Stockholm: A Rustic and Michelin-Starred Evening at Ekstedt

© Helen Pe

A word to lovers of exciting new culinary discoveries: if, like me, you like to be surprised by Michelin-starred cuisine, then the restaurant Ekstedt is made for you! The chef will offer you a novel and unique experience with his gourmet cuisine, using only firewood to cook. In this blogpost, I’ll tell you about my experience at this friendly and original restaurant!

Stockholm. During our two-week stay in the Swedish capital (which I highly recommend, I absolutely loved it!), we decided to have dinner at one of the city’s Michelin-starred restaurants. I should mention that Stockholm is among the world’s trendiest hotspots for gourmet cuisine, with a series of bold and creative new chefs coming to the fore. I opted for the restaurant that chef Nicklas Ekstedt opened a few years ago in the heart of Stockholm’s chic central neighborhood.

Ekstedt cooks using only wood-fired methods (© Mathias Nordgren)

An Audacious and Thrilling Project

When he opened his first restaurant at age 21, the chef offered ultra-modern, molecular-type cuisine. After a few years, however, he began to turn back to his roots, and in particular to his small home village in the north of the country. He set his sights on an audacious project: a restaurant that would pay homage to Swedish cuisine of days gone by, before electricity was readily available and everyone used firewood to cook. No gas, no microwave – it would be no small feat. This is how the restaurant Ekstedt was born in November 2011. From its beginnings, the project has excited curiosity; tourists on a brief visit to the capital and locals alike are drawn in by the unique and intriguing concept. In 2014, Ekstedt joined the prized Michelin Guide when it earned its first star.

No gas, no microwave—only firewood (© David Loftus)

Rustic and Chic Dining Room with a Stunning Look

The dining room fits perfectly with the essence of the cuisine on offer. There’s an emphasis on natural materials, such as wood accents, leather upholstery on the chairs and benches, and a beautiful bar made of stone, ready to welcome a few lucky guests. Once we’re seated, we consult the one and only set menu available. No ordering à la carte here – there’s only a five-course tasting menu to which we can add a signature dish and a cheese plate. While awaiting the appetizer, we admire the busy staff, all of them sporting a hipster look that’s well-suited to the atmosphere. A woody fragrance tickles our nostrils, whetting our appetite!

The dining room with natural materials ( © David Loftus)

The dining room fits perfectly with the essence of the cuisine on offer ( © Helen Pe)

Dinnertime!

The set menu begins with lightly-smoked mackerel with a side of peas and elderberry flowers. Next comes the juniper-smoked pike perch, accompanied by hay-flambéed mushrooms, sweetbread, and salsify. Then a lamb dish makes its entrance, infused with delicious birch wood flavors, and beautifully garnished with cabbage and capers. To finish on a sweet note, we receive a spruce-flambéed crepe with rhubarb and hazelnuts, a dessert that sweeps me off my feet. Each dish is absolutely delicious, and the smoky flavor is a true asset – very different from a more “mainstream” approach! However, I’m sorry to see such small quantities of food; even with my limited appetite, I still feel a bit hungry as I leave the restaurant…

The lightly-smoked mackerel with a side of peas and elderberry flowers

Surprise from the chef between two courses

The mussels that come with our pike perch (© David Loftus)

The dessert: my favorite!a spruce-flambéed crepe with rhubarb and hazelnuts

The Verdict

With his restaurant Ekstedt, the chef wanted a return to his roots, to a more rustic Swedish cuisine invigorated by his original and creative vision. His bet has paid off, as his cooking methods add a great deal of flavor to the ingredients, and the creativity behind the dishes handles the rest. It’s a unique experience that you should consider when you’re next in Stockholm, if you’re looking for a change from more traditional starred restaurants.

I loved:

  • The originality behind the concept, with each dish perfectly cooked!
  • The trendy and modern dining room, featuring a very polished look
  • The relaxed ambiance

I disliked:

  • The tiny quantities for each dish: we left feeling a bit frustrated!
  • The long wait throughout the meal: it took 2.5 hours to be served five courses, and we waited for quite some time for certain dishes.

Practical Information

  • It’s a small restaurant, so don’t forget to reserve a table.
  • Set menu for 990 SEK (about 100 €), wine pairings for 890 SEK (about 90 €), additional signature dish for 235 SEK (about 23 €), and cheese plate for 105 SEK (about 10 €)
  • More information available on their website

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