Sunday, January 10, 2016

Authentic Swedish

Hammarby, Stockholm, January 10, 2016—
YES, ANOTHER RESTAURANT proudly announcing itself as authentically Swedish. So the host informed us, as if to be sure we would not be dissatisfied when the menu arrived.

It was printed on a single sheet, old-time brasserie style, and in fact the open plan, the dark panelling on the walls, the restricted menu all suggested that was what we were going to deal with: another brasserie. Which is always fine with me.

We began with a very nice little mixed salad: red pepper, cherry tomato, iceberg lettuce, cucumber, a little onion, all in a cider-vinegary vinaigrette. Very nice.

My companion went on to meatballs; I couldn't resist the tartare. It arrived in a version perfectly traditional but for one thing: a couple of spoonfuls of diced beets. I quickly ate them first, lest they contaminate the rest of the plate, and then mixed up the rest of my plate with knife and fork: chopped raw beef; an egg yolk; capers; shallots; chives; mustard; horseradish; salt and pepper.


It was a delicious tartare. The beef was sweet and not super-tender; it had what the critics call a great mouth-feel, substantial and lasting. The condiments also had good flavor — well, not the beets, but they were by now hors de combat. The host admitted that tartare might not be an authentically Swedish dish, you find it everywhere, but it is very popular in Sweden, so perhaps we can let that stand.

Snaps, Roslags Sailing (herbal, smooth);
Côtes du Rhône, Bonpas, Don Alfant, nv
•Restaurang Kvarnen, Tjärhovsgatan 4, Stockholm; 08-643 03 80
Restaurants visited in 2015 are listed at Eatingday's Restaurants

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