Friday, 21 November 2014

Dining and w(h)ining in Stockholm: Boqueria

I love going to Sweden. But it can get confusing. First there's the time difference. For the life of me I can't understand how a mere hour can be so troublesome - especially for someone equipped with at least average mental capacity who's travelled extensively in over 30 countries. And has a smart phone which automatically changes time zones! But it can: one's never quite sure what time it is. On which timezone. So, I have a suggestion! How about we all move to a one-time zone-era? And just to be on the safe side let's make that one hour ahead of everybody else!

Another is the currency. See, they stubbornly stick to their own. Which is not euro. So, one should have some cash on hand just in case (read: for that token tunnbrödsrulla). But as I find myself at the cash point, sweating over exchange rates and desperately trying to minimize the amount of leftover crowns I'll have no use for back home I always get so cheap I withdraw the absolute minimum. Like, 50 crowns. For which I then pay €2,50 fee along with a commission. Only to realize I've actually only withdrawn about €4,50. Which won't get one anywhere in these parts of the world. Don't you worry though- I have a solution for this one, too! Yes: a global currency! Personally I'm all for Sao Tomean dobras. Not just because it sounds fun, but also because I'd love to finally know what it's like to be a millionaire ( 100 € = 2 463 390,66 STD).

And then there's the issue of language. Which I don't actually have any issues with at all. One of my favourite things in Stockholm is playing a game "I can do it too!" I speak to them in my Swedish, they pretend to understand it, talk to me back in what probably is Swedish and then I nod and smile and pretend to understand. Jättekul! (which, by the way, is Swedish for "so cool")

But weekends turn already fun Stockholm into something even more fun as brunches take over the cafes and restaurants. Nobody seems to eat at home and every place is packed with jolly families and groups of friends. Which also means that the queues to toilets are an absolute nightmare...

For Dagen's Nyheter's (the biggest daily) brunch recommendations please see here and for What's Up STHML's tips click away to here. And hey - there's even a petanque brunch!

Having already sampled Hotel Mornington's calm and classic brunch on an earlier trip I still had the Holy Grail of the brunches to conquer. Bern's Asian brunch is nothing short of legendary what with about 300 different dishes. But unfortunately it was sold out for this Saturday, too. That's something you should bear in mind where ever you go: make a reservation. Well in advance.

For us The Boy Next Door chose Boqueria, a hip tapas restaurant located on Jakobsberggatan in Östermalm.  Good job we had that reservation - the place was packed beyond belief. I don't think I've ever been to a restaurant that busy which wasn't really conducive to any relaxation which was sorely needed after the whirlwind tour of Stockholm we'd just completed. That is also probably to blame for the fact that the some of the orders didn't exactly go to plan. The waiter kept a brave smile on his face the whole time though.

Luckily we didn't have to brave a buffet table and a fight for the last bits of coagulated scramble - everything was served to the (minuscule) table of ours. On weekends there are seven brunchier options to compliment the regular tapas menu.

And so we ordered...

From the brunch list we had Scrambled Egg Chorizo and Eggs Benedict - that classic yardstick of brunch foods.

The scramble was loose and creamy but bland. Chorizo on the other had was packed with taste (salt and fat). Eggs Benedict was depressingly served on a piece of toast. Use of salt was on the stingy side throughout the menu and Hollandaise too could have used some more.

From tapas menu or absolute favourite was salt & pepper squid. We ordered another one as soon as we'd polished off the first one.

Papas fritas could have used a bit more cruch (and salt). But nice nonetheless.

Even moule classic suffered from lack of salt though usually with mussles it tends to be the other way around. Didn't bother The Boy though - it was one of his favourites. 

the beans in Chistorra & beans tasted generic and the tomato sauce something straight out of a tube. Chistorra, a chorizo-style sausage form Basque country on the other hand was jolly good.

Tortilla Española was too busy to find its way to our table and pata negra and salsichón iberico that were sold as bellota certainly didn't convince us. They were good alright and might have come from iberico for all we know but they sure lacked the depth in colour  and taste that usually accompanies bellota, owing to its nothing but acorns-diet. Shame we were in too much of a hurry to ask them to check it - bellota was double the price of a regular jamón after all. 

Orangey Crema Catalana we had for dessert was sheer perfection. Perfect sugar crust and a divine custard filling with just the right amount of orange. Had we not been in a rush to catch the taxi I would have had another for sure.

With pitcher of Sangria the feast set us back 1120 Swedish money - roughly €122. 

I do like the place though. Rustic chic setting, delightfully authentic ingredients, equally authentic, no fuss-way of serving them, good size portions... good vibe. I would go again. During a less busier service. 





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