The talk of the townhouse | Nosh and Chow, Norrlandsgatan 24, 111 43 Stockholm
We’ve been lucky enough to have visited Sweden, or more precisely Stockholm, three times during the last five years. On our last trip we stayed on a plane, in a castle and in a windowless cellar! But to be honest we didn’t do much eating out in the city’s numerous restaurants. The main reason is the expense, Sweden isn’t a cheap country and prices in some of the more touristy areas can be frightening! Plus when there’s four of us (with the children in tow) the cost can be extortionate, a simple lunch on the island of Högmarsö once set us back £70 . One thing that diners don’t have to fear when eating in Sweden is the language, the Swedes speak better English than we do. Everywhere we visited we found fluent staff, and the same goes for Nosh and Chow. Puts us to shame.
This time we couldn’t resist the lure of Nosh and Chow, one of Stockholm’s newest and most popular dining destinations. Apart from sounding like a couple of kids puppets on a Saturday morning TV show or a comedic duo from the 80s, Nosh and Chow is one of the most impressive restaurants we’ve visited in a while.
The townhouse consists of four floors (five if you include the basement). The ground floor holds the main bar, two completely different styled restaurants and a separate narrow bar that wouldn’t look out of place in a backstreet in Barcelona.
Up one floor and you are greeted by an amazing outdoor patio space, perfect for summer time drinks. Through this courtyard is their exclusive speakeasy bar, Bernie’s, a members’ bar located in the yard house, another example of excellent interior design. Bottles of spirits are clustered on small square shelves behind the backlit bar, creating an ever-changing soft amber glow – genius!
Next year (2014) they are planning a second restaurant on the first floor with a different concept, seating around 60 guests. Plus hotel suites are also being created on the second and third floors (two per floor) we have a feeling these are going to look spectacular too. Hopefully we can return next year to see if we’re right.
The reason for this interior design excellence is Spanish architect Lázaro Rosa-Violán, the man behind popular restaurants such as Boca Grande and Big Fish in Barcelona who was recently appointed as the designer for Soho House’s new buildings in Barcelona and Madrid.
I’ll move on to the actual meal shortly, this is after all a food blog, not an interior design blog. But I really must give you a quick run down of the decor of the main restaurant. It is a real mish-mash of styles, part French bistro and part colonial northern Africa. There’s parquet flooring teamed with monochrome geometric ‘illusion’ tiles. The colour scheme uses muted earthy tones and the walls are clad with shutter style panelling and lined with dark wood cabinets filled with bottles and candles.
I could gush on and on about the decor and how it somehow reminds me of The Breslin in NYC but I must mention the food before Saff edits out all my ramblings… Another thing that impressed us was the mixed clientele. They seemed to cover all walks of life, older couples in suits, trendy tattooed and pierced media types and a family with two pre-teen children. Babies are welcomed here too, something that is very rare in high-end restaurants in UK cities. We can’t imagine seeing babies in a restaurant like this in London.
As always Saff’s first port of call is the cocktail list. She chose Remember the Maine 135kr/£13.50, rye whiskey, vermouth, cherry heering and absinthe mixed over ice in a very manly whisky tumbler – rocket fuel! A little tip though, ask for the actual drinks menu, it has a wider selection of cocktails, the food menu only lists the ‘classic’ cocktails. I opted for the Driver’s delight 65kr/£6.50, as I was driving – the hint’s in its name! Eric, the fabulous bartender, came over to our table and asked for my preferences, sweet or sour, berry or citrus, fruity or spicy, etc. Five minutes later my delicious tailor-made mocktail was delivered.
The menu features a number of global cuisines, all served using Swedish ingredients. This ‘season’ the menu has taken inspiration from Peru and the German-speaking countries that border The Alps. No roasted guinea pig on the menu though!
I’d heard some good things about the Deep-fried ”Linus cheese” from Skärvången with spring salad and walnuts, 139kr/£13.90. The cheese had a crisp, non-greasy breaded coating. Whilst the salad was packed with flavour and texture, a slight bitterness from the fennel and radish, a crunch from the carrot and asparagus, earthy notes from the walnuts and a sweetness from the dollops of tar-like sticky dressing.
Saff was still a little full from her Fika at Café Saturnus so she decided to order the light Mixed salad with avocado, tomato and lime vinaigrette 95kr/£9.50. But this wasn’t a lighter option, the portion size was huge. The salad was rammed with of yellow, cherry and Pink Boar tomatoes, drizzled with a sharp yet salty lime glaze.
My main course sounded amazing – Crispy pork with pumpkin, beer poached onions and pickles 239kr/£23.90. The actual pork belly was different somehow from what I’ve had before, maybe Swedish pigs are less fatty than their UK relatives. This cut looked more like a giant lardon (I said lardon) with layers from crisp thin skin, pale creamy fat down to a dark slightly charred base. The pumpkin mash could have maybe done with a little more seasoning. The beer poached onions turned out to be a singular beer poached onion. It was a slippery little sucker that I chased around the plate, eventually I cornered it against the pumpkin mash so I could cut it in half. My little jar of pickled vegetables were sharp and crunchy with salty toasted sunflower seeds in the mix.
Saff ordered the Smoked duck breast with spinach salad, quinoa, edamame beans and balsamic glaze 265kr/£26.50. The same bold dressing that featured in my starter, drizzled over a pile of fresh crunchy veg. The duck was cooked perfectly, Saff just could have done with a bit more of it.
Picking a dessert was the hardest decision of the evening. I wanted everything on the list, after a little debate (Saff would probably call it an argument) we settled on a couple of options that we could both share. The Schwarzwald pastry with cherry sorbet 105kr/£10.50 was one of the best desserts I’ve ever had. The cherry sorbet was face spasmingly sour, luckily the stewed cherries added some sweetness. All sprinkled with grated bitter dark chocolate – an incredible deconstructed black forest gateaux.
Saff preferred the Chocolate terrine with marinated physalis and condensed milk 95kr/£9.50. The soft textured slice of rich chocolate terrine combined perfectly with sweet and sour flavour of the physalis. One slight negative, the condensed milk was more like a dollop of whipped cream – but we’ll forgive them!
Apart from the fantastic meal and the superb service one thing you must do is visit the toilet… Yes the toilet! It has really become a talking point, the manageress even insisted that we ‘go’ before we went. The toilets are unisex, that’s fine a few UK bars and clubs do that now. But I honestly don’t think that I’ve seen more effort put into a toilet’s appearance. It’s a lot like a gothic dungeon, very low lighting, flickering pillar candles and mirrors caged behind wrought iron work. Even the cubicle’s walls and ceiling are mirrored – if you so desire, you can watch yourself (or maybe someone else) from every angle!
The Berns group have acquired an amazing space and used it to create something really rather unique. And yet this townhouse project will only get better once the new restaurant and hotel suites are completed. So on our next visit to Sweden we know exactly where we’d like to stay, bet it would beat the windowless cellar any day.
Norrlandsgatan 24, 111 43.
Telephone: +468 503 38 960
Opening hours: Monday – Tuesday: 5 pm – 1 am
Wednesday – Saturday: 5 pm – 2 am
The patio is open the same days as above but from 4 pm.
(Please check their website for up-to-date times as they vary throughout the year)