What’s the top of the mind dish when you think about Sweden? IKEA Meatballs. Most Asians (generalizing a bit here, perhaps Southeast Asians then) would definitely agree. Right? Bingo. But of course Ikea isn’t the only place where you can get to eat decent Swedish meatballs. There are plenty of restaurants that proclaim how good they’re in making “traditional Swedish meatballs” too. You do notice that anything that comes with the word “traditional” seems to resonate well with customers immediately. Think about traditional kimchi, traditional liege waffles vs just kimchi and liege waffles. Makes a whole lot of difference yeah? But who knows if they’re indeed traditional? Then again, who cares as long as it’s good.
This place has in fact not-so-good meatballs, unfortunately. Well it could very well be subjective considering the fact that it is a well-known place and highly recommended on trip advisor.
Walking along the streets of the old town at Galma Stan in Stockholm, you get to see rows and rows of cafes, restaurants and bars. Some hidden among the labyrinths that make the old town more complicated than it should be. But anyhow I managed to find my way to this well-known sorta fine dining restaurant, Kaffegillet.
Mind you, I actually had a hard time finding it. Google Maps doesn’t work particularly well here. So if you’re interested to go, SPOT THIS INSTEAD.
Tada! It seems easy to find but when you’re actually walking under the red shelter, there’s hardly and signage that tells your what the restaurant is. That’s challenge #l: SPOT THE RESTAURANT.
Challenge #2: find the right thing to eat. That’s precisely why you’re reading this post right? Mind you the prices are not cheap. BUT ITS STOCKHOLM! Nothing is cheap, but some things are worth paying for, some arent.
#1 Worth the price = service. SUPER MEGA FRIENDLY waiter. He even offered to place my coat properly when I just didn’t bother about it and threw it in an anyhow fashion on the chair. He also offered to put my bag nicely. Maybe cos the restaurant was empty, except for this one couple that sat beside me.
#2 Worth the price= ambience. A very quiet place, good place for your first date. You can basically “own” the restaurant without booking it. It’s not well lit, all for the sake of having a rather romantic-feel.
#3 Worth the price= this dish.
It’s reindeer. Sorry Rudolph, I’m eating you again. This melts in your mouth, like cheese right out of the oven. And it comes with cottage cheese too, if I hadn’t remembered wrongly, hidden beneath the thin slices of reindeer meat (see the issue with not-so-memorable meals is that you really don’t remember things from that place? Blame it on the food, not the customer!)
Nevertheless the ligonberries go well with the smoked reindeer, and you gotta eat all 3 at once. The rocket+reindeer+cheese in 1 mouthful. That’s how u don’t get overwhelmed by the smoked meat taste or the relatively pungent smell of rocket, if eaten separately. Then wash it off with ligonberries if you wish and start it the combination again.
Ok, main dish.
Swedish meatballs. I actually think the ones in Ikea is even better than this? It’s rather soggy, and tasteless. Meatballs IMO are best when springy and bouncy. The brown sauce was too watery, it was almost non-existent. When you actually try to get the sauce up with the meatball, it’s as though the gravy is a stubborn little kid, refusing to get onto the school bus. The gravy seems to glide off the meat, repelling itself away from the meatball and lands itself right back onto the plate like how a loyal puppy dog runs to its owner when he comes home. What a tiring meal.
Nevertheless, the bread was awesome. Warm, crunchy crust with a soft inside. The warm bread melts the butter to the right temperature and kickstarts your dinner pretty well, until of cos when the main course arrives, you run into some issues with meatballs and sauce.
All in all, a very pleasant experience(more from the staff service and quietness and tranquility of the place) than the food itself, which is pricey . Be prepared to spend more than 400Sek there per pax, that’s around slightly less than £40 pounds, for a not so decent meal.
I’ve enough of Gamla Stan. No more meatballs for now. Shoo. But I’ll welcome more reindeers with open arms.