A foreign affair

January 7, 2013 | Words: Elna Nykänen Andersson

thai food

This winter, Stockholm is getting a new addition to its already-bubbling Asian food scene. Tomi Björck, one of Finland’s hottest chefs, is bringing his Farang restaurant to the city, together with his partners Matti Wikberg and Kim Öhman. Farang has been one of Helsinki’s most talked-about eateries ever since it opened in 2009 and in 2011, it was chosen as the country’s best restaurant.

Farang is a Thai word for foreigners and all the three chefs have been exactly that for much of their careers. Björck and Wikberg have both worked at Sydney’s Longrain restaurant, known for its high-end South Asian food, while Öhman has gathered experiences from Sydney restaurant Quay and The Fat Duck in the UK, among others.

Their combined travels resulted in Farang, where hot, sour, sweet and salty elements combine into top-class gastronomy, but without the stiffness of fine dining restaurants.

After Farang’s success on home turf, Björck and the team are now ready to introduce their creation to Stockholmers. The whole team is abandoning Finland and the restaurants there  to live in Stockholm for three months and supervise the introduction o of a new establishment of the same name.

“The concept will be more or less the same as in Helsinki, but in Stockholm, we’ll be able to do some things that haven’t been possible in Finland, simply because the availability of certain ingredients is so much better in Sweden,” says Björck. “I’m especially thinking about the seafood; fish, crabs, lobster and the Swedish oysters, which I’ve just tasted. Seafood goes perfectly together with many of the elements in our cooking, such as lime and lemongrass. I can’t wait to get started.”

The chefs at Farang prepare everything from scratch, including curry pastes and sauces which, according to Björck will make the restaurant stand out among Stockholm’s other Asians.

“It’s about the freshness, the amount of fresh herbs, top ingredients. Taste, taste and taste,” Björck lists. “It will become apparent when you taste for instance our soft crab with green mango and mint.”

In the future, Björck dreams of taking Farang to other countries – and Stockholm seemed like the perfect place to start.

“All of us have some family here, and Stockholm currently lacks a place like Farang. We’ll be making our own addition to the city’s already fine restaurant culture,” he says.

Farang opens in February at the former Stockholm Elektricitetsverk’s factory on Tulegatan 7.

Whole in one?

When the people behind three of the city’s best and most iconic restaurants – Sturehof, Riche and Teatergrillen – open a new venue, expectations are high.

Taverna Brillo (the name is Italian and means “I shine”) is certainly ambitious; the restaurant features a large dining room where Italian food is served, surrounded by a host of small shops and bars.

The main restaurant has a menu consisting of snacks, starters, mains and desserts – you’ll find classics such as spaghetti Bolognese and macaroni with cheese and truffles, along with some more surprising features such as pizzas with clams, mint, coriander, chili and lime, or rosehip soup with lemongrass-ginger sorbet. The pizzas can also be taken out or eaten on the go at the pizza shop.

A bakery churns out everything from walnut and fruit breads to cinnamon buns, a delicatessen sells meatballs, pastas and other foods to go and a charcuterie offers cured meats and cheeses, which can also be enjoyed at the spot with a glass of wine. There are also two bars – a low-key cocktail bar and a louder music bar that targets a younger audience – as well as an ice-cream parlour and a flower shop.

Fäviken – The Book

faviken

Nordic cooking is hot and its brightest star at the moment is Magnus Nilsson from Fäviken Magasinet. In his small but exclusive restaurant, located in a cosy, remote old barn in Järpen, northern Sweden, he serves dishes such as fire-roasted black grouse in hay or diced cow’s heart with marrowbone – food that has charmed food critics all over the world.

Now, Phaidon has published Nilsson’s first cook book, simply named Fäviken. It’s a collection of narrative texts, photographs and recipes that explain his approach to sourcing and cooking with ingredients that are farmed and hunted in the immediate vicinity of the restaurant, and how he creates a seasonal cycle of menus based on them. Nilsson’s demanding recipes may not be very easy for the home cook to reproduce but they do serve, as does the whole book, as great inspiration.

As Nilsson puts it in the book: “I like to believe that what we do not only gives people pleasure in the moment, but also helps them to rediscover their connection with nature and their place in the world – a connection which is becoming more and more distant for many of us.”


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