Swedish meatballs and pickled herring are Sweden's best known dishes. But if pickled herring is an acquired taste, everyone loves Swedish meatballs. How will those served in Stockholm compare to those served at Ikea?
It was my seventh day in Sweden, and I had yet to sample Swedish cuisine – except for the creamy potato salad I had purchased at the supermarket.
Eating out in Stockholm is outrageously expensive, but supermarket prices are actually quite reasonable.
Because I’m in Sweden for four weeks and I rented a flat with a kitchen, I’ve been eating most meals at home.
Wasn't it time to give Swedish food a try?
I was headed to Gamla Stan, a.k.a. Old Town, where I had planned to have lunch at a Swedish restaurant I had seen the day before.
On my way through the Norrmalm section, however, I was attracted by an attractive eatery with outdoor seating called Brasserie Vau du Ville.
From the name I should have known that it was French restaurant. When I saw kottbullar, a.k.a. Swedish meatballs, on the menu, however, I decided to take a seat.
The restaurant was full, always a good sign.
Brasserie Vau du Ville
The restaurant has a short menu of fewer than 10 dishes at lunch. The dinner menu has a few more choices.
In addition to Swedish meatballs, the only other Swedish dish on the menu was Toast Skagen, a traditional Swedish dish with fresh bleakroe, dill and lemon.
Other dishes appeared to be French: fried steak tartar, a minute steak in Béarnaise, grilled tuna, steamed mussels, and entrecote: char-grilled rib eye steak.
There was also a salad and a vegetarian dish plus one dessert: French chocolate cake with vanilla crème and fresh berries.
Prices ran from 145 krona for the daily special to 325 krona for the entrecote at lunch, running up to 365 krona for the beef tenderloin at dinner.
I ordered Swedish meatballs, which are, essentially, equal parts of ground beef and ground pork, onions, nutmeg, and allspice with a creamy sauce based on sour cream.
This restaurant’s version was served with velvety mashed potatoes, paper thin pickled cucumber, and pungent lingonberries.
And let me tell you, these Swedish meatballs were a far cry from the Swedish meatballs served at Ikea!
The lingonberries did for the meatballs what cranberry sauce does for turkey – add punch. And I LOVED those paper thin pickled cucumbers!
The food was yummy, my order practically flew out of the outdoor kitchen, and the ambience was both sophisticated and relaxed.
Regarding the price, well, this is Sweden.
While the service was professional, it took a ridiculously long time for the waiter to first bring me my bill and then take payment for my meal.
Otherwise it was a very enjoyable introduction to Swedish cookery.