We made a reservation for 7:15 on Friday night. We probably could have walked in but wanted to be sure on a weekend. The view from the restaurant over the harbor and Gamla Stan could not have been nicer. The restaurant gives you a little booklet with guidelines on how to best enjoy a smörgåsbord which we followed...
1. Think of it as a 4 to 6 course meal. Pace yourself by only taking a little of everything.
2. Start with the herring dishes paired with a traditional snaps and cold beer.
We counted 9 different ways to have herring on the buffet! I loved them all, pickled, with onions, with beets, with cream, with mustard, baked and so on.. Matt liked most of them with mustard being his favorite. He did not care for the beet, onion or cream. We ordered the 1874 Grand Aquavit, which was produced for the hotel's 125th anniversary in 1999, homemade aquavit flavored with cumin, aniseed, fennel and a dash of sherry. Wow, that went right to my head!
3. Now move on to another Swedish specialty, the salmon dishes.
Here was counted 6 different dishes, poached (which neither of us cared for), cold smoked, hot smoked, baked, gravad lax... We snuck a few other things on our plates like seafood terrine and prawns on a hardboiled egg. The salmon here is just wonderful.
4. This course is salads, cold cuts and egg dishes.
Oops, we jumped ahead with our prawns on hardboiled eggs, oh well. There is also egg and anchovy salad (quite good), Swedish sausage (a lot like summer sausage), cold roast lamb leg and a few other things I just don't remember.
5. Finally, it is time to move on the the hot foods.
At this point Matt & I were stuffed even though we had taken small portions. That wasn't such a bad thing as we found this to be the weakest of the courses. The Swedish meatballs were no where are good as the one's I had earlier in the week made of moose. Other than that there was a chicken and morel dish (which seemed like something we could get at home), a corned beef in cream sauce, baked salmon, baked herring and a prawn omelette. The one dish I did enjoy and most wanted to taste anyway was the Jansson's Frestelse, a dish I had tried making at home. Basically, it is a pickled sardine with potatoes and onions. I made it with regular sardines to mixed reviews. The pickled was much better!
6. Next is the dessert course.
We are loving Swedish sweets, maybe a little too much. Little cream puffs, blueberry crisp, peach melba mousse, almond cake, raspberry crisp, chocolates an fresh fruit all filled this course.
Dessert is eaten with strong Swedish coffee and punsch, a traditional Swedish liquor made from arrack, neutral spirits, sugar, water, and various flavorings. It reminded us a bit of St. Germain though not quite as flowery.
The smörgåsbord at the Grand Hotel is served everyday for lunch and dinner most of the year unless there is a theme menu. Reservations are recommended. The cost is 475 SEK, drinks not included (at writing that is about 76.60 USD). You can order off the menu if you prefer not to do the whole buffet and still get things like a herring sampler. We were dressed pretty casually in cotton pants and summer shirts. Most people were much more dressed up in dressed and suits though there were one or two people in shorts. The lunch crowd seems more casual.
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