mainly for the large group when business started growing.

Out of all the restaurants we have visited during this trip. We have voted that Frantzen & Lindeberg being the best and Matsalen being the 2nd. F&L is more creative than Matsalen. Unfortunately, the worst one is F12. We were actually disappointed on Noma. Noma does offer multiplicity of presentations with the themes of being natural, spare and environmental. But, it is novelty not fine dining. However, it did arouse the world’s interest to the Nordic cuisine which has its unique methods of preserving, pickling, being natural and being environmental. There is a Michelin 2 star restaurant Marea in NYC. It, like F&L, serves extensive varieties of seafood. Even though both are rated with Michelin two star, F&L is more refined and more creative.

We have spoken with quite a few chefs along this trip; many have expressed their opinion on Noma. In a way they are grateful for Noma’s pioneer on the Nordic cuisine becoming the worldly focus point. However, they also consider Noma’s status is overly hyped.

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