SCRUMPTIOUS STOCKHOLM

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With an insatiable ambition to become Europe’s next big gourmet destination, Stockholm’s a must for foodies. Offering one of the most dynamic and lively food scenes, and with two of its restaurants having just been awarded a further two Michelin stars, there’s never been a better time to book a tasty short break.

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Set in the centre of this delectable city, and just a short walk to some of the top gastronomic experiences, is the stylish Berns Hotel – a hotel/entertainment palace with 82 rooms that simply drip with style, plus its own basement nightclub and concert venue. With great links to several of Stockholm’s top restaurants – thanks to its connections with parent company Stureplansgruppen – and its own acclaimed Asiatiska restaurant, serving lip-smacking, pan-Asian cuisine, Berns makes a perfect base for a foodie escape.

Attracting food lovers from all over the world, Stockholm has something to suit every palate. Here are Berns’ top picks:

Star Quality…

Volt, Östermalm – 15-minute walk from Berns

Awarded its first Michelin star in 2015, Volt’s kitchen prides itself on its use of fresh and local produce, with a clear statement on the restaurant’s website declaring its menu to be ‘clearly focused on ingredients and products from the forests, fields and seas that surround us. Natural, distinct and honest’. Packed with innovative ideas, the modern Nordic menu is split into either four or six courses, with simple dish descriptions such as ‘Milk, roasted bark, pine’ and ‘Reindeer, salsify, green juniper’. VisitRestaurang Volt for more information.

Oaxen Krog, Djurgården Island – 28-minute walk or 18-minute boat ride from Berns

This Michelin-starred restaurant received its second star in 2015, within just two years of opening. One half of twin restaurants, Oaxen Krog & Slip, on the leafy island of Djurgården, Krog is the more refined of the two. Seating just 35 diners, the six or ten-course tasting menus are full of Swedish, locally-sourced and seasonal produce, with the kitchen staff foraging for wild herbs and plants on Djurgården each summer. The menu is paired with wines from small European ecological vineyards. Visit Oaxen Krog for more information.

International Twists… 

Asiatiska, Berns Hotel, Norrmalm

Berns Hotel’s centrepiece restaurant serves Asian fusion at its best, under a crystal chandeliered ceiling in a grand, Baroque ballroom that dates back to 1863. Based on the traditional kai seki style of sharing, the restaurant offers dim sum and modern sushi (prepared in front of you), plus a range of Sake cocktails. Its tasty brunch menu comes highly recommended, too. The origins of Asiatiska go back over 65 years: During World War II, a company of Chinese jugglers, who had been performing at the neighbouring Chinese Theatre, missed the food of their home land so much that they opened a Chinese restaurant at Berns, the first in all of Sweden. Visit Berns Asiatiska for more information.

Le Rouge, Gamla Stan – 13-minute walk from Berns

Boasting wonderful fin-de-siècle decadence, this restaurant in the heart of the Old Town (Gamla Stan) holds tradition over and above trendiness. With a plush, red-velvet interior – that somewhat resembles the Moulin Rouge – the restaurant offers dishes, ‘in classic Parisian spirit – with Swedish produce’. Don’t miss the bar next door, Le Bar Rouge, where the its flamboyant hosts and DJs transform it each weekend into a lively party venue. Visit Le Rouge for more information.

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Scandi-bites…

Östermalms Saluhall, Östermalm – 10-minute walk from Berns

This food hall has been the pride of Stockholm’s foodie scene since 1888. A must-see for both the architecture and the counters and shelves packed with local delicacies – such as tinned smoked reindeer, Västerbotten cheese and Lingonberry jam – the food hall is the place to experience Swedish cuisine at its finest, as well as pick up top-quality ingredients to take home. There are also a number of restaurants and cafes with an emphasis on seafood and the classic Swedish fare known as ‘husmanskost’. Visit Ostermalms Saluhall for more information.

Challenging Conventions..

Ekstedt, Östermalm  nine-minute walk from Berns

Running in the opposite direction to the modern Nordic food trend, Ekstedt takes Scandinavian cooking back to its roots. The back-to-basics approach sees the restaurant swap electricity for traditional wood-burning ovens, fire pits and wood stoves. Featured last year on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s UK TV series, Scandimania, which celebrated the evolution of Scandi cuisine, this restaurant is certainly one to watch. Visit Ekstedt for more information.

 

Djuret, Gamla Stan – 15-minute walk from Berns

As the Swedish word for animal, the name is quite fitting for this unique restaurant that only serves one ‘animal’ at a time. Certainly not for vegetarians, Djuret offers the chance to sample the meat from a single animal – in its different cuts and interpretations – over a three or six-course menu. To complement the theme, the restaurant has striking décor, inspired by hunting and butchery, with meat grinders as lamps and targets as art. Visit Djuret for more information.

 

GET A ROOM

Stays at Berns Hotel cost from 1800 SEK / approx. £142 for a standard double (two sharing), including breakfast.Berns’ Concierge has excellent connections throughout the city and can arrange restaurant reservations at the time of your hotel booking.

