Where Chefs Eat is a popular guide for finding chef’s favorite restaurants in a city. But no matter what the guide says, one place where you for sure will run in to both one and two chefs in Stockholm is at Babette on a Sunday evening. It has become the weekend hangout for people in the industry. And with good reason. When three sommeliers and one chef open up a restaurant, it is inevitable that a lot of emphasis is put on the wine list. But Babbette proves that Olle T Cellton, Fredrik Lundberg, Jon Lacotte, Johan Agrell also cares about the food. Nevertheless, they guys have created what has quickly become a local favorite – tasty food and great wine in a relaxed and intimate setting and really reasonably prices. What more could you wish for?
When three sommeliers and one chef open up a restaurant, it is inevitable that a lot of emphasis is put on the wine list
Ok, that sounds all fine and good. But is it really true? Wasn’t this blog supposed to be about the very best restaurants in town? Hell yes. But does the food at Babette really qualify for that? Well, sort yes and sort of no. The food is based around pizzas, which are good, a couple of a la cart snacks, mid-sizes dishes (perfect to share!) and an extensive wine list. Notably, the restaurant opened up in an old pizza joint and they have kept the pizza oven as the main cooking item – which of course adds an extra layer of complexity for Olle T Celltom when cooking the food. The pizzas are tasty, made with really good produce and innovative thinking when it comes to how to combine the quite classic Italian toppings on the pizza, and especially it is impressive to be abele to produce the pizzas in a standard pizza oven. One would have guessed that they like so many places would have flown in a oven from Naples, but no. This is your oven from the pizzeria on the corner.
It is impressive to be abele to produce the pizzas in a standard pizza oven
The issue about Babette is not the pizzas. But it is rather how frequently the other dishes change on the menu. Olle T Cellton whips up dishes based on what is in season and what is available on that specific day, the ambition level is high, but on the other hand it is also a bit too ambitious to constantly keep updating the dishes more or less day by day. It just doesn’t leave time to make it perfect. The snacks however remain more or less the same; you will find Marcona almonds, Olives Ras el Hanout, pickles and Boquerón’s. And that gives you a feeling of the inspiration for the food, it is not focused around a specific cuisine, it is more inspired by the different Mediterranean cuisines. I like it though, working with what’s available and putting dishes together on the fly, but keep that in mind in terms of expectation level. The reason why I love Babette is not primarily the food; it is first and foremost the atmosphere and the vibe in the dining area. And the wines.
On that positive note, the wine list changes almost as frequently as the food. This is a lot due to the fact that Babette is a very small venue, with about 25 seats, and the kitchen and storage room are limited to say the least. But they have managed to turn all of that into one big advantage. The wine list is extensive, but with just a few bottles of every wine so if you find one that you like – keep drinking it. Or just switch to something else, and give feedback to the service staff on what you like and they will for sure find something that suits your pallet. The wines are really the stars here.
The reason why I love Babette is not primarily the food; it is first and foremost the atmosphere and the vibe in the dining area. And the wines.
Walking through the doors, it really feels like being in the guys’ living room, having a relaxed, buzzy evening among friends, drinking some wine and eating some tasty food. It is casual and as far from a stale classic Stockholm restaurant setting that you will come. A lot of the guests are frequent guests and it is easy to understand why, you just want to hang out here and be a part of the inviting atmosphere. The food is simple, and if you want to play it safe go for the pizzas (the classic with tomato and stracciatella is great), but when you get the right stuff from the a la carte menu, it is delicious.
Babette is a bistro that I would really like to have just around the corner from my apartment
The ambition of changing the menu constantly is a challenge. And sometimes it does not really to the point, but I still really love this place, and the warm and hearty atmosphere at Babette. And even with its shortcomings it is a bistro that I would really like to have just around the corner from my apartment. And for me, that is exactly the point of Babette. It is super relaxed, has some great wines and good food, and just a suitable bistro for any day of the week.