On a daily basis, Swedish chefs Niklas Ekstedt and Gustav Otterberg show astonishing creativity as they produce elegant yet rustic food using long-lost cooking techniques and burning wood as their only source of heat. Precisely the opposite of molecular, modernist or futuristic gastronomy, today the Michelin guide recognised the extraordinary restaurant experience delivered by the team, awarding EKSTEDT its first Michelin star.
“In my whole life a phone call has never made me so happy before. Michelin Guide you have really understood what I want to show the world. The open fire has no limitations! ” Niklas Ekstedt
Since opening in November 2011, Restaurant EKSTEDT has received numerous awards for its way of presenting and preparing food. But it’s not an easy task managing the right amount of wood to maintain the perfect heat for each exquisite ingredient. Everything on the menu, from Chimney-smoked lobster tail, Reindeer baked on glowing wood to Cloudberries served with sourdough waffles, is cooked over the restaurant’s magnificent fire pit, in the wood-fired oven or on top of the wood burning stove. No electric cookers, no gas-burners. The chefs also only use Scandinavian wood in order to give the food a truly unique character – one you can’t get anywhere else in the world.
“You can create minor miracles with fire, smoke, ashes and soot.” Niklas Ekstedt
A set menu, consisting of three or five courses, includes seasonal offerings of the region’s finest meat, seafood, fish, game and vegetables. Trademarks of the Nordic palate such as lingonberries, wild herbs, pine and wild mushrooms are transformed as ancient traditions meet modern Swedish cuisine. The wine list is just as ambitious – unique and as natural as possible to match the natural flavours of the food.
“Cooking over flame could imply the naffness and coarseness of the burnt and sweet blokey barbeque or it could be the companionship of a camp fire, but a flame is where all kitchens start and things here are carefully and properly roasted, which gives them a piquancy that you don’t get by baking in an oven. It is both fundamental and inventive. I particularly like the char in hay with smoked butter and the chimney-smoked lobster. Kitchens that get obsessed with one thing or technique can show off their limitations rather than their possibilities, but Ekstedt has a light hand with the smoke and the flame and a clever menu!” AA Gill, March 2013.
Situated in the heart of Stockholm, the interior is Scandinavian design at its best and takes inspiration from Niklas Ekstedt’s roots in both Jämtland in northern Sweden and Skåne in the south. In the restaurant’s warm and inviting atmosphere, guests can watch the chefs work by the magnificent fire pit where every order is prepared à la minute. Dinner at EKSTEDT is more than a meal, it’s a life experience. And it’s sizzling hot.
Earlier this year, EKSTEDT was also named second in a ’Ten Hottest Restaurants in the World’ list compiled by prestigious restaurant guide Zagat.
“Chef Niklas Ekstedt’s CV is full of gigs as buzzy as his latest eatery, including stints at El Bulli, The Fat Duck and the now-shuttered Charlie Trotter’s. But for the toque’s second and newest Stockholm eatery, he’s going back to basics – cooking all of its fare over a Scandinavian open flame. The result? You can barely get into the place, natch.” Zagat, January 2013
NIKLAS EKSTEDT BIOGRAPHY
Born in 1978, Niklas was hailed a gastronomic Wunderkind when he opened his first restaurant at the age of 21. “Restaurang Niklas” in Helsingborg, a town in the south of Sweden, was an immediate success and won several awards. With characteristic energy, he celebrated his accomplishment with the opening of a summer restaurant in nearby Viken, a village by the sea; “Niklas i Viken”.
Six years later, Niklas decided it was time to move to Stockholm and opened “1900”, focusing on Swedish ingredients and local traditional cuisine with a modern twist. It has since changed both its name to “Niklas” and its direction to an international outlook.
In search of further challenges, Niklas conceived the bold idea of creating a cuisine using no electricity at all, only flames. After a number of technical issues “EKSTEDT” opened in 2011. Soon after, the restaurant was pronounced a smoking success and considered the talk of the town. It still is.
Before starting his own restaurant business, Niklas worked for a number of world renowned chefs, including Charlie Trotter in Chicago, Heston Blumenthal in the UK and carried out a brief internship at Ferran Adrià’s elBulli in Spain.
Niklas partly grew up in Järpen, a small village outside the famous Swedish ski resort of Åre. Following a serious back injury, he decided to forego being a professional snowboarder and chose to pursue his other passion in life- food.
Since 2003, Niklas Ekstedt has hosted a popular cooking show on national Swedish television. He has also written four cookbooks, one of them published in English; “Scandinavian Classics” (Skyhorse Publishing).
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For reservations please contact;
Restaurant EKSTEDT , Humlegårdsgatan 17, 114 46 Stockholm
T +46 (0)8 611 12 10
Photo Credit- PA Jorgensen