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At weekends, guests also receive a complimentary VIP wristband that queue-jumps them straight into special treatment at Berns’ own basement nightclub, Gallery 2.35:1, plus top Stockholm clubs Ambassadeur, Hell’s Kitchen, Sturecompagniet, White Room and Spy Bar.

Berns’ concert hallStora Salongen, has hosted the likes of Rihanna, on her infamous 777 tour, and, more recently, Haim, White Lies, Manic Street Preachers, Lykke Li and Angel Haze. George Ezra has just been announced for June 2015 (tickets from £21 pp– hotel-and-concert packages are readily available.

Direct flights start from £44 pp return with Ryanair (Stansted to Stockholm Skavsta). Alternatively, fly direct to Stockholm Arlanda from £80 pp return (Gatwick or Heathrow) with Norwegian.

 

For more informationcall Berns Hotel on 00 468 566 322 00email reservations@berns.se or visitwww.berns.se/en/hotel.

 

 

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SCRUMPTIOUS & AUTHENTIC FOOD AT THE LOBSTER KITCHEN

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Lobster Kitchen is a place where you can taste all kinds of dishes based around the crustacean. Head here if you’re looking for something delightful, authentic and a forkful of Maine.

Lobster Kitchen

In three words: Authentic, Generous, Scrumptious

The Lowdown: A slice of Maine has arrived in London – and it’s the ideal place to come and get a bite to eat in an informal and relaxed surrounding. Think lobster was reserved for fancy-pants restaurants or New England clam bakes? Think again, because now you can chow down on a prime bit of crustacean in surroundings so comfortable that you’ll be vying to return again and again.

After numerous trips to the welcoming and gosh-darn tasty lobster shacks of Maine, co-founders Abi and Valeria decided that London was missing a trick by not embracing quality fish in a friendly atmosphere, and so proceeded to open their own place. What’s more, they’ve gone all out with the authenticity of surroundings.

Location: This little gem can be found on Great Russell street – in an unobtrusive space that’s not incredibly obvious from the street. Look out for the cheerful red lobster on the door and you’ll know you’ve found the right place.

The Occasion: This is the ideal place to head with foody friends, or someone who really appreciates a good bit of lobster meat. Never mind fancy crockery or starched tablecloths – this is all about the cooking and quality. Eschew superfluous additions in favour of thoroughly decent food.

Decor: Lobster Kitchen is thoroughly cheerful and relaxed, channeling a local Maine shack to perfection. Expect bright primary colours on the walls, bleached wood, and a delightful assortment of knick-knacks hanging from the ceiling, including lobster traps and fisherman buoys.

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Atmosphere: With the long, communal tables and open kitchen, this is a place for meeting friends and enjoying a relaxed and casual meal. No reservations are accepted, so it’s a wander-in and grab a seat kind of place. If Lobster Kitchen were transported to New England you could imagine a bearded, wooly-sweater-wearing fisherman opening the door to be greeted by a resounding cheers and everyone raising their glasses.

Culinary Concept: Top quality Maine lobster with no scrimping. The crustacean really gets a chance to shine through, whether in the rolls, tails and salad – the menu is written on the blackboard and can be changed according to what’s on offer.

What we tried:

As soon as we saw Lobster Mac n Cheese on the menu we were sold – and were not disappointed. We half expected it to be speckled with flecks of seafood that added a hint of flavour, but in actual fact were presented with huge meaty chunks nestled within the golden pasta like pieces of treasure. The luscious, spongy lobster and salty, springy macaroni were perfectly balanced and shared the stage.

Lobster thermidor was another stand out dish – large hunks of meat, with the delicate blush-pink outside and snowy white flesh that wasn’t overpowered by the sauce.

A healthier option of Asian lobster with chilli and crunchy vegetables wrapped in Vietnamese rice paper was zingy, fresh, and a perfect no carb option – but the real indulgence is the Lobster Roll of brioche bun cradling succulent hunks of meat.

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For next time: We didn’t get a chance to try ‘The Garlicky One’, so that’s on the cards for next time – and the deep fried clams also looked superb.

Veggie delights: If you eat seafood then you’re in for a real treat, as this place is solely dedicated to these options. If not… the clue is in the name!

Best of the booze: The wines all chosen to complement lobster, and we adored the Kung Fu girl Riesling. Bold, fruity, and with a great body, it worked perfectly with the seafood.  A concise but thorough cocktail list gives an option for tipples such as a Mule and a Blacktop Fizz that mixes Opal nera, gin and Monin strawberry.

Fun Fact: All the lobster traps and buoys on the ceiling are genuine Maine articles, and were transported over from New England. You can almost smell the fresh sea-breeze in the air! There’s also a great app to download – find Lobster Kitchen and you can have fun snapping a Lobster-selfie, while there’s even talk of a game!

Overall: This is genuine, tasty and authentic seafood, served up in a variety of tempting ways. We found the quality to be superb and the portions to be spot on – and any fans of lobster should not be disappointed. It’s nice to also find somewhere that wants to embrace the culture of the food it represents, hence the attention to detail. Visit Lobster Kitchen for a real taste of New England warmth and hospitality, with the benefit of delectable dishes to boot.
111 Great Russell Street, WC1B3NQ
+44 20 7300 3324
www.lobsterkitchen.co.uk
@lobsterkitchen

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