Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews

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Fed up with celebrity chefs drizzling sauces over undercooked pieces of meat? I am!

I regularly dine out and am happy to share my restaurant experiences, and views on food, with you.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Lilla Pakistan

Restaurant

Restaurant Lilla Pakistan
Sankt Eriksgatan 66
113 20 Stockholm
Sweden

Phone (46) (8) 30 56 46

Website www.lillapakistan.com

Overview

Stockholm has a paucity of good quality Indian/Pakistani restaurants, usually the food is too bland or the decor is that of a cold and uninviting cafe. After some considerable searching on the net, for anything resembling quality, Eva and I came across Restaurant Lilla Pakistan which we decided to try out a few weeks ago.

Lilla Pakistan was established in the early 1990's, and specialises in Pakistani food.

Ambience

Lilla Pakistan is a small, intimate restaurant with dark polished wooden tables, mirrors on the walls and a part open kitchen all of which contribute to a pleasant and inviting atmosphere.

Menu

The menu provided a good selection of Pakistani main courses; fish, meat, chicken and vegetables. However, there were only three appetisers to choose from.

Service

The service was professional and friendly, and advice was also on hand should we have needed it in respect of which wine to accompany our meal.

Food

I chose the Mezban Kae Teen Shorbe to start with. This consisted of 3 different types of soups seasoned with fresh herbs. The soups came in miniature bowls and were excellent. However, one was tomato soup and I would question as to what this really has to do with Pakistani cuisine.

Eva chose the Golshan Barre to start with. This is described on the menu as:

"Lentil dumplings soaked in yoghurt served with freshly chopped onions, tomatoes, chilies, herbs and chaat masala."

Quite honestly this was a complete disappointment, the dumplings were minuscule and hard to detect within the mound of chopped onions etc. Eva was not happy with her choice.

To our view, the appetiser section of the menu requires more attention in terms of choices of dishes on offer, and what actually goes into them.

Fortunately our main courses were better!

I chose the Zafrani Pasanda Fruita; which consisted of marinated tender chunks of lamb roast in a saffron gravy, garnished with fried fruits with ginger, roasted Pakistani pine kernels, with marinated cheese. This was first class, the meat was exceptional tender and flavoursome and was well complemented by the fruits and ginger.

Eva chose the Dahi Gosht for her main course. This was beef cooked in garam masala and yoghurt, a fine dish spicy and stimulating.

To accompany our meal we had Sabzi Ka Pakwan vegetables, potatoes baked with raisins,
fresh herbs and mushrooms; together with two nan breads and rice.

The meal, which included a bottle of sweet German wine, came to 1230SEK before tip.

Overall Opinion

A good quality Asian restaurant, one that Stockholm badly needs. However, as noted, we do feel that the appetisers need more work in terms of choice and content.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Cafe Piastowska

Restaurant

Cafe Piastowska
Tegnergatan 5
111 40 Stockholm
Sweden

Phone (46) (8) 21 25 08

Overview

Eva and I tried out the Cafe Piastowska, a Polish restaurant in Stockholm, the other week.

Ambience

Cafe Piastowska has been in existence for quite a few years in Stockholm and is run by a Swedish gentleman and his Polish wife who have, shall we say, a rather distinctive style and approach to the restaurant trade.

It consists of two floors, the ground floor bar and restaurant area and a basement which is a veritable rabbit warren of nooks and crannies.

The walls were decorated with all manner of knickknacks and artifacts, including Polish imperial flags. Red velour was very much the dominant texture, complemented by the white lace table cloths placed on top of crimson cloths.

We sat downstairs for our meal, then retired upstairs for our coffees and liqueurs.

The atmosphere created by the basement decor and candlelight was very romantic, even though Eva's part of the sofa that she was sitting on collapsed.

You are advised to book, as the owners tend to open and shut when they please. Indeed, the owner was happily going to bar us from entering (even though it was not full) until we told him that we had in fact made a booking.

Menu

The menu was very limited, and only offered soup and three main courses; schnitzel, steak and another dish that I have forgotten.

