Leijontornet, Stockholm

September 6, 2008

Leijontornet, or the Lion Tower, was named after a medieval fortification on this spot which was part of the city wall of Stockholm. Segments of the old stonework protrude in the middle of the restaurant’s cellar dining room. Linda and I went for dinner on August 30, 2008. 

The menu is very small. There are two three-course menus at SKr845 and two extra courses one could add to whichever of the two menus one chooses. However, as you shall see, a lot more comes with the menu than just three courses. We ordered two glasses of Champagne and a bottle of 2004 François Mikulski “Les Santenots” Volnay, which was excellent.

The amuse-gueule was dried char skin, a dried, thin slice of reindeer, dried bacon strips, pork sausages, a scallop lollipop, a dill/lemon mayonnaise and a mayonnaise of cèpes.

Then there was an oyster with peas in a foam.

This was a nice continuation of the starters, but not special.

Two delicious little fresh warm breads were served.

The first course from the menu was

Pilgrimsmussla från Trolla
Sockerstekt pilgrimsmussla med rökt brax, syltade päron, brynt smöremulsion, lingon

Scallop from Trolla
Sugar fried scallops with smoked carp bream, pickled pears, browned butter emulsion, lingonberries

The scallops had a metallic taste. I though that the whole course was a failure, but Linda liked the carp bream, a northern European fresh-water fish.  Although not in the description or the photo, there were some wedges of cèpes, or porcini, in the mixture. They were good. I was surprised to find many Swedish cèpes and chanterelles at the market that morning. I don’t see why the locavore Nordic chefs aren’t using more of them. Here is a photo I took at Stockholm’s Hotorget market.
Then followed an extra course: a tartar of Gotland Musk Ox  prepared at tableside.

It included chopped shallots, scallion greens and pepper. It was served on smoked roe and mayonnaise. It was very good. The meatiness of the musk ox makes a better tartar than beef. The saltiness of the roe is a good match with the meat, as the oyster in the tartar had been the night before at Mathias Dahlgern.

The second menu course followed
Lammsadel från Välnäs
Lammsadel med lammbräss stekt i sandlök, syltade nypon, ölkokt lök med krondill och kort lammbuljong med purjolöksaska
Lamb from Välnäs
Saddle of lamb with lamb sweet breads fried with sand leek, pickled rosehips, onions with beer, dill and lamb stock with burned leak

The lamb had a good flavor; the lamb sweetbreads were nice and crispy. The red rosehips gave just the right contrast. A little googling shows that sandlök, or sand leek, is a wild plant known in England as Crow’s Garlic. Purjolöksaska, translated as “burned leak,” on the menu seems to be a Swedish seasoning of leeks, grilled until they are black, then pulverised with olive oil, salt and sugar. Anyway, the whole dish was a success and seemed very Swedish.
The pre-dessert was
beetroot sorbet
roasted sunflower seeds
buttermilk emulsion, sweet cicily (or Spanish chervil.)

I really liked the beet sorbet. It had a cool sweet and sour flavor that was needed at this point in the meal.
The dessert was
Cloudberries from Vallnäs
Pudding of cloudberries covered with cloudberry jelly, wheat bun filled with cloudberry cream and warm cloudberries.

This was good. Cloudberries are highly regarded in Sweden. Presenting them four ways showed off their delicate tartness.
Finally there were mignardises

There were a poppyseed roll, a shortbread with a berry middle and a spicebread cupcake.

The meal was very enjoyable except for the inexplicable failure of the fish course. I think that Gustav Otterberg, the Head Chef of Leijontornet, has done a better job of presenting a purely Scandinavian haute cuisine than the chefs of the other fine restaurants we have been to on this trip.


3 Responses to “Leijontornet, Stockholm”

  1. Blair Says:

    Whatever setting you had on your camera lock them in. This series of photos looks the best I have seen on your blog. The photo of the scallops looks great.

  2. Erik Says:

    The Purjolöksaska actually more accurately translates to “ashes of leak”.

    It is something I have never seen or even heard or read about. Your calling it Swedish is fine by me, but more than anything it is inventive and new.

    So just to give the chef some credit, it’s a wildly creative seasoning and I’m amazed as to how he came up with it and that it sees to have worked.

  3. Michael Says:

    When I Googled Purjolöksaska, I got four pages of hits, all in Swedish, mostly recipes. Some of them told how to make it, but most just listed Purjolöksaska as an ingredient.

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