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Image 2: Björn is in charge of the savoury section of the menu, pampering diner's palates right from the beginning, while Daniel is responsible for the dessert, the last section of the menu, ensuring a wonderful lingering finish to the meal. They partnered up in 2008 to establish this small restaurant and shocked the world by gaining 2-stars within two years of its opening!
Image 3: www.frantzen-lindeberg.com Chef: Björn Frantzén and Daniel Lindeberg
Dinner: 2100 SEK (17-course) Lunch: 1500 SEK (14-course)
Dinner from Tuesday through Saturday. Lunch Saturday only.
Image 4: Daniel Lindeberg left the restaurant in 2013. The restaurant name changed to Frantzén. Click here for an update: Frantzén
In the heart of Stockholm’s old town, two youngs chefs have been attracting foodies from all over the world in their small restaurant offering an experience to a creative culinary journey.
Image 5: It is never easy to get a reservation in one of the smallest dining rooms on the 50Best and to make it worse, F/L has expanded the kitchen recently but to cater for less customers! The dining room was very basic, comprised of a few small tables plus a kitchen counter where we had our lunch.
Image 6: Björn then brought out a few live langoustines. They use amazingly fresh produces here! Björn explained that it is crucial to keep them alive until very last minute as the sweetness and moisture from langoustines would disappear rapidly.
Image 7: After a quick briefing by Björn about the structure of the menu, the Prologue composed of six nibbles was served. Though it was not as elaborate as Noma's 18 amuse bouches, it really set off an impressive opening scene!
Image 8: Imagine these exciting flavours and textural contrast - liver on a pancake with lingonberry and beetroot covered in walnut; crunchy chicken skin on spelt brioche with roasted garlic; and in particular, crispy but airy lichens topped with a slice of 46-month old bullock dusted with cod liver powder.
Image 9: And what about these? Pig's head with shellfish emulsion served on pork rind; Vichyssoise with Leek purée and truffles; and finally carrot macaron with liver and tarragon! Yes, all sounded crazy combinations but the precise proportion of each component resulted in final harmony. Each item had its own punch! An astonishing set of amuse bouches!
Image 10: While we were still discussing how we liked each of the amuse bouches, Chapter 1 began. Served on its shell was oyster sealed and poached at 62°C.
Image 11: The oyster flavour was clean and intense. Combined with crunchiness from frozen buckthorn and fragrance from dried seaweed, this was a very high quality start! I particularly enjoyed the touch of acidity from the juniper berries, further lifting up the sea flavour. Amazing!
Image 12: A few minutes later, he came back with a dish that was blanketed by dill foam and celery cream…
Image 13: … with the langoustine transformed into a tartare underneath! It was marinated in fennel oil and caviar, offering an elegant natural seasoning while the diced Granny Smith apple provided a light fruitiness. Despite these ingredients, it was still the langoustine's sweetness and freshness that shined through. What a spectacular dish!
Image 14: Look at its beautiful centre! This delicate, soft and rich marrow, with caviar cleverly served as seasoning, completely pampered my palate. Seductive food! We were all nodding our head in agreement.
Image 15: One of my favourite ingredients, bone marrow! Rarely we see it served on its own, but anything unthinkable could happen in this extraordinary restaurant -- a big piece of bone marrow was crowned with Osetra caviar accompanied by parsley purée on the side!
Image 16: Chapter 2 started with Björn churning out butter for our crackers. The milk fat had been prepared under vacuum to suck out milk water; otherwise it wouldn’t be practical for anyone to split up milk water from the fat by hand.
Image 17: Even these simple looking warm fibre crackers, Knäckebröd, and creamy butter were very delectable! At that point, we all have decided to come back next year to experience a full dinner here.
It was entertaining to watch the kitchen team carefully preparing our courses.
Image 19: Here at the bottom of the plate were carefully arranged pike in small cubes and pieces of meat from king crab legs, soaked by beer and crab shell broth! Wow, the buttery king crab was precisely executed with fresh aroma from the dill … It was another winner!
Image 20: Focusing all his attention in plating our next course - the only dish served everyday but also changes everyday - "Show of the season"!
Image 21: Inspired by his meal in Ishibawa, some fried bream scales were scattered on top of the vegetables! So many incredible flavours from one single dish! Sensational, truly sensational!
Image 22: And for that day, it contained 45 different ingredients from their own garden! Ever since our unforgettable experience of Bras' gargouillou, we came across similar dishes in many restaurants, but this is the only one that could challenge Bras!
Image 23: A reoccurring thought throughout the meal was that not only was each course surprisingly enjoyable as a whole, each individual composition was outstanding on its own. I admire the philosophy of this restaurant -- it's not about fancy dining room; it's not about posh silverware; it is all about utilizing the most out of each ingredient to create powerful and delicious flavours from each and every bite!
