How far can it possibly be? Quite a walk, it turns out, as our smartphone GPS directed us down street after street lined with little pastel-coloured boxes.
The eatery in question is in Långbro, a residential area outside of Älvsjö, and despite being somewhat off-piste, it has become the talk of the town. You’d never know to look for one of Stockholm’s culinary pearls here, hidden behind an interior store housed in a building that hosted a former Konsum store.
It is here, four buildings down, that chef Niclas Jönsson (previously at F12 and Lux) grew up. Returning to his roots and bringing along chef Daniel Höglander (Esperanto), he opened up Aloë, a restaurant far removed from the inner city’s trend-abiding venues.
Aloë is like stepping into a home, rather than a restaurant. Designed by vintage interior store Dusty Deco, the space features a grand open kitchen, a lounge area and several dining tables spread out in the generous and cosy space. We’re thrilled to be seated at the kitchen counter bar, where we can ogle the team of highly-concentrated chefs at work.
The set menu (1 095 kronor) and accompanying beverage menu (895 kronor) starts of with a prologue – a delicately-perfumed frotté and an intensely chlorophyll-flavoured cilantro and shiso masterstock. Next, a series of hors d’oeuvres follow, including a tiny bowl of roasted fishbone chawanmushi egg custard served with a small horn spoon, and a chestnut flour pancake with maple syrup butter and miso. This ambitious start is a flavourful knockout – we temporarily feel at a loss for words, sporting huge, satisfied grins across our faces. This level of gastronomy can’t possibly be maintained throughout all 19 dishes, right?
Working our way through the menu’s three so-called ‘caputs’ – chapters – there are references from all across the globe. We’re treated to dishes such as Galician cockles and squid, foie gras with Tahini, curry eggs and truffle and langoustine with smoked yolks, passion fruit and sambal badjak, to name a few. Although inspiration clearly comes from near and far, a common thread throughout is a relaxed and fearless attitude towards intense flavours.
Moving over to one of the sofas, we finish our meal with a grandiose ‘epilogue’ of desserts and sweets: a pistachio cake with figues and orange blossom water, clafoutis with toffee pears, and a small crème caramel.
What fascinates us most about Aloë is how the kitchen manages to retain our excitement and curiosity for every single new dish they put in front of us. Aside from a tiny dip in the form of a grilled lamb, Aloë treats us to a dining feast we’ve rarely encountered. We are completely floored by the meal and take the long walk back to Älvsjö station in silence, trying to process and wrap our heads around the magnificent experience we’ve just had.
Svartlösavägen 51, Älvsjö
08 556 361 68