The Flying Elk, Stockholm, Sweden, 2,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP (18-08-2019 by Nenad Jelisic)
A new Stockholm-restaurant-disappointment again, but it is not as big as the one with the Matbaren, Mathias Dahlgren at the Grand Hôtel, which got 1,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP on my last visit, the third visit. I think that the problem with The Flying Elk's low rating lies in the fact that Björn Frantzén's small restaurant empire has become too big too quickly. So fast big that Björn has transferred control and management of his new restaurants to significantly less talented part-owners/managers. Then, their poor management and control has led to that cooks, sommeliers and waiters have stopped caring or that they had employed the cooks, the sommeliers and the waiters who would absolutely not be employed. I assert this because Björn Frantzén, one of Scandinavia's absolute best chefs, would never allow that the food, the wines and the service would end up on this level, 2,0 NJP of 5,0 NJP. It is a pity that it is so as I wrote because Björn is really passionate about food and cooking and it proves his relatively short and very successful chef-history. Björn took his first steps as a cook through the practice at the restaurant Edsbacka krog (Edsbacka Wärdshus) in Sollentuna, Sweden. Then he worked among others at the restaurant Chez Nico (Nico Ladenis, London, UK, three Michelin stars) and the restaurant Arpege (Alain Passard, Paris, France, three Michelin stars). In 2008, together with pastry chef Daniel Lindeberg, he opened the restaurant Frantzén/Lindeberg in Stockholm. The following year, the restaurant got its first Michelin star and two years later it got its two Michelin stars. In 2013, Björn and Daniel went separate ways and the restaurant was renamed to Frantzén. In 2018, the Frantzén became Sweden's first restaurant to be awarded three stars in Guide Michelin. In 2019, Guide Michelin confirmed the restaurant's three star status. Today, besides The Flying Elk and Frantzén, Björn also runs Catering Frantzén, Studio Frantzén, Corner Club and Gaston vin. In addition to all this, Björn has managed to write a book together with Daniel Lindeberg, see above, (Frantzén/Lindeberg, 2012) and a book together with Göran Lager (The Flying Elk, 2016) and two own books (Glow with Björn Frantzén, 2014 and Björn Frantzén prepares food for peckish diabetics and other people, 2017). To achieve all this and be 42 years old is absolutely incredible.
The Flying Elk is furnished in English pub style, and is located at Mälartorget 15 in Gamla Stan in Stockholm. The restaurant was visited together with my ex-stepdaughter on March 13, 2019. The purpose of the visit, in addition to rate the restaurant, was to introduce my ex-stepdaughter to the wonderful food- and wine-world of high-class restaurants. But it was not at all what I had expected/planned, and I should have foreboded since the first signals that something is not right with The Flying Elk came a few days before the visit. I tried for over a week to get the restaurant's wine list emailed to me, but regardless of my repeated attempts I never got it. Then it continued with that there was no good sparkling wine (champagne) to order per glass when I would order an aperitif, food and wine for us. Then, we were not even close to finish the first dish, but regardless it, we got the second dish on our table and for it we got no new cutlery. Then, when we were done with the both dishes, we had to wait at least 40 minutes for the third dish. The first dish (NJP 5,0 of NJP 5,0) was scrumptious, see below. The second dish was too salty and due to that, or better to say just due to that, it got 2,5 NJP. The third dish was a little too fat and therefore it got 3,5 NJP. Note here that I love fat in the food, but only when the fat has something positive to contribute to the food. The fourth dish was fabulous, 5,0 NJP. Then it derailed again with the fifth dish due to that the cabbage salad with "yuzunette " was too acidic, and therefore the dish got 2,0 NJP. Here, I have to say that the French corn-fed chicken was perfectly roasted and that it without a cabbage salad with “yuzunette” would get 5,0 NJP. The sixth dish was very dangerous for the teeth due to the extremely hard caramelized roasted rye and therefore it got 0,0 NJP. Such a big mistake as that some of the restaurant's customers can lose parts of a tooth cannot happen in a kitchen that knows what it is doing. The wine package, which was suggested by the restaurant, was relatively good with and without the food (around 3,0 NJP). Observe that the points in parentheses show how well a wine suits a dish.
1. Gougéres; “beer cheese” and jalapeño, 5,0 NJP
2. Pan seared scallop “signature”; scrambled eggs, crispy potatoes, smoked brown butter, soy and freshly grated truffle, 2,5 NJP
3. Steak tartar; aged Parmesan, pickled white onion, crispy garlic, toasted almonds, Caesar aioli and gem lettuce, 3,5 NJP
4. Steamed cod “Jansson’s Temptation”; hash brown, caramelized onion, caviar and white wine sauce with preserved anchovy, 5,0 NJP
5. Roasted French corn-fed chicken; deep fried Hasselback potato, cabbage salad with “yuzunette”, toasted cashew nuts, miso beurre blanc, shiitake mushrooms, garlic grass and roasted garlic oil, 2,0 NJP
6. Eton mess ”marängsviss”; compote and sorbet of last year’s blueberries, lemon thyme mousse, Swiss meringue and caramelized toasted rye, 0,0 NJP
1. Domaine Pinson, Chablis Premier Cru, Mont-de-Milieu, 2016, France, 2,5 NJP (3,0 NJP)
2. Domaine Pinson, Chablis Premier Cru, Mont-de-Milieu, 2016, France, 2,5 NJP (3,0 NJP for the same wine that was drunk with the first dish)
3. Domaine J. Chamonard, Morgon, Le Clos de Lys, 2016, France, 2,5 NJP (3,0 NJP)
4. Pietradolce Archineri, Etna Bianco, 2016, Italy, 3,5 NJP (3,5 NJP)
5. Castell'in Villa, Chianti Classico, 2016, Italy, 3,0 NJP (0,5 NJP)
6. Domaine du Trapadis, Vin Doux Naturel, Rasteau Grenat, 2015, France, 4,0 NJP (2,0 NJP)
Dish No. 1
Dish No. 4
We felt very welcome when we entered the restaurant and so long a very nice and experienced waiter took care of us, we were very pleased with the service. However, during a period, a young and inexperienced waiter took care of us and then it was a pure chaos with the service. As I wrote above, I think the problem with The Flying Elk's low rating lies in the fact that Björn Frantzén's small restaurant empire has become too big too fast. Furthermore, I am convinced that Björn devotes almost all of his time and energy to retain his, so far Sweden's only, three stars (Restaurant Frantzén) in Guide Michelin. And to retain three stars in Guide Michelin is as equally difficult as get them. Last, but not least, I would like to say thanks to Björn for that he finally gave us (Sweden) a restaurant with three stars in Guide Michelin and also tell him that, if he wants to keep his little restaurant empire, he should find a much better restaurant manager and chef for The Flying Elk as well as a sommelier (or two) who knows exactly which wines are suitable for aperitifs and which wines are suitable for the food of all his restaurants.