Intimate and raw
Chef Sayan Isaksson and his team are behind some of Stockholm’s most acclaimed and desirable dining experiences, all of which are located in the former Jarlateatern theatre. There’s the informal sushi restaurant Råkultur on the ground floor, and the bustling Shibumi izakaya found in the basement. The top floor has long been devoted to Esperanto, the restaurant group’s upscale Michelin-starred restaurant. But – as it goes with new additions in the family – a part of that grandiose dining room has been seized to accommodate yet another dining experience.
Aptly-named Imouto – “little sister” in Japanese – this new family member is a restaurant in a restaurant, and is made up of a corner sushi bar with space for nine guests. With only a few sittings per evening, these stools are intensely coveted by inveterate sushi lovers. On my left sits a sushi aficionado who frequently travels to Japan for solitary meals at Tokyo’s very best sushi restaurants, while a band of foodies with their very own dining club are to my right. Their mission is to eat their way through the very best gastronomic experiences the city has to offer.
Our joint meal starts of with otsumami, a series of six snacks to be eaten while enjoying a glass of alcohol, which in my case is a glass of elegant and lively Diebolt-Vallois Blanc du Blanc (160 kronor). The two skilled chefs behind the bar prepare the small, artful morsels before our eyes – chawanmushi egg custard with caviar; pear, baked eggplant and black miso rolled in dried celeriac; crispy fish skin with sea meringue; turbot with lactoderm; sashimi of scallop and silk tofu, truffle and mushroom tea.
At Imouto, the only dining option is a set *omakase* tasting menu (1,200 kronor), which is paired with an optional wine and sake beverage menu (580 kronor). *Omakase*, which translates to ‘I’ll leave it up to you’, puts the power in the hands of the restaurant’s capable chefs. A long and eye-opening cavalcade of absolutely fresh single pieces of sushi follows. In the meantime, we’re also giving insight into each of these by the chef, who shares his visions, thoughts and occasional fishing-trip stories as the evening unfolds. We work our way through European perch, rose fish, zander, squid, glass shrimp, scampi, Arctic char, wild salmon and eel, to name a few, before we’re asked of our favourite for a final encore.
A dessert consisting of fennel and matcha teacake, milk ice cream (from hand-milked cows that originate from the north of Sweden but now reside in Gnesta, if you must know) and sencha tea puts an end to a terrific meal, probably one the best I’ve ever had in Sweden. That is not solely for the taste sensation, but equally due to attentive, perceptive yet relaxed service and a highly intimate setting.
If you’re planning to splurge on a culinary experience this year, Imouto should be on your list of considerations.
08 696 23 23