Elias Kvarning from Riri.

Elias Kvarning from Riri.
Photo provided

The neo-bistro trend is back in Stockholm

A new neo-bistro trend is transforming Stockholm's restaurant scene. Michelin-trained chefs are offering delicious, affordable dishes, democratizing gourmet dining and setting new standards in quality and creativity.

In recent years, the closure of several of Sweden's Michelin-starred restaurants has significantly shaken up the country's dining scene. The first to close was Fäviken, followed by Oaxen Krog, Gastrologik, and Agrikultur. However, from the ashes of these prestigious establishments, many talented chefs have gone on to open their own bistro-style restaurants, each focusing strongly on quality in both ingredients and culinary execution. Furthermore, there's a dedicated commitment to curating exceptional wine lists.

The neo-bistro movement, also known as bistronomy, originated in Paris. This concept saw young chefs moving away from the traditional fine dining model to work with seasonal ingredients in a more relaxed, creative atmosphere, embracing global culinary influences. Many chefs who have emerged over the past two decades have been trained in the New Nordic cuisine movement, with iconic establishments like Noma and Fäviken as guiding lights. This shift towards a more relaxed, creative, and personalised approach, along with more flexible working hours, has fuelled the popularity of the neo-bistro trend. Here are three newly opened bistro restaurants that have quickly become the talk of the town in Stockholm.

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Bord – Centred Around the Woodfire Oven

Restaurant Bord has swiftly become a favourite spot for the city's foodies and restaurateurs. Located in the former premises of the Michelin-starred Agrikultur, restaurateur Joel Aronsson has crafted an oasis for those seeking a lively, intimate, and flavourful dining experience. The heart of Bord is centred around the woodfire grill, where the chefs cook food and bake baguettes.

Chef-owner Joel Aronsson boasts an impressive background, having worked at establishments such as Krakas Krog on the island of Gotland and Fäviken Magasin. He worked intermittently at Fäviken for eight years until it closed in 2019, and he continues to source ingredients from Undersåkers Chark outside Östersund, a trusted supplier since his Fäviken days.

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Initially focused on fine dining and tasting menus, Aronsson completely shifted his concept to à la carte after guest-cooking at Early June in Paris, where he had the opportunity to create his own menu. This new approach is more flexible and spontaneous, driven by the ingredients available. Aronsson is not afraid to source small batches of high-quality ingredients; if they run out, they are simply removed from the menu. Prices for guests are set according to the cost of the ingredients. Interestingly, the name Bord, which means 'table' in Swedish, was inspired by the Parisian restaurant Table by Bruno Verjus. Despite the French influences, Aronsson has developed a personal style in his cooking, with signature dishes such as Marulk Provençal, and langoustine with Café de Paris butter. On Saturdays, the opening hours are extended to serve a tasting menu during lunch.

Triton – An Exceptional Trio

Behind restaurant Triton is a talented trio comprising two chefs and a sommelier. Erik Eriksson and Patrik Kling have backgrounds at the two-Michelin-starred Gastrologik, and they are joined by sommelier Adrian Lorenzo, originally from Barcelona, with experience at wine bar Tyge & Sessil and producer Vinstereo.

The restaurant offers a three-course menu created based on the freshest available ingredients, and the wine list is designed to be short but varied. While local ingredients are prioritised, the restaurateurs are not afraid to look beyond Sweden's borders. "The common thread in our cooking is more of a feeling than a style. We work spontaneously, and the food should be freshly cooked. The real challenge happens in the pan and the flavours, and we don't want to complicate what goes on the plate," says Erik Eriksson.

All food at Triton is made from scratch, with pasta frequently appearing in the form of agnolotti or ravioli. Other dishes might include hiramasa with kosho, snap peas, and fermented cream, or chicken with asparagus, capers, and pistachio. The flavours are comfortably elegant, always with an exciting and assured twist. Guests are also welcome to drop by the bar for a glass of wine and to enjoy a dish from the bar menu.

Riri - The Newest Kid in Town

Nestled next to the Bio Rio cinema, restaurant Riri opened just over six months ago and has already garnered rave reviews from the media. The driving force behind this culinary gem is Elias Kvarning, with an impressive background that includes Michelin-starred Fäviken Magasinet and Ett Hem. At Riri, every dish is cooked over an open flame, and the menu, though small, is thoughtfully curated. It was the large open grill that drew Kvarning to the location and inspired him to start his own venture.

"I want to cook à la minute. The taste of freshly grilled food lasts only a short time and is best when it is placed on the table directly," Kvarning explains. Indeed, the chefs at Riri are masters of the open flame, showcasing exceptional skill and finesse. Their focus is on highlighting the natural flavours of ingredients, with standout dishes like whole grilled monkfish served on the bone with the head, and a unique, mouthwatering creation of bone marrow and scallop, served in their respective bone and shell. This signature dish was serendipitously born when the restaurant first opened and had an excess of bone marrow and scallops.

"It’s exciting to find contrasts and push the boundaries of what guests might not be used to," Kvarning adds. Riri is quickly becoming a must-visit destination for food enthusiasts seeking an extraordinary dining experience.

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Tove Oskarsson Henckel
Tove Oskarsson Henckel
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