One point three million visitors per annum walk through the turnstile at Vasa Museum to look at an old Swedish naval ship, Vasa, that capsized and sank outside Beckholmen in Stockholm’s inlet on its maiden voyage in 1628. And the wreckage has proven to be more successful than the actual ship, and is now the most visited museum in Stockholm. If more of those visitors only knew that a far greater experience awaited a mere 300m away at the restaurant of another museum, namely the Restaurant at Spritmuseum (Museum of Spirits).
Walking to the restaurant is an experience in itself; one can walk from the small bridge that connects the city center with the Royal Island of Djurgården and walk along the shoreline to reach the restaurant. And when entering into the restaurant one will straight away notice that the view from the restaurant is spectacular, with large windows across the dining area overlooking the water almost makes you feel as you are sitting on the docks. The view encapsulates the small island of Kastellholmen and the district of Södermalm, and even the location where the Vasa ship was salvaged in 1961. But the interior is far from what would be on the old naval ship, at the Restaurant at Spritmuseum the interior design is very much characterized by an industrial setting meeting Nordic wood. It is green marble, black counters, copper lights and wooden tables in a very stylish but a slightly strict combination.
a large portion of creativity from the chefs’ side
The food at Spritmuseum is closest described by what has become called Modern Nordic. A lot of emphasis from head chef Petter Nilsson is on seasonal, locally sourced ingredients. Then of course a large portion of creativity from the chefs’ side, since the menu and dishes changes constantly. It is a creative melting pot that Petter Nilsson has tried to create based on his 15 years working in France at renowned restaurants like La Gazzetta in Paris and Les Trois Salons in Uzès, but he has truly turned it into something of his own and the level of cooking is on a very high level here. It is seldom flavor bombs; it is more well balanced subtle flavors that elevate the produce but without being bland or safe, the combinations and techniques are often very modern and forward looking.
well balanced subtle flavors that elevate the produce but without being bland or safe
To be even more modern and forward looking, this is one of the first restaurants that jumped on the vegetarian band wagon and devotes one of the set menus solely on vegetarian dishes, but without compromising the least bit on neither flavors nor textures in the dishes. And for all vegetables there are clear guidelines, only organic or biodynamic goes into the kitchen as well as all meat is sourced from Swedish farms. This encapsulates a lot of the vision on what the kitchen is driving, not only taking care of the people eating it, but also some accountability for the planet. This philosophy is of course very much reflected in the dishes that end up on your plate, Nordic produce such as cabbage, beets, peas, sorrel, onions, asparagus and potatoes dominate in accordance to season. Fish from the local surroundings and some high quality meat accompanies the vibrant vegetables. And all this is put together using some of the nicest presentation techniques in the city. The food both looks and tastes spectacular.
not only taking care of the people eating it, but also some accountability for the planet
The food is primarily served as a set menu, seven courses, and each night there are two options; either the traditional menu, which contains proteins such as meat and fish, or the aforementioned vegetarian option. Some of the dishes are also served as á la carte, but the recommendation is to go for the set menu to get the full experience. During lunch service it is however possible to have á la carte meals, and during summertime (and when the weather allows) it is served on the Beer Pier just on the docks. And speaking of which, the Beer Pier is also a very nice place for a drink on those summer days.
All in all, the Restaurant at Spritmuseum offers some really high quality food, far from what you would typically associate with a museum restaurant. And it is really fun to see that they are not only following, but in many cases leading the development of the food scene. Both Petter Nilsson at Spritmuseum and Paul Svensson at Fotografiska are two of the most forward looking chefs in Stockholm and they both run restaurant at museums. The food at Spritmuseum encapsulated much of what is associated with Modern Nordic cooking, utilizing the seasonal produce available here in the Nordics and making them shine as much as possible. And in any case, simply the view from the restaurant is worth a visit on its own.