“Vegetarians, look away now”
October 9, 2019
Our taxi driver was puzzled.
A neon light outside gave the only clue to finding the restaurant.
You go down spiral concrete stairs with tiled walls, then two or three flights up.
It felt like going into a 1970s multistorey car park, or the entrance to a speakeasy.
At the top of the stairs, we could hear noise from the bar to the left; we turned right towards the restaurant reception desk, next to glass cabinets where sides of beef were hanging, and an impressive collection of wine.
We’d found the right place.
Welcome to A. G.”
With this greeting from the Maitre D’, we knew we were in safe hands.
The chef was in evidence, taking calls.
Once we were seated, good sourdough toast, striped from the griddle, quickly arrived at the table, along with irresistible whipped lard and rosemary (like rillettes, but the proportions of fat and meat are reversed)
Most of the tables were occupied by groups of men sharing massive steaks.
There were also a few couples on date nights, sharing massive steaks.
They were young, prosperous diners on the whole, mostly dressed in Swedish black, and with kronor to spare.
The menu is varied, but as you’ve probably gathered by now, the steak is the thing. The different cuts are described in detail, with the breed, country of origin, and length of ageing.
Entrecote on the bone for two is a rib eye of Swedish beef, dry-aged in the restaurant’s meat room; they recommend it be served medium rare. It’s a massive steak.
We ordered one each (just kidding).
“Medium rare” was right for this cut; dry ageing takes moisture out of the meat, so it’s deep red, but not bloody. Cost was about £70 for two, for probably the finest piece of meat we’ll eat this year; they serve it with baked potatoes, Béarnaise and salad.
Service is relaxed and confident: ‘You’ve eaten the best meat in Sweden’
The style is quirky; paper table covers, mismatched silver cutlery and coffee pots. The wine list is serious, as indicated by a full magnum decanter waiting at a serving point, beside two empty bottles of Tignanello Super Tuscan.
Playlist: we couldn’t hear it over the sound of Alpha Males bonding, bouncing off the white tiled walls.
Dinner came to £195 for two, including a bottle of Provence rosé and a couple of glasses of excellent Tuscan red (Mazzei).
As we were leaving, we heard the noise at the top of the stairs again, and were tempted to seek more fun. It was the ‘Tapas Bar’, Spanish, Italian…. ‘very New York’.
We decided to stay for one more drink.
We were the oldest people there.
Smart restaurants in Stockholm tend to follow the American custom of colour-coded uniforms for staff.
The floor managers at A.G. were wearing cotton overshirts the colour of the steaks. Let’s call it Oxblood.
The fabric and relaxed cut looked familiar, and on closer inspection, I realised I had bought the identical shirt on the previous visit to Stockholm, at a shop called A Day’s March.
I was glad I hadn’t worn it tonight.
A Swedish menswear label founded in 2014, A Day’s March is the distance an army can march in a day (obviously) and ‘helps you through the triumphs and troubles of everyday life with style and dignity’. I’m all for that.
A Day’s March have stores in Stockholm, Copenhagen and London.