Service

The service was rather eccentric. When we sat down we were almost instantaneously served a bowl of potato and leek soup, before we had even seen the wine list. It was evident that you had to make sure that you repeated the order to ensure that the staff grasped fully what you wanted.

Rumour has it, that if they don't like you they make it very clear to you indeed.

When we were upstairs, partaking of our vodkas and coffees, we entered into a rather lengthy chat with the owner and his daughter who were sitting on the next table. Evidently we had passed "acceptability" test.

Food

The soup was good, but I found my main course of steak with egg and horseradish to be a little disappointing. The steak not being that high quality, and the potatoes underneath being a little greasy.

Eva managed to persuade them to serve her a blinis to start with. This was rather a bizarre form of blinis, as it came smothered with a variety of ingredients (poached salmon, egg and caviar) and was rather greasy.

Eva chose the schnitzel for her main course, which was rather better than her starter in terms of quality.

The meal, which included a bottle of Chardonnay 3 vodkas and 6 Irish coffees (yes, we "did it large" that night), came to 1340SEK before tip.

Overall Opinion

A romantic, eccentric restaurant; if you want to go out and get drunk in a cosy environment, then this is the place for you. However, don't expect the food to be that exciting.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Dolce Vita

Restaurant

Dolce Vita
Kungsholmsgatan 16
112 27 Stockholm
Sweden

Phone (46) (8) 650 60 80

Website www.dolcevita.nu

Overview

Eva and I went to Dolce Vita on Valentine's night, for a rather pleasant and romatic Italian meal.

It is has been quite a while since we have been to the Dolce Vita. When I lived in Stockholm (1996-2000) we often went there. However, this is the first time that we have been back since 2000.

I am happy to report that it was much as I remember it.

Ambience

Dolce Vita has been in existence since 1985, and serves good quality Italian food in a bright and cheerful setting. It used to make rather a fine selection of pizzas, as well as the pasta dishes. However, pizza is now no longer on the menu.

The restaurant is bright, lively, cheerful and busy. You would be well advised to book, especially if you wish to dine there on a Friday or Saturday night.

We were warmly welcomed and promptly shown to our table.

I would also note that despite the fact that the place was full, and the tables were quite close together, we did not feel claustrophobic (the brightness of the decor helped a lot in that respect).

Menu

The menu offered a good selection of Italian dishes (except for pizza) including, steak, veal, chicken, pasta and fish dishes.

Service

The service was very good; efficient, friendly and prompt.

Food

Eva started with the Scampi Piri Piri sauteed in olive oil, paprika and garlic. These were splendid looking fellows indeed, magnificently plump. Fresh and tasty, neither too much oil or garlic had been used to overpower the taste.

I chose the spaghetti bolognese, yes I was a greedy pig! Our waiter warned me about the size of the dish, and even offered me a child's portion.

Needless to say, I chose "adult size".

The dish was as I would have wished it to be; robust, tasty, large and accompanied by a huge bowl of freshly grated Parmesan.

What more could a man ask for to start his meal with?

Eva then chose the veal escalope with Mozzarella in a white wine sauce. She was more than pleased with this dish, the sauce complemented the meat and the cheese was not too rich. The veal was tender and flavoursome, not overpowered by the sauce with added just the right amount of piquantness.

However, the quantity of the dish defeated her (hence the need to summon the doggie bag at the end).

I opted for the fillet steak in a pepper and cognac sauce. Now I have absolutely no complaints about the quality of the meat, it melted in the mouth and was a good sized decently cooked portion of good quality fillet steak. However, I feel that the sauce needed some attention:

1 The pepper element of it was not quite as strong as I would have preferred.

2 The steak was topped with a slab of goat's cheese, which was totally unnecessary and overpowered the pepper sauce along with every other ingredient on the plate.

Polite advice to the chef:

"Lose the cheese, the dish most certainly does not need it"

That being said, I finished the steak (having removed the cheese).

Our main courses came with a very generous bowl of home made saute potatoes, which were excellent and far removed from the sad greasy fries served by many establishments.

The meal, which included a bottle of Mateus Rose, came to 896SEK before tip.

Overall Opinion

A good, fun, cheerful restaurant; we are happy to recommend it.