Ekstedt, Stockholm, Sweden, 2,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP (2020-10-17 by Nenad Jelisic)
Restaurant Ekstedt was the fourth restaurant in a row in Stockholm that NJ Wines visited and rated. Restaurant Ekstedt is owned by one of Sweden's most successful and influential chefs, Niklas Ekstedt, who became known through the cooking program Niklas Food on Swedish Television in 2005. After internships at several very famous chefs such as Charlie Trotter, Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adrià, Niklas started in 2000, only 21 years old, his first restaurant, restaurant Niklas in Helsingborg in Sweden. From 2003, he also ran the restaurant Niklas Viken in the coastal community Viken north of Helsingborg. In 2007, Niklas opened the restaurant 1900 in Stockholm and with the move, the restaurants in Skåne were closed. In 2011, he opened the restaurant Ekstedt, which got a star in the prestigious Michelin guide in 2013 and has been retained it since then. A few years later, the restaurant 1900 was changed its name to Restaurant Niklas and then it was closed in 2017 when Niklas decided that he had to focus on his new restaurant (wine café) Tyge & Sessil and the restaurant Ekstedt. Since the beginning of 2018, Niklas owns restaurant Hillenberg in Stockholm. During 2018, Niklas was part of the cooking program "Four Hands Menu" and "New Scandinavian Cooking". He has also published seven cookbooks: Niklas cookbook (2004), Niklas in the middle of the week (2006), Niklas tastes (2008), Niklas Home cooked Swedish food (2011), Grill with Niklas (2013), Ekstedt over open fire: recipe for the analog kitchen (2017) and Niklas Christmas (2018). In addition to these seven cookbooks, he managed to write three more cookbooks with Henrik Ennart: Happy food: About how food and happiness are connected (2017), The blue food (2018) and Happy food 2.0: About how the meal and happiness go together (2018 ) and a cookbook together with Christian Daun: My child eats everything (2017). Niklas really has to like his profession a lot otherwise he would never succeed to do all this in just 41 years.
The restaurant seats 50 people and the interior is characterized by different Swedish wood species, leather, brass and white tile. Dimmed lighting and the open fires contribute to a calm atmosphere. The restaurant prepares all its food on an open fire, i.e. everything, which is served, has been in contact with flames, in smoke, on embers or indirectly via the cast iron. To contribute to different taste and aroma experiences, one fires with different Swedish woods, hay, twigs from currant bushes, etc.
To start in chronological order, I have to start with the reception of us (me and my girlfriend) when we entered the restaurant. We did not feel very welcome, I felt like we were trying to break into someone's living room. And it seems that the vast majority of restaurants in Stockholm, and throughout Sweden, have problems with reception of guests. After a half-hearted reception, we were offered to sit at the "Chef's table" which we gladly accepted. To see how the chefs make the food is probably liked by everyone who likes food. Thanks to the fact that we sat where we sat, I soon noticed that all ingredients were already prepared, and it was only necessary to fry or smoke or do something else with them using the fire. It was disappointing to see it, but I understand that it would be impossible to do everything in such a small kitchen. The situation in the small kitchen is definitely not improved by when all guests who visit the restaurant are offered a guided tour through it. Here I must be honest and say that both I and especially my girlfriend really liked that we got such an opportunity. In addition, wow, we got the opportunity to meet the genuinely nice owner Niklas there.
The restaurant was visited on March 11, 2020. Then, and the same applies now, you could/can choose between two menus so-called "A taste of Ekstedt"; 3-course menu or 6-course menu. We chose the 6 course menu with a wine package adapted to the menu of the restaurant. After the half-hearted reception, the situation definitely did not improve by the fact that we got a flat and between 15 and 20 degrees warm champagne, which we had ordered as an aperitif. When I informed one of the waiters about the problem, we got two new glasses/champagnes, but no one in the restaurant found reason to apologize for what had happened. The strange thing was also that when I asked the different waiters who is the restaurant's sommelier, I got the same answer that all the waiters were it.
As an aperitif before the six course menu, we drank Champagne Vadin-Plateau Renaissance Premier Cru Extra Brut NV. It got 2,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP and did not fit at all as an aperitif because it lacked complexity, balance and good acidity. During the dinner, in addition to the six dishes we ordered, we got six small surprises (small dishes). One of the small dishes was the West Coast (Sweden) oysters that were drip anointed with melting beef fat and served with small apple pieces and cress leaves. The dish was experienced as stale and strange and therefore it got 1,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP. The remaining five small dishes got between 2,5 NJP and 5,0 NJP. Three of dishes (dish number 3, 4 and 5) got 5,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP, i.e. they were fabulous. When it comes to dish number 5, cold-smoked reindeer saddle, spruce and pear, I must say that I have eaten reindeer meat very many times, but this reindeer meat was the best I have eaten in my entire life.
Below you can see a summary of what dishes we ate and what wines we drank with them during the dinner, and what points the dishes and wines got. Note that the points in parentheses show how well a wine matched with a particular dish.
1. Birch fired kohlrabi, langoustine and rhubarb, 3,0 NJP
2. Charcoal cabbage, cream and shallots, 2,0 NJP
3. Ember baked scallop, chantarelles and sugar kelp, 5,0 NJP
4. Juniper smoked cod, ramson capers and leek, 5,0 NJP
5. Cold smoked reindeer saddle, spruce and pear, 5,0 NJP
6. Wood fired oven baked forest soufflé, birch ice cream and blueberry, 3,0 NJP
1. Gut Oggau, Rosé, 2018, Austria, 3,5 NJP (2,5 NJP; was drunk with dish number 1 and 2)
2. Mazière, C13, 2013, France, 0,5 NJP (was not drunk with food)
3. Királyudvar, Tokaji Furmint, Sec, 2016, Hungary, 2,0 NJP (2,0 NJP; was drunk with dish number 3)
4. Lulu Vigneron, Cotes du Jura, Savagnin, 2015, France, 3,5 NJP (3,0 NJP; was drunk with dish number 4)
5. Domaine Rouchier, La Chave, Saint-Joseph, 2017, France, 2,0 NJP (4,5 NJP; was drunk with dish number 5)
6. Aleatico Passito di Toscana, Massa Vecchia, 2010, Italy, 3,0 NJP (2,5 NJP; was drunk with dish number 6)
Dish No. 4
Dish No. 5
Dish No. 6
That the restaurant did not get more than 2,5 NJP out of 5,0 NJP is due to: 1. We did not feel very welcome when we entered the restaurant, I felt like we were trying to break into someone's living room. 2. We got a flat and between 15 and 20 degrees warm champagne, which we had ordered as an aperitif. When I informed one of the waiters about the problem, we got two new glasses/champagnes, but no one in the restaurant found reason to apologize for what had happened. 3. That all waiters claimed that they are sommelier. 4. That the wines without the food got an average rating of 2,4 NJP of 5,0 NJP. 5. That the wines with the food got an average rating of 2,4 NJP of 5,0 NJP. and 6. That the toilets were worn and unclean.
Of the four visited and rated restaurants in Stockholm, Sweden, so far, Ekstedt is now with its 2,5 NJP of 5,0 NJP in the second place after the first placed Veranda, Grand Hôtel that got 4,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP and before the third placed The Flying Elk that got 2,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP and the fourth placed Matbaren, Mathias Dahlgren, Grand Hôtel that got 1,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP.