2011 Dhondt-Grellet Premier Cru Blanc de Blancs
Beer-cooked King Crab – Trout Roe washed in Sake, Crown Dill, Aspic
Macaron – Carrot, Foie Gras, Licorice, Preserved Lemon
Yuba – Pickled Cucumber, Cauliflower, Glazed Eel
Raraka – Vendace Roe from Kalix
Artichoke – Preserved Truffle, Aged Cheese
Crudo – Blue Fin Tuna Otoro, Purple Radish, Myoga, Horseradish, Salted Tomato Vinaigrette
Deep fried Langoustine – Crispy Koshihikari Rice, dried Green Onions, Emulsion of Clarified Butter with Ginger
Roasted Scallop, Sea Urchin XO, Finger Lime, Chrysanthemum, Spruce Shoots
Chawanmushi – Frantzén Prestige Osetra Caviar, Aged Pork Broth, Pork Rind
Roasted Guinea Fowl – Aurelie Billaud Homemade Butter, Blond Miso, Vin Jaune, Walnuts, Smoked Morel
Bitter and Pickled Greens – Homage Satio Tempestas, Crunchy Fish Scales, Warm Infusion, Whipped Buttermilk, Mortared Herbs
Onion, Almond, Licorice
Aged Spring Lamb – Saddle, Purple Oxalis, Spring Peas, Aged Lamb Fat, Cepes
Aged Spring Lamb – Rib, Flowers, Soy Glaze, Truffle Tofu, Pickled Mushrooms
Tea, Milk, Honey
Pedro Ximinez El Maestro Sierra
Snickers – Crème Caramel, Foie Gras, Candied Peanuts, Pedro Ximinez
House fermented Cider, Buckwheat
Sorbet – Charantais Mellon, Vin Jaune, Olive Oil
Fruit – Gariguette Strawberry, Chamomile, Tellicherry Peppercorn
Macarons – Strawberry Marmalade, Rose, Pink Peppercorn / Miso, Hoshigaki, Pistachio / Saffron, Date, Cinnamon / Chocolate – 64%, Pork Blood, Lingonberry / 45% Caramelized Hazelnut, Mushroom / 32% Tarragon, Grapefruit / Confection – Fermented Garlic Fudge / Arctic Bramble Jelly / Green Apple, Chamomile, Lemon Verbena Marmalade / Mums Mums / Brown Cheese Fudge
Madelines – Cardamom, Beurre Noisette
Having booked a trip to Stockholm before Björn Frantzén re-opened his eponymous Restaurant it was with good fortune and a bit of planning that a seat was secured for lunch on Saturday, the former two-Michelin-starred space in Gamla Stan giving way to three-stars at Klara Norra Kyrkogata 26 after a substantial outside investment that has many traveling gastronomes suggesting it may just be the best meal available in the world today.
Set amidst three stories not far from Central Station, the lower level lobby staffed by a pleasant young woman a somber space of wood and tile with floor-to-ceiling displays of aging Meats, it is after a short discourse that guests are invited to ascend an elevator where AC/DC’s Back In Black starts in response to the push of a button, perfect timing seeing the doors open up to Frantzén’s “Family Room” just after the opening line and a second round of welcomes soon offered by one of several servers and managers.
Designated as a 3,000 SEK Tasting Menu occurring across two floors and nearly four hours, Beverages offered at an additional cost including brisk house Champagne that has been on Frantzén’s menu since the beginning, it is seated in one of several custom made chairs that diners begin their experience while peering out on the Stockholm skyline, opening nibbles including a few classics such as Björn’s Foie Gras Macaron following shredded King Crab in a crisp Shell progressing to bites including Eel, traditional Swedish Vendace Roe and the Guy Savoy-reminiscent Artichoke, Truffle, and Cheese Soup.
Rightly proud to offer world class ingredients in a space Chef Frantzén has described as his “dream” Restaurant, a lengthy description of each taking place before guests are led to a dining room built for two-dozen with the majority wrapped around an open kitchen, it was with remaining Champagne inexplicably not transported from one room to the next that a seat was taken and napkin unfolded, the first course quick to arrive featuring pristine Tuna Belly in a crystal bowl topped with cups of Radish and kissed with Ginger and Horseradish.
Taking a Japanese approach to the first several dishes of the kitchen menu, a Rice-Flour crusted Langoustine intended to be dipped into a duo of Sauces achieving remarkable results by way of both texture and flavor, it was in follow-up that a toasted Scallop set amidst spicy Sauce, Spruce and Citrus proved more ‘interesting’ than outstanding, the Egg Custard arriving shortly thereafter expectedly more delicious thanks to a light smokiness beneath the mound of Caviar, though serving a Chicharrón on the side “for texture” seemed an easy way out compared to finding a way to incorporate such into the plate.
Not the sort of degustation that ever seems to lag, an ability to watch the kitchen’s every move paired with tableside preparations and continuous staff interaction creating a comfortable flow which never seems stuffy or insincere, it was after the second time Still was mistaken for Water with Gas that the hung Guinea Fowl from Frantzén’s lobby made an appearance, its preparation over leaping flames yielding crisp Skin and supple Flesh complimented by Morels, Walnuts and umami-heavy Sauce.
Stepping back from Proteins to serve two conceptual classics, Björn’s version of “a walk through the Garden” or whatever the kitchen chooses to call it a highly aromatic bowl given brightness by Buttermilk, it was in the pairing of Onion, Almonds and Licorice that has not left the menu “since day one” that the day’s final savory was set up, local Lamb first presented as a rare Saddle amidst Spring Vegetables and then as a sticky Rib returning to the Asian flavor profile that began the meal.
Taking just one Dessert in the kitchen, a large scoop of Earl Grey Ice Cream atop a crisp disk floating on Honey Pudding, it was upon returning to the Family Room that guests were offered digestifs along with “Extra Desserts” and Mignardises as listed on a menu given alongside the check, most simple yet well executed save for Frantzén’s Foie Gras “Snickers” paired with a 60 SEK sip of Pedro Ximenez which eats more like Crème Caramel than similar “Candybar” dishes seen elsewhere.
Doing away with the Rubik’s Cube sited as a copied idea by some, a tableside cart instead delivering more Chocolates and Confections highlighted by Garlic Fudge and a particularly rich Truffle fortified with Pigs Blood, it was along with Coffee that that warm Madelines given a Swedish spin by Cardamom rounded out the afternoon, a “no expense spared” experience that aims for perfection and does not miss by much.