UPDATE: CLOSED AS OF AUGUST 2017
Should we start by getting the Zoolander reference out of the way? Yes, the restaurants name is the same as the clothing line in the movie Zoolander. But other than that I couldn’t find any references to the movie, so let’s leave it at that and focus on the restaurant which is more likely to be named Derelict due to the word meaning abandoned. And abandoned is a great word for the location of the restaurant, because this is one of the worst locations is town, even though chef and owner Erik Löth’s official explanation is that it refers to the state of the venue when they found it.
Abandoned is a great word for the location of the restaurant, because this is one of the worst locations is town
Derelict is one of the hardest places to make a reservation at right now in Stockholm, much thanks to a review with perfect score in one of the biggest newspapers, SvD, in the summer of 2016 combined with no limit as to how far in advance you can make a reservation to this small 25 seat restaurant. Those factors combined makes the next available table often being four to five months away. Quite a long wait for something quite few have experienced. But hey, that’s also how one creates hype.
And while we are on the subject of getting it hyped what better location than the worst location in town? A place no one in their right mind would think of for a restaurant, on one of the most heavily trafficked ways into Stockholm, in the crossing of Norrtull where the highway E4 reaches Stockholm city? Yes, behind an obscure black door facing Norra Staionsgatan Erik Löth and Mattias Malmkvist decided to start their own restaurant. A bold move for sure, and a boldness that will come across when you visit the restaurant as well.
The rustic wooden tables and the forest like décor on them immediately make you feel cozy and welcomed
Behind that anonymous black door, and another silver door, a really warm and friendly atmosphere is opening up. The lighting is warm, yellow-ish from brass bar lamps across the walls and ceiling reminding of plumbing going through the wall. It is a combination of warm and industrial, with concrete and wood. The ceiling is high, but noise reduction is there and the noise level is really good in that low buzzing way. The rustic wooden tables and the forest like décor on them immediately make you feel cozy and welcomed. And even more welcome when a piece of truffles is already waiting at the table with a miniature grater. All in all, it is really hard to imagine that the black anonymous door holds this warmness inside.
The menu consists of three options; small, medium or large. The difference in-between the menus are basically the proteins, it goes from very limited to standard to standard plus something a bit more exclusive. Reading the menu won’t give you that much of a guidance of what will appear throughout the night though, basically it states the main ingredients and looks more or less like beetroot, lingo berries, herring, chanterelles, cabbage, lam, boar and lobster. All items handwritten on a paper, vey down to earth and simple which is basically the thinking of the dishes that will appear in front of you as well.
Something new. And something that is very hard to compare to other places
Erik Löth is clear on his thinking; he wants to do something special. Something new. And something that is very hard to compare to other places. And just in that, you can also sort of get that this might not be the place for everyone. It is not the most accessible, and not only in the meaning of getting a table – but also appreciating the cooking. The food is best described as rustic fine dining, where much emphasis is put on the technique in elevating seasonal, and traditional, produce in a new way. So the odds of you liking this is very much depending on your own openness to new things, and also an appreciation for chefs trying out something new and going a bit bold in their ambitions. And there Erik Löth truly is.
The food is best described as rustic fine dining, where much emphasis is put on the technique in elevating seasonal, and traditional, produce in a new way
So what actually ends up on the plate? It is everything from oysters paired with gooseberries to a parsnip puree that is the most divine thing ever, grated with truffles on top and simply enjoyed with a celeriac stick. Sound simple? Well, many of the dishes sound simple. But to extract that amount of flavor from something so simple requires serious skill. And that is what this place is all about. Everything will not be to everyone’s liking. Beetroots that have been cooked in ashes for a considerable time might not be the dish to go back for, but then on the other hand the boar pate was one of the best pates ever. It was so incredibly rich and deep in flavor, which made it hard to stop eating. In the true sense of the word it is a roller coaster ride going through the woods, because what is clear is the closeness to the produce, the focus on local ingredients – but also celebrating the old techniques in a new way. Like that old grandmother trick of using vinegar on the smoked herring.
The wines are predominately what is referred to as natural wines, which goes quite naturally with the focus in itself locally sourced, seasonal produce of high quality. There are some brilliant wines, and also here it is good to have an open mind about your preferences, because sommelier Mattias Malmkvist is very capable of finding interesting wines in his cellar. The service is very personal, friendly and attentive. And those small details are there, like the name on each gust on the towel in the bathroom and the welcoming by name.
Openness is probably a key word here, not only in terms of the wines but also for the entire dining experience. This is a cutting edge restaurant, it is new and bold. It is innovative in its sheer strive to go backwards to old produce and techniques. Overall, if you have an open mind, if you like new things, well book a table and swing by in a couple of months.