Holidays! We all love them. A time to zone out, relax and escape the daily grind. Unless you’re a parent of course. In which case the halcyon days of lounging poolside with a cocktail in hand, reading a bestseller from start to finish, catching forty winks or fancy pants dinner evenings are all fond and distant memories. Instead, the reality is more like chasing a frisbee on the beach for the umpteenth time, nap schedules ruling your day or evenings spent watching Netflix in the dark with headphones. Hands up all those who have been there?
Yes, travelling with kids is also very rewarding but it can very quickly feel like you’ve done ten rounds on an assault course before the day is over. Downtime is crucial for parents too, I mean we’re not bloody robots.
When Mr S and I are on holiday, just like at home we always plan date nights. How you ask? Good old local babysitters. Most parents recoil in fear at the thought of a total stranger in a foreign country left with their precious offspring. It really is no different to using a babysitter in your home country, with a bit of research and a change in your own mindset you can eliminate all the worries.
On our travels we tend to book hotels where we can take advantage of babysitting services on offer. In Stockholm we stayed at the Hilton Stockholm Slussen. Hilton’s are great family hotels when on a city break and this particular one had a fantastic location.
If we’re staying at a boutique hotel or apartment with no connected childcare facilities, prior to travelling I always research local sitter companies. Ensure the company has completed necessary background checks on the qualified sitters. I will also ask for a profile of the individual too. I like to know as much information as possible before the sitter arrives.
With a trusted babysitter in place my search for our one date night in the Swedish capital began. The foodie scene is huge in Stockholm with 11 Michelin stars to the city’s name. It’s always tricky to narrow it down to one with so much choice!
After thorough research one restaurant stood head and shoulders above the rest – Gastrologik! Jacob Holmström and Anton Bjuhr channel a contemporary nordic style of gastronomy with a focus on local, seasonal and foraged ingredients at their one Michelin starred restaurant.
Located in the central and chic Östermalm district of Stockholm the understated entrance leads into an elegant, subdued dining room. The white walls, harmonious earth tones and oak floor inject a clean and minimalist feel. Typically Scandinavian, the hanging chic copper lamps add a hint of glamour.
Walking in I was completely captivated by the denim clad, baker cap wearing hipster chefs, meticulously at work in the open plan kitchen. The rather small menu card on the table intrigued us further with only the words Let today’s produce decide.
That’s it. The menu. The End. There is no indication of the courses being served, just two prices and an optional beverage pairing. On the back the chefs provide a small hint on what to expect from the season.
I loved the idea of the food being served as a complete surprise, all tailored to dietary requirements and preferences of course. Now, I’m writing this review a year later, so this will not be a full-blown review of every morsel consumed. Instead I’ll leave you with a photo diary of a few dishes from our extravagantly inventive 18 courses dictated by the seasons. Yeah I know. 18!
Koji pancakes with the years first vegetables, chard and koji salt began the foodie journey. Always a great way to start a meal, when you can get involved with your own dish – especially in a Michelin starred restaurant.
The prettiest dish award went to the broad beans with field roses and hedgehog mushrooms. Almost too good-looking to eat but a sin to dismiss.
The green peas and oysters from Mollösund with pickled onions was eye-catching. My vegetarian version obviously came minus the oyster.
I loved their use of flowers in the dishes, like in this plate of summer greens.
And simplicity at it’s best with cabbage, chard and green tomato juice.
The Swedish new potatoes with chanterelles and dill pulled at the heartstrings of my potato obsession.
A plate of kale with black garlic and onions, took the leafy green to new heights.
Mr S revelled in his turbot with truffle algeas and onions.
The desserts made up the last five courses. Starting with this dreamy Swedish version of tarte tatin.
The Löfsta blå with baked rhubarb from Gotland was another handsome dish. Now I’m going to be honest, I don’t have a clue what Löfsta blå actually is! Any Swedish friends out there who can enlighten me, please do. Looks dreamy though, right? It matched it’s dreamy looks in the taste department too!
Oh and yes that’s a greasy thumb mark on the bottom of the lens, but I feel it adds to the whole dreamy look we were aiming for with the desserts shoot.
Gastrologik gives its diners a dynamic and modern culinary journey. The innovative techniques, celebration of local seasonal produce and the use of simple ingredients, makes every meal here different.
Also, don’t fear the huge number of courses. The dishes are small so we didn’t feel like we were being rolled out, but walked out pleasantly satisfied. Always a plus when you’re dining on a multitude of courses.
With only 30 seats, make sure you book well in advance for this Scandinavian gastronomic adventure. If you don’t manage to bag a table here, try their casual bistro next door Speceriet.
Do you use babysitters when abroad? Would you consider it after reading this post? Let me know in the comments box below.
Gastrologik | Artillerigatan 14 | 114 51 Stockholm | Sweden
Below are more posts from my Stockholm adventures:
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