Swedish in Hong Kong? The Two Bears were keen to see their friend Alex’s report on this restaurant! Enjoy!
I hadn’t realised until fairly recently that Sweden’s Björn Frantzén (Whose Stockholm flagship had won itself a third michelin star in this years guide) had an outpost in Hong Kong, but you can rest assured that once I did find out, I was desperate to secure myself a position at the kitchen counter. After some issues booking (Entirely my fault, I booked on the wrong day, I was already going to Pierre) we settled on 9:15pm Saturday night. So with some planning (A bus ride and a very confusing walk to find the small space) I found myself at my destination, quite grumpy from getting lost. Will my dinner be worth getting lost in a foreign country?
I was greeted very politely and shown to my seat at a small 10 seat bar, where a variety of starters were being made in front of me. I love seats like these, where I can appreciate the effort and care being taken with each ingredient on the plate. Frantzen’s Kitchen was no exception, with two dutiful young men interacting with guests and plating various starters.
A waiter greeted me with a wine list, and a brief explanation of the menu. Small bites at the top, entrees in the middle then the more substantial dishes at the bottom. I ordered a glass of the riesling (No idea what it was, though it was quite dry). I ordered a couple of snacks to start, the signatures, ‘Swedish sushi’ and the ‘French toast’. The former, a bite sized snack of crispy lichen, roe deer, cep mayonnaise and frozen liver, was great, while the latter (With added ‘last of the season’ winter truffle, at a surcharge) was delicious, the addition of the 25 year old balsamic and a rich truffle broth adding immense depth.
After these, I moved to the entree section of the menu, where I had seared Japanese scallop, chicken mousseline, sabayon and a Nordic take on dashi. The scallop itself was perfectly cooked, and it carried throughout the dish wonderfully. I lost the sabayon here, the ‘dashi’ was very strong, almost overwhelming. Still, I quite enjoyed it, I like this type of dish a lot, earthy and full of umami.
A dish I had had my eye on since I first browsed over the menu, veal tartar with smoked eel, vendace roe, chives, sour cream and shallots came next, and boy, was it every bit as good as I had hoped! The mixture of the veal and smoked eel was genius, they complemented each other wonderfully. A little brioche cracker on top added the perfect amount of texture any tartare needs.
Upon reflection if I were to order again, I would have asked for this dish first (I’m giving dishes in my order of eating them, this should have been before the scallop, but I ordered this later. My fault.) Norwegian salmon, with poached king crab, dill, Ikura roe, avocado, horseradish and sour cucumber. A very light, fresh dish, but still packed with flavours.
A waiter appeared over my shoulder, whispering tales of a special he thought they had sold out of earlier but actually had one portion remaining, and since i was a solo diner… so back to a snack I went, with a tiny tartlet consisting of pumpkin, zucchini, two types sea urchin (Russian and Japanese). more truffle and some snipped nori. I really liked it, even though sea urchin isn’t my favourite ingredient. The mix of the pumpming and zucchini is always a winner, and it distracted me from the sea urchin’s texture just enough.
Next up, a main of, what else, but more seafood! This time, steamed turbot. I love turbot, it’s probably one of my favourite fish to eat (And least favourite to prep!). Luckily, that wasn’t my concern here! This turbot came with a ferrmented white asparagus sauce, pine shoots, citrus herbs, green asparagus with mint and peas. Turbot is quite a meaty fish, it can stand up to some heavy flavours and to have quite a light dish was a pleasant suprise. I could have quite happily ordered a second portion here, I thought it was that good.
I was however, saving room for dessert. I was recommended the ‘Smoked Ice Cream 3.0’ with toasted hickory pecans, tar syrup and a salted fudge wirh cloves. This was served in a chocolate dome, with the fudge sauce poured warm, to melt the dome. I loved this dessert, it was really cleaver and well thought out.
After what seemed like an eternity (I’m not sure why waiters sometimes completely ignore guests after a desseet has been served) I made my order of a second dessert, the Spicy Orange with rose hip curd, sea buckthorn sorbet, cloudberry compote and a carrot foam. This again was a very clever dish, and again, in hindsight this would have been better to have first. The sea buckthorn sorbet was great, sour enough to know what it was but sweet enough to have a nice smooth texture. The cloudberry compote was a nice warm addition and a crispy meringue top was delightful.
After ordering a coffee I added on the ‘Lördagsgodis’ or ‘Saturday Sweets’, a small selection of petit fours. 5 were on offer: french nougat (I hate everything about nougat), pine fudge (Really good) black garlic marmalade (REALLY GOOD), durian ‘dumle’ (A durian filled molded chocolate, this was quite nice) and a lavender lollipop (Lavender is tricky, too much and it tastes like soap. This was great).
Overall, I highly recommend trying to score a (very limited) space at Frantzén’s Kitchen. The food was amazing, the service very good and a packed restaurant makes for a great atmosphere. Definetly one to go to, and is even worth getting a little lost for!
Address: 11 Upper Station St. Sheung Wan Hong Kong
Tip! Take a cab. And they close Sunday and Monday.