Japanese food in Stockholm has had quite an upswing in the last years, and one of the best additions to the scene has been Shibumi. The food is focused on refined Japanese bar food, and it is chef Isaksson’s take on an izakaya. And even though it traditionally refers to Japanese taverns or drinking houses with a menu of small dishes for snacking while drinking, the concept here is quite the opposite. Shibumi has focused quite a lot on the drinks and cocktails, but the main focus is refined Japanese food.
Shibumi is an izakaya run by one of Sweden’s most renowned chefs, Sayan Isaksson. Serving up some of the best, refined, Japanese bar food you will find in the city. Shibumi is located in the cellar of the same building as chef Isaksson’s other restaurants Råkultur, Imuoto and Michelin stared Esperanto (which was also named the 98th best restaurant by San Pellegrino in 2015). Now the building consist of four quite different restaurants, where Esperanto is fine dining, Råkultur is casual and Shibumi somewhere in-between.
Serving up some of the best, refined, Japanese bar food you will find in the city
Once you have been able to locate the entrance to the restaurant, a hint is that it’s around the corner to the left from the main entrance to Esperanto and Råkultur, and the door that you would not associate with a restaurant entrance, you walk down a flight of stairs (mind your head) and enter a mix of Scandinavian and Japanese interior design. I really like it, it provides the perfect setting and you won’t think once about the fact that you are actually in the cellar of the building. The long brass bar is perfect for an after work cocktail and some nice bar food. And overall the atmosphere is just right for an izakaya, and it goes just as well for a formal- as a casual dinner.
Combining creativity and refinement is probably the hallmark of chef Isaksson
Combining creativity and refinement is probably the hallmark of chef Isaksson, and it holds true for Shibumi as well. The food is really well balanced and holds a number of layers of flavors which melts perfectly together. The dishes served are quite small and you order quite a few so it’s a bit of a Japanese take on tapas, so sharing is caring and the more the merrier. The food is very well executed and presented, with careful attention to flavors and presentation. Most of the dishes are spectacular like the Gyoza, and the sliders have become a frequent item on the menu as well as the fried chicken skins.
The food arrives once it is done, so you have a constant flow of dishes being brought to your table. The staff is friendly and more than knowledgeable in providing good pairings of wine to suit most of the dishes (but of course, it never becomes perfect when it is such a mix of dishes). The dishes come pretty fast and consistently, but without being stressful. I think this is a brilliant addition to the Stockholm food scene, there is just so much from the Japanese cuisine that we haven’t had in Stockholm yet and Shibumi definitely serves a purpose in broadening the Swedish scope on what Japanese food can be.