Imagine for a moment an outpost of the Spanish restaurant Etxebarri dropped down in the streets of Stockholm. Or the result of setting Francis Mallmann at large in the woods and fields of Sweden. These will give you a place to begin understanding the approach Niklas Ekstedt takes at his eponymous restaurant, where everything is cooked using an open fire.
Ekstetd’s approach is not an affectation: it’s the result of his concern with seasonal and local ingredients prepared using methods that have informed centuries of Scandinavian cooking. Handsome color photography by David Loftus–which reminds us of Signe Birck’s work inThe Wizard’s Cookbook–immediately removes any idea that this is faux rustic cuisine. The chef’s work is imaginative and sophisticated: scallops with scallop coral sabayon; grilled cod with bottarga and crushed potatoes; spring lamb with wild garlic; brussels sprouts with smoked parsley root and plum sauce.