Searing a piece of lamb for our main course.
Image 25: Björn then brought out a jar of smoked brown butter and suggested us spreading it on the fish. The deep smokiness was so addictive that I ended up consuming the whole jar with crackers!
Image 26: This meaty fish was nice, but it was the quenelle of roasted onions behind that seized my attention. It was completely cooked that it melted on my tongue with a hint of sweetness and charcoalness. Moreover, we all enjoyed the aftertaste from the liquorice perfumed goat cheese. It was obvious that meticulous attention was given even to the smallest component of each course!
The other less attractive (in comparison) spread was goat butter flavoured with ash.
Carefully shaving white truffles onto our next course.
Image 29: A few shavings of white truffles, that was all it needed to elevate this succulent beef that was hung for 72 days to achieve the extra tenderness; grilled medium to allow its fat to melt. Definitely another highlight of the meal! Arguably the best beef course outside Japan? Definitely on par with the one we had at Ledoyen.
Image 30: While preparing for the next treat, Björn explained that ideally there would be a palate cleanser after every course, but that's not feasible as diners would get full just by eating cleansers alone. So if he serves one palate cleanser, it would be before the main course.
Image 31: A distinct carrot and grapefruit sorbet dusted with cracked pink pepper and drops of chilled olive oil. A mix of sensations - citrus, bitterness, concentrated olive oil, along with the contrast between chilled sorbet and hot chili, wow, it did the job of refreshing all my palates indeed!
Image 32: This weird looking course was the first serving of our main. An odd mixture of lamb tartare, salted goat cheese, sheep's yogurt, and finally with dried lamb brisket grained on top…
Image 33: … but after the first bite, you would no longer be concerned about its odd mixture of ingredients nor its weird look -- it was indescribably tasty! The powdery brisket was fun and flavourful. Björn is a magician, putting a bunch of ingredients together and everything just worked!
Before the second serving…
… a cabbage consommé.
Image 36: Part two of our main composed of seared lamb, roasted cabbage and onion, and a butter sauce and truffle. Again, each individual element was top notch, enjoyable by itself but also wonderful as a whole. This wrapped up Chapter 3. It seemed every aspect of the meal so far was flawless! We've had such a perfect meal only a handful times out of our many fine dining explorations around the world!
Next, Daniel took on the stage and handed us a copy of Chapter 4 and Epilogue of the show.
Image 38: A blending flavours from oxidized pear granita, hazelnut emulsion, sea salt, and braggot mead, a honey wine of Welsh origin. A lovely transition from savoury to sweet.
Image 39: While preparing for our next dessert, Daniel explained that a coherent menu should not be from top to bottom moving in one direction; it should be more like a circle -- dessert shouldn't be just about sugar; it is about flavours that tie back to the beginning of the meal. What an interesting concept!
Image 40: The second dessert was all about cloudberries. Served on a cake base were crumbs from crushed cloudberry seeds, topped by a condensed ice cream of cloudberry and vanilla, paired with an intriguing roasted white chocolate and drizzled with maple syrup. I appreciated ittle sugar was used in order not to mask the light flavour of cloudberries. Fabulous dessert!
Image 41: And the final dessert, probably one of my all-time most memorable desserts -- a sea buckthorn sorbet resting on a bed of Oolong mousse with matcha meringues and crystalized sea lettuce sprinkled on top. The light acidity from the cold sorbet, the elegant tea aroma from the airy whipped cream, the hint of green tea from the crispy meringues, and the aftertaste of the dried seaweed flicks... OMG!
Image 42: Daniel was right, his dessert wasn't about sugar. We were all stunned by the unbelievable marriage of textures and flavours! Sadly, the journey was getting close to the end.
Image 43: Just like how the meal had begun, it ended with an elaborate treat of nibbles. Just like the last few hours, the meal finished with crazy combinations that somehow came together in my mouth!
Image 44: Two types of macarons - salt caramel with tar & hay ash, and bitter manjari with arctic raspberry ganache
Image 45: Apple, fermented garlic, fresh walnut, chocolate turron
Image 46: Fondant of glazed apricot and girolles biscuit garnished with powder of rapeseed oil, decorated with toasted cacao nibs and mini pickled girolles.
Image 47: And finally, sitting on top of a dried pig blood was pig's blood cream, blackberries, and bitter chocolate. Very brave to serve this and we all loved it! If a place can use pig's blood and mushroom as petits fours, you know the cuisine is out of this world.
Image 48: The menu was presented in a scroll. It consisted of Prologue, followed by four Chapters, and ended in an Epilogue.