In what might be one of Stockholm’s quirkiest locales, the chef duo Nichlas Holmquist and Oskar Larsson have opened the restaurant Loén. It’s quirky, because to go to the bathroom you have to climb backwards down a ladder, go through the basement and past the boiler before you come to it. Also, because on the way there you’ll walk past one of the city’s smallest chambre separées, with places for just four people. The spot, however, wasn’t new to the duo when they took over – both used to work here back when it was Duck & Crab. In the beginning of the year however, Nichlas and Oskar decided to buy out the previous owners, and take over the place as their own project.
When all was said and done, Duck & Crab become Loén, and now we find ourselves there on an autumn day. The restaurant is pretty much full, which means around 30 people. It’s warm, bustling and there’s mist on the windows as the winter chill begins to loosen its grip when you step inside. We are shown to the only free two-seater spot, and quickly find ourselves with full glasses, one with Serbian natural wine and one with a must from Österlen. Then we order in a range of different dishes.
First to arrive are the snacks, in the form of lamb kebab and chicken nuggets. It’s a very strong start, and it raises our expectation to the sky. We sink into our seats and treat ourselves to a deep breath to prepare for the next course.
Despite the fact that it was the dish that first sparked our curiosity out of everything on the generally exciting menu, the beetroot that follows is unfortunately a little bland. Bordering on not good. The pepper could have been given a little more space. The grilled avocado is also not quite top level. According to the waiter, it’s thrilling taste is solely from the grill. However, we’ve had grilled avocado before, a lot of times in fact, not that we’re boasting, and this one has a stale taste, despite the nice mushrooms and a pleasant broth. The avocado tastes dull, and the dish is flat. We’re both disappointed.
But! After that dip arrives a lobster pasta that restores our faith in the kitchen. A super fresh half-lobster and a creamy pasta elevated by tarragon and parmesan. A real hit.
The ravioli with liver looks a little brown at first glance, but that’s offset by the broth and the cabbage. Here, the flavours sit right, and the dish as a whole is extremely well-balanced.
We wrap things up with doughnuts with apple and cinnamon ice-cream. It tastes exactly as expected. Close your eyes and imagine donut with apple and cinnamon ice-cream, and that’s how it tastes. A plus point however, for the little crispy doughnuts.
One more, still bigger plus point goes to the environment, the service and the atmosphere. It’s really a perfect date spot, and without doubt it’s been a visit worth remembering. A little minus however for the open kitchen with the grill, as it does mean your skin, hair and clothes will smell like grilled sausages for a week after the visit.
Opening Hours: Tues-Sat from 17:00.
Rådmansgatan 23, restaurangloen.se
Photo: Loén Press