Dinner at Sannas:
Looking around the dining room at Sannas, a quaint yet elegant space with panelled walls and perforated plates of copper in the ceiling, the pieces of the puzzle instantly fall into place. The clientele on this particular Saturday evening is a who’s who in the claustrophobically small Stockholm media and fashion scene. No wonder securing a table for the evening was such an ordeal.
Behind me, the Stockholm-based art director that has been making a name for himself in Paris. A few tables over to my left, the city’s most seminal PR executive chit-chatting with one of his many BFF’s, a former starlet that that just got off a long-haul flight from Los Angeles, her current city of residence. The list goes on and on. It wouldn’t come as a surprise if the model in and photographer behind the large, black and white fashion image on the wall – model Mini Andén and photographer Michael Jansson – were the next two guests to step in from the cold. And the reason for all this ruckus? Susanne Rönn, matriarch of the modelling world and one half of the duo behind Stockholm-based model agency Mikas, who is now fulfilling her life-long dream to run a neighbourhood restaurant. With days starting at 8.00 and running well past midnight, Rönn assures me she isn’t letting any of her commitments falter – she is as much part of the significant business decisions at Mikas, as she is in the running of her eponymously named restaurant.
The starters – an artichoke salad with parsley, lemon, garlic and roasted almonds (145 kronor), a pork belly salad with caramelized figs, goats cheese and hazelnuts (165 kronor) and a plate of tiny, fresh of the grill bleaks (155 kronor) – are bang on target when it comes to mirroring the kitchen’s culinary philosophy. Head of kitchen Andy Boman has, after many years abroad, returned to Sweden with a vision of homey, unpretentious food prepared using seasonal ingredients. Paired with great wines, Sannas is to become a family room where dinner is always cooking on the stove. Influences are primarily sourced from the Mediterranean, but Peru, Asia and of course Sweden also permeate the dishes solidly – like a wallop of distinct and powerful flavours when they reach the taste buds. It is all very gratifying.
The fatted veal entrecote main, served with Madeira gravy and a halved, grilled artichoke (295 kronor) looks like it came straight out of the kitchen in a Parisian bistro. It also tastes just so, as the carefully-selected cut of meat is cooked just right. The mushroom and truffle risotto (205 kronor) is a nod to the Italian kitchen and served in a delightfully deep plate. It is a pot of smouldering and gooey comfort food that is just impossible to stop forking from.
If it weren’t for the urge to delve even deeper into the familiar setting that Rönn has created here, I would probably cut the meal short at this time. After the many hefty, butter and oil-heavy dishes I’ve dined on, there just isn’t much room left for that sweet tooth of mine. But I oppose my gut feeling and get an order of ‘marrängsviss’ (155 kronor) – Eton mess – a dessert that for many a Swede is synonymous with childhood, carelessness and comfort.
As the hour approaches midnight, Rönn – lovingly nick-named Sanna by many of the restaurant’s patrons – makes a final round between the tables. She flashes a smile in my direction and for a short moment I feel like I, too, am part of this motley family. Only time will tell if I’ll ever be on a nickname basis with miss Rönn.
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