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F12

Fredsgatan 12, Stockholm, 111 52, Sweden

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F12 is the flagship restaurant of a group of seven restaurants in the Stockholm area run by Danyel Couet, and had a Michelin star at the time of my visit. It is in the Royal Academy of Arts building, and the room is a light and airy one with a very high ceiling, lime green walls, billowing curtains and a wooden floor. Tables are generously spaced and laid with white linen, and the room can accommodate 65 covers at any one sitting.

We ate from the set lunch menu, which cost SEK 390. Tartare of scallops (SEK 215 on the a la carte) was flavoured with wood sorrel, apple juice and garnished with blackened onion. This was a quite pretty and refreshing dish, the scallops of good quality and the apple providing a little acidity to balance the scallop (16/20). The star of the breads was fennel crisp bread. The wine list had global scope, with selections such as 2008 Albarino from Martin Codax at SEK 470 (£44) for a wine that you can buy in a UK shop for around £9, Robert Groffier Gevrey Chambertin 2008 at SEK (£147) for a wine that will set you back about £28 in the UK, up to wines such as Sine Qua Non Syrah 2007 at SEK 3,750 (£353) compared to a UK retail price of around £166.

An in-between course was a duck liver bonbon (SEK 195 on the a la carte) with cherry, salmiac (salty liqorice) and wild mint – the cherry went well with the duck though I am less sure at what the salmiac really added, though the mint flavour was in careful control (15/20).

The main course was sirloin of Swedish beef, in this case supplied from a cooperative of eleven farms near Stockholm. This was served with celeriac puree, oxtail and garnished with truffle from Gotland. The beef had good flavour, cooked medium rare and was a tender piece of meat, while the celeriac puree was smooth and provided an earthy contrast to the meat (16/20).

Arctic bramble "cheesecake" (SEK 115 on the a la carte) was a vanilla brioche base with cream cheese sorbet, apple and bramble sorbet with vanilla skin a foam of arctic bramble and strawberry, with a little mountain salt added. This was an enjoyable end to the meal, the apple and bramble providing enough balance to the vanilla brioche, while the foam complemented rather than interfered with the main elements (16/20).

Interestingly, of my three meals on this trip, the lunch here was the only one where the head chef was actually in attendance. Danyel Couet was articulate and seemed relaxed, as well he might be as F12 seemed to me to provide an extremely enjoyable experience. Service was friendly, although the starters appeared with disconcerting speed, just seconds after we were presented with the wine list. I have the impression that the restaurant attracts a lot of government and business people for lunch who are presumably not there to linger, but soon as we indicated we were not in a rush the pace of dishes slowed to normal levels.

The bill was SEK 2,010 between three with a moderate bottle of very enjoyable wine from Madrid i.e. a price of £63 a head for lunch. This seemed to me good value, especially compared to the dinners I ate in Stockholm on the same trip.

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  • Name unavailable

    A comment on the wine. Having lived several years in the UK and about as many years (as a grown up) in Sweden, wine bought in the UK is typically far worse than wine bought in Sweden, even if the label claims it's the same wine. Due to Sweden's state monopoly, and the fact that, due to the monopoly, the state must subsequently be able to provide ANY wine a citizen requires, Sweden buys a lot of wine and has first pick in many regions. Swedish buyers also have a good reputation and long standing relationships with producers, and for these reasons they get better batches. This doesn't account for the entire markup, but for most store bought UK bottles, no matter the cost, you might as well substitute vinegar. UK restaurants can have better wine, but they also mark up..

  • Mike Nabb

    F12 was my first experience of fine dining some 5 years ago. It got me hooked and gave a new hobby of some sort. Back then they had a different menu in the evening, either a tasting menu (like now) or you could pick from a long list of smaller dishes and compose your own meal (exactly like sister restaurant "SMAK på Restaurangen" does now). I highly recommend F12.

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