Robin Moderato

| Words: Elna Nykänen Andersson

With several new projects on the horizon, Robin Moderato is about to liven up Stockholm’s restaurant scene. You might not have heard of him, but you’ve probably heard of – or visited – one of his restaurants. Together with his companions Kristofer Sandström and Christian Olsson, he owns the consistently popular steakhouse Vassa Eggen, as well as the stylishly rustic deli chain Albert & Jack’s. Recently, the trio acquired the legendary Tennstopet in Vasastan and in March, their latest venture Boqueria will open in the new shopping gallery Mood Stockholm.

Why such a sudden expansion?
Boqueria is a project that we’ve been planning for several years. We’ve just been looking for a suitable location, so when this opportunity with Mood Stockholm came up, we decided to seize it. Tennstopet is restaurant we’ve always liked, and it’s the same thing there: it was an opportunity we didn’t want to miss.

Tell us about Boqueria.
It’s a Spanish restaurant where we’ll be serving tapas and pintxos, and the atmosphere will be a bit like in a big market hall. Boqueria will have two sections; the restaurant, where we’ll be serving lunch and dinner, and Torget, a restaurant square, where you’ll be able to eat from breakfast until late evening. There’s also a bar, and on weekends, we close at 2 am. The price span will be pretty wide: you can just drop in for a glass of wine and some tapas, but if you want to splurge, you’ll be able to do that, too.

Tennstopet is such a Stockholm classic – are you planning changes there?
We want to strengthen and build on the cultural traditions at Tennstopet, both its culinary legacy and the unique interior. We’ve kept all the staff. This is nothing that we’re going to rush. But there will be some changes; for instance, we’ll start serving lunches, and we’ll be developing the bar. In the long run, given the natural generation shift in the customer base, we’re keen to introduce a new generation of people to the Swedish culinary traditions.

What do you think about Stockholm’s restaurant scene in general?
The standard is generally high. There are lots of new places opening, and over the past five to ten years, people have started to eat out more. And they haven’t stopped, despite the financial crisis; we at least have managed this period quite well. In Stockholm, you can’t afford to do anything half-heartedly. The competition is fierce, and if you’re not good enough, you won’t last long.

What makes a successful restaurant?
In the end, it’s about creating a comfortable atmosphere. It’s not just about the food, not just about the interior or the staff; it’s the whole package. And if you succeed with that, you’ve got a winner.