Four years ago, Patrick noticed was missing amongst Stockholm’s tapas restaurants. Although the concept was popular the city’s foodies were not as fond of the Spanish right snacks as he thought they could be. So what did Patrick do? He opened STHLM TAPAS on Kungsholmen and started serving snacks from around the world. In the following three years he opened as many restaurants, in Kungsholmen, in Sjöstaden, and in Old Town (Gamla Stan).
STHLM TAPAS Selected at Kornhamnstorg in Stockholm’s Old Town differs from other eateries in the area. The restaurant is located in a narrow, small room, with inside seating for forty under fabulous vaulted brick ceiling, as well as outside seating for fourteen when the weather cooperates.
Since the cold dishes prepared by a chef behind the bar, guests can enjoy a glass of cava while gazing at the raw materials and ingredients.
“When you enter, you go back out,” laughs partner Peter as he explains how the hole-in-the-wall feeling actually evokes a feeling of Barcelona, unlike other restaurants exclusively serving Spanish tapas inspired by modern tapas bars in Barcelona. Since the cold dishes prepared by a chef behind the bar, guests can enjoy a glass of cava while gazing at the raw materials and ingredients.
“We wanted to remove the glass wall that separates staff and guest,” explains Peter. “It’s a bit like you’re at a barbeque, where we talk to you as we work.”
Peter believes that while Stockholmers have become spoiled with great food, but that some restaurants treat guests as if they’re either better or worse than the staff. STHLM TAPAS prefers to level things out while serving delicious but unpretentious food.
Peter has been a part of STHLM TAPAS for a year, having previously worked in the finance industry. He and Patrick, who worked in the media, are childhood friends. Thanks to a shared interest in food, they have made several culinary trips together, mainly to Barcelona.
At Copenhagen’s celebrated restaurant Noma, it wasn’t just the tasting menu that made an impression on Peter. What really caught his attention was how Noma founder and chef René ