Rutabaga Vegetarian Restaurant — Stockholm, Sweden
*We were kindly hosted by Visit Sweden during our entire stay in the country but all words, pictures and opinions are our own.*
Please excuse the lack of visual stimulation in this post but a) our visit to Rutabaga was on a busy Friday night and we couldn’t bring ourselves to interrupt everyone’s evening by taking pictures b) we only had our phones with us and c) the most important of all — we were far too busy enjoying our culinary journey to document it. BUT our experience had such an impact on us that we really felt we had to feature it here whether we have fancy pictures or not.
Rutabaga is a vegetarian restaurant tucked in the east wing of the Grand Hôtel in Stockholm and is the handiwork of esteemed Swedish chef Mathias Dahlgren — he also created the Michelin-starred restaurant (self-titled) which is a stone’s throw away from Rutabaga sitting just next door.
The restaurant offers 2 menus, a large and a small (everyone on the table has to choose the same size) and we were treated to the large which is a 7 course dining experience plus a few wine pairings to go with it. Some of the plates are for sharing and the seating is arranged so that we sat next to one another which made the whole thing feel very comfortable and somehow much less formal… a notion that we think makes fine dining much more likeable.
Our favourite dishes were the ‘snacks’ which were our introduction into the cooking at Rutabaga; a silky smooth chanterelle broth, barely-blanched sesame cucumber with a chilli yoghurt dip and something that was described to us as ‘a veggie take on chorizo’ that was just so smoky and satisfying that we could have eaten many many more and been completely content.
There was a spectacular ‘salad’ of apple, kohlrabi and green mango and a truffle and chanterelle pizza (the base was purely fried cheese!) and the most incredible dish named ‘grilled carrot and elderflower’. What a case for under promise/over deliver. The most delicate carrot purée, slithers of raw carrot for crunch and tiny tapioca balls of elderflower that burst in our mouths. Some of the carrot had been chargrilled and the smokiness really was amazing and yet still so light and refined at the same time.
Dessert manifested in two parts; a small ‘blueberry sorbet’ with sour cream and grated white chocolate that cut through the previous course (‘porcini, soy and egg’) to refresh our palate and lead us into the part of the meal that we wish we had a supply of here at home… The humble ‘apple crumble’. Comforting, sweet and just everything we could want in the autumn months.
Rutabaga (which translates as ‘swede/root vegetable’) is a brilliant dining experience and one that is not exclusive to vegetarians — the food celebrates vegetables in a way that makes the dishes feel whole and complete and not lacking in the way that some veggie food can be. We loved it and would 100% return.
Visit the Rutabaga website here.