Stockholm used to be a conservative culinary destination, filled with fancy restaurants and overcomplicated cuisine. That was until locals in need of a more laidback atmosphere raised their voices (and cutlery) clamoring for a place where they could grab a quick bite and a coffee to go. Luckily a new generation of food entrepreneurs have answered their call and met their demands with big-scale, clever-format enterprises.
Anna Bauer started Broms as a catering business in her cellar seven years ago. When a property developer asked her if she could do something with the ground floor of an old Nordea Bank off Karlaplan, she leapt at the opportunity. The result is a multi-faceted food establishment with everything from fresh produce and Broms-branded dry goods at the corner entrance to a selection of top-notch cured meats, cheeses, delightful baked goods and a full restaurant too.
Bauer spent time abroad and credits the influence of London and New York. When she returned to Stockholm eight years ago, she found herself lacking a place where she could go at any hour and spend time over a late lunch.
“Sweden has been extremely conservative about food,” says Bauer. “My vision is to meet the demands of everyone’s lives. Chefs shouldn’t decide what time people are supposed to eat.”
Rotisserie chicken with root vegetables and mixed salad
The chicken comes with two sauces, such as kimchi mayonnaise and lemon crème fraîche
Crispy bread baked in sheets of wholegrain goodness.
Cinnamon and cardamom buns
These staples of Swedish coffee breaks are baked on site.
Taverna Brillo is a space of many dimensions, from low-lit corridors to a glass-ceilinged atrium with a 150-year-old olive tree. The Jonas Bohlin-designed interiors incorporate art throughout, from a commissioned carpet to sculptures.
Set in the well-heeled neighbourhood of Östermalm, the multi-function space seeks to elevate Swedish notions about food retail. It includes a bakery (chief baker Håkan Johansson represents Sweden in the international Bakery Masters competition), a ready-meals section, delicatessen, gelateria, pizzeria and a flower shop, with a larger, more formal dining room and restaurant at its centre – all open until 02.00 on most days.
“People are still changing their attitudes towards eating out and ready-made meals,” says owner PG Nilsson. “The change is now picking up pace. People are very focused on quality today.”
Brick-oven-baked pizza with chanterelles, bacon, lardons and svecia cheese
The pizza menu revolves around seasonal ingredients – in this case chanterelles.
Blackcurrant sorbet with pistachio gelato
A combination of Nordic punch and Italian sweetness.
Surströmming is fermented Baltic herring.
K25 is an all-new take on the “food hall” in Stockholm, a testament to the gap it fills in the market. Here customers, many of whom come from nearby offices, have access to a dozen high-quality food businesses located under a bridge crossing over Kungsgatan in the centre of Stockholm.
There are nine restaurants plus a coffee shop and a bakery – handpicked by owner Ricard Constantinou, a food-focused entrepreneur whose parents emigrated to Sweden from Greece.
Food options include sushi, Greek and Turkish food, Chinese dumplings, burgers and baked goods from renowned bakery Fabrique. “Stockholm has developed some interesting restaurants during the past 10 to 15 years,” he says. “But a food hall like K25 didn’t exist and I thought it was important to show you can serve food in an alternative way.”
One of the main goals at K25 is to entice people to take their food to go, and many of the items for sale are packaged accordingly, for portability. They have to do that because there isn’t enough space for everyone to dine – according to Constantinou, they’re up to a 35 per cent takeaway rate.
Burger with cheddar and bacon from Lilla Vigårda
Vigårda cooks up some of the best burgers in Stockholm.
Pour-over black coffee from Kura Café
The New Zealanders running Kura use Geisha coffee beans from the Hacienda La Esmeralda in Panamá.
Räksmörgas prawn sandwich from Lisapåväg
You can’t go wrong with this.