If you only have one evening in Stockholm and you want to make sure it’s absolutely spectacular – go to Gastrologik. There’s a handful of restaurant experiences that truly leaves a mark, and Gastrologik was one of them for me. Jacob Holmström and Anton Bjuhr have a one-Michelin-star restaurant, but the level they are performing at right now makes them a likely candidate for two stars very soon, in my opinion. The place is located next to their casual lunch spot, Speceriet, in Artillerigatan. Both of these restaurants were featured in my foodie’s guide to Stockholm, but I want to bring you even further inside to see the entire meal we had here.
Gastrologik is a new Nordic fine dining restaurant that has a sort of Copenhagen ambiance to it, but with a clear Swedish identity to the food. Their philosophy is to focus on the ingredients in close cooperation with both producers and suppliers. It’s all about local, seasonal and organic produce. Sounds familiar? This idea has become a strong part of the new Nordic identity, but Gastrologik really means it. The menu can change every day, depending on what is available. When you leave the restaurant you get a book which features their top suppliers. The book also includes a chapter about the restaurant architect – Jonas Lindvall.
– Just like the food at Gastrologik, the colors, materials, and design is Nordic and should strengthen the overall experience, Jonas Lindvall is quoted in the book.
He’s also the architect of famous Saltimporten Canteen in Malmö, where I plan to visit later this autumn. I really admire people who are able to create beautiful rooms like the one you sit in at Gastrologik. It adds another element to the whole dining experience. Gastrologik is so consistent: The plates and cutlery contribute to the style, and even the small menu on your table and the warm cloths to wash your hands are presented in line with the design identity.
The amuse bouche was a classic Swedish tunnbrödsrulle, which means a thin bread roll. It’s a sort of soft flatbread or tortilla. Normally you would get it with a sausage, potato mash and pickles in mayo at a hot dog stand. At Gastrologik, the small box it came in contained rainbow trout roe, smoked sour cream, and fermented vegetables to accompany our pancakes. The next highlight for me was the scallop from Hitra with onion and yeast. Norwegian scallops have an exceptional quality and are highly sought-after in a lot of high-end restaurants.
The head chef and founder Jacob Holmström and I had previously met twice. First by chance, as we shared a taxi from the Michelin guide launch party in 2015. Next, at the chef’s dinner at Kontrast, when Jacob and his sidekick arrived several hours too late due to a missed flight, and had to drive the full 500 kilometers to get there. The octopus dish with black garlic cream that they served is still fresh in my mind. We didn’t get octopus this evening at Gastrologik, so obviously that wasn’t available from their suppliers, but we did get garlic. Garlic on garlic, in fact, with a dish of fresh and fermented garlic. Then came a simple yet beautiful and tasty dish of the season’s green asparagus.
We got the table closest to the kitchen. A small work-station was situated next to us, where the chefs boiled algae broth in a siphon coffee maker for one of the dishes. Later on, they would brew coffee here in a Chemex and serve homemade spirits. We had a great view to the open kitchen, where some of the chefs did the final plating. Dish after dish was brought to our table. One more tasty than the other, but never too much of anything – simply a perfect amount of food throughout the night. The service was attentive and a waiter was never far away, but we had complete privacy and could enjoy just the food and each other’s company.
Every dish was a small, delicate serving with just a few elements and a unique and intense flavor profile. If there were any main courses in this meal it would have to be the turbot with ramson and the lamb sweetbread in a celeriac wrap. Yes, we got a Nordic taco! It reminded me a bit of the turnip tortilla we got in the food bar of Arakataka in Oslo, but celeriac turned out to be even tastier. Who inspired the other? I don’t know and it doesn’t matter. The best ideas are stolen and improved anyway, and that’s how cooking evolve.
The savory part of the meal ended with two bitesize potato chips with fresh goat cheese in-between. A palate cleanser of parsley and sorrel sorbet looked mistakenly similar to the first snack of oyster and cucumber in its presentation. It helped ease the transition to the sweet servings ahead. Beer and carrot with an ice cream of grains was the dessert highlight on my part.
We were both intrigued by the castoreum flavored candy, and later on spirits, that we got. That smells was so familiar, yet incredibly difficult to describe.
– What is it? I had to ask our waiter Hans.
– It’s beaver musk, he said.
I had to google it: Castoreum is a yellowish secretion from the castor sac of the beaver. The castor sac is a scent gland located next to the anal glands and used in combination with urine to scent mark territory. Well, that’s slightly nauseating, we thought, and didn’t really explain the familiarity of the odor! However, it turns out that beaver musk is commonly used as a tincture in some perfumes and as a food additive.
I try to experience as many restaurants as possible and that’s why I don’t return that often to places I’ve already been. Gastrologik is one of those spots I am definitely going back to, though. As soon as possible! Thanks to the entire team, front of house and in the kitchen, for making this one of the most memorable evenings to date.
Have you been to Gastrologik or Speceriet? If not, did my post make you want to go? Please tell me in a comment below.