April 19, 2017

Gin et Jim

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A couple of days before my first visit to Frantzén's Kitchen, I somehow scared myself into thinking that an online reservation I thought I had made was not completed.  This was, of course, helped along by an incompetent staff member at the restaurant.  In a state of panic, I hurriedly made an online booking for tonight, before discovering that I did, in fact, hold a booking for the original date.

Since I enjoyed my dinner at the restaurant so much, I decided to keep the second booking and come back a mere 6 weeks later.  So... a mere 3 nights after our steak dinner, Diva, Hello Kitty, and I reconvened for another meal.  Diva had told us that he didn't enjoy his first trip here, but he was willing to give it another try.

Unlike my first visit, this time we were seated at the counter, up close with the couple of chefs who do the plating with their tweezers - including Jim Löfdahl.  A couple of the staff may or may not have recognized the guy with the DSLR, but in any case we were treated pretty well tonight.

I decided not to BYO tonight so we would just order cocktails.  As I was scanning the wine list, I came upon a very curious entry, and decided to order it up.

Richard Juhlin Blanc de Blancs Non-Alcoholic Sparkling Wine - Richard Juhlin is a well-known critic who rates Champagne, so when there's a non-alcoholic sparkling wine bearing his name - and a blanc de blancs! - I was naturally curious.  Nose was a little pungent, and in fact smelled more like apple cider from Brittany with the mineral notes.  Not a fan.

Knäckebröd - I absolutely loved these wafers of rye crispbread last time, and I couldn't stop eating them tonight, either...

...because of the incredibly awesome beurre noisette, which was mixed with 50% regular butter plus some 1.7% of salt.  As I did last time, I couldn't stop spreading this on the knäckebröd, and we probably went through 7 to 8 servings of this...

We each ordered our own snacks, then shared all the mains.

"Swedish sushi" - the piece I had tonight was even better than the one I had last time, perhaps because there was more of the cep mayonnaise on top of the lichen... or because the shavings of frozen foie gras was tastier.  The raw slice of fallow deer was just as tender and tasty, and the ash on top of the powdered foie gras added a little je ne sais quoi...  I think next time, I'll need to have two pieces of this.

"French toast" - winter truffle season is coming to an end, but this was still really delicious.  The bread was soaked in 25-year-old balsamico, and one could taste the slight crunch of the stewed white onions in between.  Tonight, instead of using the Swedish cheese aged for 14 months as last time, it was 28-month Parmigiano-Reggiano Vacche Rosse.  The flavors were definitely richer tonight.

Sashimi of Norwegian salmon - the salmon was smoked, then lightly brushed with a glaze made with soy sauce and 5% sugar. On top we have pickled cucumber, Swedish king crab infused with beer and dill, trout roe infused with ponzu (ポン酢), and the "dill x3" featuring fresh, dried, and pollen from the end of the season.  Tonight the salmon aspic was much stronger in terms of flavor, and as last time, the trout roe required a lot of effort to pop in the mouth.  And the king crab didn't seem as creamy as before.  Still a very Swedish or Scandinavian dish to me... and still very tasty.

I got myself a gin and tonic made with Hernö Gin and elderflower tonic, along with dried lingonberries and dried orange.  Pretty nice, actually...

North Atlantic skrei "janssons" - this was one of my favorite dishes last time - where we ordered a second portion.  This is also the end of the season for the fish, served with caramelized Cevennes onions in a white wine sauce with preserved Swedish anchovies.  Topped with crispy potatoes, vendace roe from Kalix, chopped chives, and of course dill powder.  Like some of the other dishes, the flavors of this dish tonight were also stronger, and a little more salty.  Still very, very good.

White asparagus - the white asparagus from Vaucluse was slow-cooked for 2 hours with dry white wine with coriander and covered with the peel of white asparagus.  Served with purée of split peas, sauce made with gooseberries fermented for 19 days, mint, crudités of asparagus, and toasted pine nuts.  The asparagus tasted fresh and sweet, and I could taste the fermented flavors in the gooseberry sauce, along with some acidity.

Velouté - purée of caramelized French shallot onion at the bottom, roasted almonds, covered in caramelized French white onion soup, and topped with almond oil, almond milk, and licorice cream made with freeze-dried licorice root from Iran.  The almonds were very toasty and really delicious.  You've also got an interesting attack of sweetness underneath the rich and salty flavors.

Tartar of Swedish dairy cow - the beef was dry-aged on the bone for 100 days, boned before export and hung a little longer for texture.  Mixed with sour cream made with sustainably-farmed Swedish silver eel (where 90% is released back to the Sargasso Sea).  Topped with crispy potatoes, double-smoked herring caviar, green onions, julienned mushrooms, and served with scallion oil.  The eel was nice and smoky, and worked very, very well with the beef.  Just as delicious as last time.

Roasted Swedish pork belly - Omega-3 pork belly was cooked for 10 hours.  Served with pumpkin purée, pumpkin seeds, hot sauce made with fermented carrots and chili, fermented garlic, and dried kale.  OF COURSE the pork belly was delicious... with that crackling.

Veal cheeks - the restaurant's take on "kalv i dill", the veal cheeks are slow-cooked for 24 hours, with purée of carrot cooked in its own juice (confit?), crudités of carrots covered in dill powder, and glazed carrots.  Covered in a sweet and sour sauce based on ättika.  As tender and delicious as I remembered.

Pan-fried guinea fowl - cooked on the bone, with butter-flavored chicken jus and a touch of soya. Salad tossed with emulsion based on truffled vinegar, along with morels, hazelnuts, pickled girolles, and the first ramson of the season.  Not bad.  At least it would be more tasty than the chicken...

Buried underneath the guinea fowl were a couple of cockscomb, which I enjoyed by myself since the others wouldn't eat it.  Yum!

Hello Kitty was curious about aquavit, so we decided to try some at Jim's suggestion...  These were served in Riedel Single Malt Whisky glass - I'm guessing Vinum from the markings.

Roslags Sailing Pepparmynta - I liked the peppermint flavor, and it makes for a good digestive.

Roslags Sailing Havtorn + Örter - flavored with sea buckthorn and other herbs.  A little savory, mineral, with a hint of smoke.  Kinda reminds me of Chinese 跌打酒...  Jim prefers this over the other bottlings.

O.P. Anderson Original - served chilled and not at room temperature like the others.  Apparently the gold standard.

Swedish blueberry ice cream - at the bottom is pastry cream with ginger, with ice cream made with blueberries which have been caramelized for 24 hours, topped with caramelized honey, and almond sponge cake, confit lemon zest, and thin wafers of meringue.

"Syltkakor" - this time with licorice and raspberries.  A little more butter fragrance this time, but I'd still rather have the beurre noisette with knäckebröd...  Actually, we didn't ask for these because we never liked them the last time, but somehow these showed up in front of us - and also on our bill.

We had a really good time, again... and apparently Diva did, too.  It does help to have the head chef of the restaurant come and explain the dishes in more detail than some of the waitstaff could.  I guess I'll wait a few more months and see if they manage to change more of the dishes before making my third visit.

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