Friday, August 03, 2007

Swanky Sweden II

Speaking about my IKEA furnished rooms previously, here's a few pictures for illustration. Strangely how something so basic and simple can look so elegant and classy, don't you think?

Even the wash room is spacious and practically designed. You can see the simple curtains for the shower on the mirror image. Somehow everything in Sweden seems to be designed to maximize space without making it look tacky or extremely claustrophobic, especially noticeable in the place we stayed in Stockholm. Apparently Britain may start building "IKEA-villes" in the future to increase home affordability for first time buyers, with houses/apartments furnished with IKEA furnitures and designs to save space. That'd be cool to see :)

Dinner was a stone's throw away from our hotel. Barely 20 seconds walk there (yup, the island is that small). I decided to take my parents and family for a full fine dining experience, not sure why I decided to do that in Sweden, a country with 25% service charge :P (ouch!). But it's well worth the time and money of course as I get comical responses from my parents given its their first time trying out fine dining.

Starters are either Seafood Cocktail with Buttered Toast

or Grilled Scallops with Asparagus Soup. I got my taste of both and I must say the latter is slightly better and more unique as I've never had home made asparagus soup before. It was creamy with tiny bits of asparagus, served in a dainty cup as you see below. The seafood cocktail was light and well dressed with citrusy flavours, matched well with the mini buttered toast. Grilled scallops done to perfection, lightly seasoned and bursting with springy-ness. Yumz!

I had Chargrilled Lamb shoulder with Polenta. I usually like my lamb slightly medium done, still pinkish, hence this fits my palate nicely. I was quite excited to try out Polenta too, which is basically coarse ground cornmeal, forming a thick mush after boiling and lightly salted. To describe the taste, let's just say Polenta is to Italians, what potatoes are to the Brits. I quite like it for a change of scenery after 5 years of potato, but I think I'd still miss my potato mash after a while :P

G had Steak with Mash and Tomato Salsa, I'm sure they'd a nicer name but the menu was in Swedish, hence I'm providing the basic breakdowns, heh. I don't really take beef, but with the lightning speed he ate, I'm sure it's good stuff.

M chose to have Squid Ink Tagliatelle (pronounced tah-lyah-tel-le) with Poached Sea Bream and Asparagus. You all know I'm a super-big-squid-ink ANYTHING fan (well, maybe not a drink on it's own), so I was relieved when M liked my recommendation :)

Think the highlight of the meal wasn't really the taste of the food nor ambiance of the restaurant, but rather the opportunity to be able to gather around as a family over dinner, and more importantly laughing over M's comical expressions of wonder and confusion like "You pay so much for this small amount of food?!". I don't understand much either about the fine dining concept, maybe the price you pay also includes the presentation (BIG plates with SMALL servings), ambiance (candles and yellow lighting etc), and even the expensive rent these restaurants have as they're usually situated at prime locations. I somehow prefer more 'down to earth' cooking, like the ones I had in Portugal, but nevertheless, it's nice to pamper and treat yourself once in a while :)

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