About a month ago, one of my friends pointed me to Frantzén in Stockholm. It is currently listed as nr. 12 in the world and he managed to get a reservation for 5 people total. I had never heard of it, but the introduction movie on their website was pretty awesome. My first impression was “a better Noma”. This may sound funny and/or arrogant, since Noma was listed as the best restaurant in the world when we went there (and is currently ranked second). But we were a bit disappointed because our high expectations weren’t met. Noma works with “pure”, local products, but for me some dishes lacked sufficient flavor & seasoning.
Having never been to Stockholm, and always up for some culinary goodies, I didn’t hesitate.
So without further ado, here’s the review (all of the pictures or by me or one of my friends who had better lighting.
This is how we were greeted inside. Not an eloborate description of every dish waiting for us, but we didn’t mind being surprised by some mystery awesomeness.
Part 1: Canapé (Fingerfood)
An epic start. We all agreed we could these eat little snacks ’till we were full. In the meantime, one of the waiters (or chefs, sorry if you’re a chef!) started the preparation of the sashimi dish we would later get.
He seared a piece of raw lamb to get the crunchy outside we all love while keeping the inside raw, as you would want for sashimi.
I used to not like raw oysters, but that’s changed thanks to dishes like this, which feature the pure oyster flavor combined with some more known and liked flavors. Yum!
It’s not always easy to remember every dish 🙂 Without an elaborate description on paper by the restaurant itself, all I have are these pictures. I do remember it’s base was a firm mousse and you were supposed to just eat it with your hands. And I’m pretty sure it was also delicious!
Next up was a dish featuring raw horse meat! A sickening thought for some people, but luckily for us, eating horse meat is pretty normal in Belgium. And it even tastes good.
Part 2: Appetizer
I don’t even remember the exact ingredients, so I can’t say much about it. Except that it was yummy in my tummy.
Part 3: Sashimi
This tasted amazing. The searing of the meat added a nice flavor and the combination with the goat cheese, aubergines and something that could be fried onions (but probably a little more sofisticated) was good shit. Would eat again.
Part 4: “Bread”
I was pretty excited about the quotation marks around bread. As the waiter explained, they used to serve bread (and it was “pretty awesome if I do say so myself”). But when there’s constantly bread served, people who lack discipline stuff themselves with it, ending the meal completely full. Or worse:
And when the bread was as good as the waiter made it seem, it’s hard to have enough discipline. So they added some quotation marks to the bread, et voila:
Kind of a pudding-like texture containing some of the ingredients of bread, some crunchy bits on top and last but not least… bacon oil. If the waiter had just started with saying “bacon oil”, I could have gone for the “You had me at bacon”, but no such luck.
Part 5: Signature
Coquilles (or scallops) are featured regularly in these “high end” restaurants. And for a very good reason!
This one was cooked to perfection (I think sous vide? cooked the same all the way through) and featured a subtle touch of truffle. Although it tasted amazing, I think it could have been better with the classic sear, which I adore. But everyone serves them like that, so it was nice to have them another way that also was superb.
When we finished the coquille of what appeared to be part 1, the waiters filled the shell with a dashi based stock and put a spoon of scallop tartare on the side. The stock was very flavorful, the scallop tartare a bit less. But that’s just what you get with raw coquilles.
Apparently Mr. Frantzen is very fond of his vegetable garden, so next up where some almost completely vegetarian dishes:
First up was a small prequel:
Next up was the most elaborate “salad” ever:
Featuring 30+ vegetables in different structures topped with some fried fish scales, every bite was a new flavor.
“If I could have this for every meal, I’d love to be a vegetarian”.
“Wouldn’t it be strictly better if you added a steak to that meal?”
But that doesn’t mean I would add meat to this dish as a part of a tasting menu. It was what it should have been like we had it. Or something like that.
Part 6: Janssons Temptation
I instantly started laughing when I saw the dish, because one of my friends just doesn’t eat onions. And just like in Noma, we were presented with what appeared to be a plate full of it.
The rest of us liked the dish better 🙂
Part 7: “Hot-pot”
Now it was finally time for the main course. We could already smell the amazing stock before we even had our plates in front of us.
The dish as a whole was pretty good, but the mystery red meat (not sure what it was anymore, possibly elk) disappointed a bit. The sashimi we had earlier was definitely better, maybe the meat in the main course could have used a bit more seasoning?
Part 8: Dessert
This was received with mixed feelings from our table, but personally, I liked it. But not a lot more than that.
I don’t perfectly recall this dessert, but I think the mousse on top was made from carrots (which is not that crazy, since they have a natural sweetness) with cayenne (or another kind of) pepper. Underneath there were some fruity jelly cubes and another refreshing mousse. When you took a spoon containing all the elements, you could really taste the dish as it was intended. It was again sort of met with mixed feelings by the group, but I more than liked this one.
We ended the meal with some coffee & tea, accompanied with some final matching goodies: chocolate for the coffee and a small cake with green tea for the tea (obviously).
Frantzén started off really strong, but the desserts weren’t on the same level as the other dishes. But we all agreed this was top 3 material for us (having been to multiple restaurants with 3 Michelin stars, mostly Belgian, like Hof van Cleve, this meant something). And that’s even more awesome when you’re not expecting it.