On my recent trip to Lapland, I had a few hours in Stockholm the night before I flew there. I was determined to find somewhere local, interesting and good that might give me an insight to their food culture. Always my three objectives, I am not always successful when I have only one option, this time, however, it was a resounding success.
Bakfickan – translated as the Hip Pocket – and meaning the small place behind the posh place basically, is embedded in the back of the Opera House next to its more formal and higher end sibling, Operabaren. It’s known for serving traditional Swedish food although there is clearly a strong French influence on the food here too. The two restaurants share a kitchen – although not a menu – at significantly different prices. It was definitely the one to try.
A large counter dominates and staff busy themselves behind, swiftly and efficiently deploying food and drinks to the diners seated around them. It feels very old school with formal service but also very relaxed. Rustic food with attention to detail appears here, lots of flavours and contrasts but with tenderness too.
I opted for the Uppsala Stew, tasting like a refined Irish stew with lighter glistening stock, gorgeous tender brisket and a sprinkling of fresh horseradish which livened it up. Root vegetables and sweet anka potatoes added sweetness and bulk. It was a delicious and comforting plate of food.
My dining companions had fried trout with lemon, creamed leeks and potatoes and the haché, I tried them both and they were excellent plates of food. The chips that came with the haché deserve a special mention as they were perfect (a rarity in most restaurants) with crispy outsides and hot fluffy interiors.
Sweden is famous for expensive alcohol, and Bakfickan is no exception. I opted for an ordinary enough glass of Cotes du Ventoux which cost about £8/9 per glass, about twice what I would expect to pay in London. But it’s not London, it’s Sweden, so I indulged but just had one. I find it impossible to eat out and not have wine with dinner, what wouldbe the point?
And that was it, a brief but gorgeous sample of what Bakfickan has to offer. I’ll definitely go back, if only to sample the deep-fried sweetbreads with apples and truffle mayonnaise, and also pay a visit to the haughtier sibling next door.
Bakfickan, Operahuset, Karl XII:S torg, Box 1616, SE-111 86 Stockholm
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