Restaurant Sturehof in Stockholm: a solid but uninspiring brasserie

It’s hard to find a restaurant that appeals on a Sunday evening in Stockholm. Many are closed, especially the more “interesting” ones, the few creative tables that are open are full, and I don’t feel like playing Russian roulette in the touristy streets of the old town… I don’t think I’ll be repeating an experience as surprising and pleasant as the one I had the night before at Nisch.

I’ll settle for “Sturehof”, a historic, street-front restaurant in the grand brasserie style of the Parisian boulevards. Not at all creative, but there’s no reason why it can’t be good!

#TypePost
1HotelMoxy Paris CDG (no article, look at our previous articles on Moxy Paris CDG )
2FlightParis-Zurich – Swiss – Business Class
3FlightZurich-Stockholm – Swiss – Business Class
4HotelMiss Clara by Nobis – Stockholm
5RestaurantRestaurant Nisch – Stockholm
6RestaurantRestaurant Sturehof – Stockholm (here)
7FlightStockholm-Copenhagen – SAS – SAS GO (eco)
8HotelMoxy Copenhagen Sydhavnen
9RestaurantRestaurant The Shrimp Copenhaguen
10RestaurantRestaurant Marv&Ben Copenhaguen
11LoungeSAS Gold Lounge in Copenhagen
12FlightCopenhagen-Stockholm – SAS – SAS GO (eco)
13FlightStockholm-Gothenburg – SAS – SAS GO (eco)
14HotelRadisson Blu Scandinavia Gothenburg
15LoungeVinga lounge in Gothenburg
16FlightGothenburg-Zurich – Swiss – Business Class
17FlightZurich-Paris – Swiss – Business Class

The concept of Sturehof

As I said earlier, the easiest way to present Sturehof is to compare it to the great brasseries of the Parisian boulevards. A large, slightly noisy room, classic service, a menu that focuses on seafood, and a clientele that’s just as typical of the property. Older than elsewhere, a little dressed up but not too much: it looks more like a business meal, lunch with mother-in-law or a big family occasion than fine, hip bistronomy.

So the concept summed up in one sentence: tradition, timeless style and seafood.

The property was founded in 1897 as a German-inspired restaurant and renamed Sturehof in 1905, becoming the city’s first seafood restaurant.

The setting at Sturehof

From the outside, it’s a classicism that perfectly matches the style of the property.

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Otherwise, this is a traditional brasserie setting.

A lovely terrace to have a drink during the day and a large room inside.

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Ironically, the entrance wasn’t there, but on the side. We pass through an unspectacular bar and enter the main room.

A large room, turn-of-the-century decor on one side, but lacking in charm and warmth on the other. In short, a well-decorated canteen.

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There’s potential, but it all looks a bit mismatched to me and, for once I’m not complaining about the low light levels in a restaurant, the bright light doesn’t help to emphasize it all, rather to bring out a style without much personality.

Then there are all the brasserie codes: white tablecloths, staff in aprons, etc…

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Not pretty, not ugly, not warm: you get the feel of a traditional, well-established brasserie that plays on its name and cares little about the rest.

As long as it puts more emphasis on its dishes than its appearance.

The menu at Sturehof

The menu is handed out on a large sheet of paper. As in brasseries, it’s a bit confusing, with starters and main courses on one side, seafood on the other, and a special insert with daily specials…

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For my last evening in Stockholm, I decided to treat myself to salmon croquettes, oysters, turbot and duck liver ice cream.

The meal and the dishes

So, as I said, the entrance is from the side, through a frankly unpleasant bar. Entering the hall gives a very different impression: it’s serious and traditional, though not enthusiastic. In terms of large brasseries, the codes are there, but we’re a long way from the interior style of a Mollard in Paris or the Excelsior in Nancy…to name but a few.

I’m warmly welcomed and seated at my table. As long as the restaurant isn’t full, they’re clever enough to space out the customers.

I take a glass of champagne to analyze the menu and make my choice. I’m given time to choose, I don’t feel rushed.

Once the order is placed, the appetizer, salmon croquettes, herb cheese and trout egg arrive very quickly. So fast that I haven’t finished my champagne or ordered my wine yet.

I’ll have a glass of Pinot Noir and take the opportunity to note that the restaurant offers a wide wine list by the glass, which I appreciate. I should add that the glasses of wine are served very generously.

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The croquettes are good, but between the herb cheese and the horseradish cream, the salmon really struggles to make its voice heard. In fact, I didn’t hear it.

Strange as it may seem, I had a hankering for oysters…and since you could order them individually, I took 3 Belon. Unfortunately, they were all sold out, so I had to settle for Marennes Oleron.

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Nothing to say. In any case, the oysters may or may not be fresh, and that’s where the restaurateur’s role ends.

Next comes Turbot, white butter sauce, summer truffle, asparagus and baked confit potatoes.

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The presentation is sober and classic.

The firm fish is impeccably cooked, the potatoes melting and the butter sauce surprisingly light.

It’s a classic without any creativity, but impeccably and soberly executed.

Next came the dessert, and I must confess that it was with great curiosity that I chose the duck liver, cherry and pistachio nut ice cream…

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The presentation is nice.

The whole is pleasant but I’m still looking for the duck liver (and maybe that’s good news?). I’ll get a whiff of it when the ice melts a bit, but that’s it. In the end, a good dessert, but the expected surprise (good or bad) was not there.

The atmosphere

I found what I like in brasseries: the sound of intermingling conversations rather than loud music. I know that some people don’t like it as much, but if they do, they might as well avoid this type of property because it’s part of their DNA.

Otherwise, the population is a little older than elsewhere, and obviously quite well-off. As I said, it’s more a place for a business meal or a big family occasion than a romantic dinner. A statutory place to go and where to be seen too.

All in all, a posh brasserie atmosphere. You either like it or you don’t, that’s all.

The service

As fast (sometimes too fast…) as it is pleasant. Friendly, smiling staff (but I’ve never had a bad surprise in Sweden in this respect) less obsequious than their Parisian counterparts in similar properties.

Bottom line

A brasserie that keeps its promises. It’s solid, with no surprises or creativity, but very well executed.

A place where you go for the status of the property and its reputation (when you’re a local), when you’ve found nothing better than a tourist trap (when you’re a foreigner) and overall a place that spares you any surprises, whether good or bad.

But at 140 euros (knowing that I took champagne and several glasses of wine which are very expensive here…well even more than the rest) what should I think? It’s expensive for the region, but it’s ok. Borderline, but okay. I’ve eaten less well in Paris for 130 euros…

Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrinhttp://www.duperrin.com
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.
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