Editor's note: the restaurant became "Frantzen" on May 1st 2013 when Daniel Lindeberg left to pursue other interests. In July 2016 the restaurant closed and relocated to a new location, which opened at the end of August during 2017 at: Klara Norra Kyrkogata 26 in central Stockholm.
Frantzen/Lindberg is in the picturesque old town of Stockholm, and was established in February 2008. It has a particular emphasis on seasonal produce, having two dedicated gardens which produce most of the vegetables used in the restaurant (these are delivered twice a week). The head chefs are Bjorn Frantzen along with pastry chef Daniel Lindeberg, who had both worked previously at the now closed Edsbacka Krog, which was the first restaurant in Sweden to receive two Michelin stars.
There is a small dining room with the kitchen on view. The restaurant seats just 16 diners, with a further room for 8 available. Rather like Astrance in Paris, we were not presented with a menu; rather the kitchen produces a menu of whatever produce they feel is in peak condition on the day. Seven courses are SEK 1495, while there is a shorter five course menu at SEK 1295. In an interesting theatrical touch, bread dough is presented in a little wooden box and is left to prove on the table. Later the finished bread appears (though unless they have a remarkable oven, I’d be surprised if it was the bread from that dough)..
The wine list had excellent growers but the mark-ups were extremely high. The lovely Domaine Weinbach Cuvee Catherine 2005 was a crushing SEK1680 (£158) for a wine you can buy in the UK shops for £39. Even their basic Weinbach Muscat 2006 was SEK980 (£92) compared to a UK retail price of £16, more than five times the retail price. The mark-ups are hardly kinder farther up the list: the gorgeous Etienne Sauzet Chevalier Montrachet 2008 was SEK 5480 (£516) for a wine that you can buy in the UK for £157.
The first nibble was an almond cornet filled with truffle cream; this was a strong start to the meal, the truffle cream having excellent flavour (18/20). On the table was also some Swedish ham to nibble as we studied the wine list and marvelled at the prices.
A trio of amuse bouches arrived. The best was a cherry macaroon filled with foie gras, which had delightful livery flavour, with the hint of cherry from the macaroon giving a little acidic balance (19/20). Dried pea crisp with pea puree flavoured with mint had excellent taste though the mint flavour was a little dominant (17/20). Cod skin with seared cod rainbow trout roe and garlic was enjoyable (17/20).
This was followed by a further trio of nibbles served on spoons. Parsnip cream with dried chicken skin and dill was rather dominated by the parsnip (16/20). Swedish lobster on cream and pork fat with edible flowers was better and seasonal; the lobster season started just the week before my visit, and the lobster was tender (17/20). The third spoon was cream of potato and made with an old style of sweet onion, served with almonds and liquorice cream; the onion was impressive, having a pleasing hint of sweetness (18/20).
Next was black pudding with dried foam of goat milk and fish roe with pear and apple cream. The roe came from whitefish, which is reminiscent of salmon roe. The black pudding was not made in the traditional Swedish way in the oven, but was grilled, meaning that it was a little crisp on the outside (16/20). The pear and apple cream stood in for the traditional Swedish accompaniment of lingonberries, and provided welcome acidity.
At this stage the bread arrived, pain epice made with wheat sourdough. This was served with two types of butter, one unsalted and one from western Sweden with 2 per cent sea salt. The bread was magnificent, served warm and with gorgeous texture (19/20).
Next was beef hung for eight weeks and served with smoked eel, cream, French caviar and foie gras with a little melted tallow fat (this the pure fat remaining after suet or beef fat has been rendered to remove impurities), which was also used to marinate the beef. This worked well, the beef very tender, the eel working well as a contrast to the beef, the foie gras adding a little luxury and richness (18/20).
Scallops from Norway were next, served in a scallop shell with butter cream with chives and truffle. The scallops were of spectacular quality, while on the side was a tartare of scallop and roe, served with a little of the Japanese stock dashi. The scallops had lovely inherent sweetness and were cooked perfectly (comfortably 19/20).
This was followed by a warm salad of vegetables and edible flowers, with the flavour of autumn being provided by funnel chanterelles (a delicate form of chanterelle also called winter chanterelle) and black trumpet mushrooms. This was served with cod, slow cooked with lard and brown butter. The cod, which can so easily be tasteless, here was excellent, and the vegetables were of good quality (18/20).
Next was French toast with onion cream, topped with Parmesan and truffle and a little 100 year old balsamic from Tuscany, with a sorbet of cucumber with apple juice and edible flowers. The balsamic had wonderful flavour and balanced the richness of the onion cream well (18/20). The main course was grilled veal from Normandy, with conical morels, walnuts, cheese and a vinaigrette of walnut oil and honey and a garnish of particularly good endive (17/20).
Dessert was oven-baked blueberry ice cream, meringue, jelly flavoured with honey and cream cheese flavoured with vanilla (17/20). A further sweet consisted of apples baked in the oven and Infused with cider, plus parsnip chips to provide some texture crunch. The dish for me was a little spoiled by an unnecessary bay leaf ice cream, but if I exclude this peculiar idea then the dish was 17/20.
The bill for two was SEK 4750 for two i.e. £223 per head. I was very impressed with this meal, which maintained a distinctly Scandinavian feel to the menu without being stubborn about the use of entirely local ingredients. The chef clearly goes to some lengths to use Swedish products where appropriate, but does not tie himself down by insisting on using everything locally. The quality of products was high, such as the superb scallops, and technical execution was consistently good. Service was also excellent, and it is great to see a restaurant not only make its own bread, but to make it so well.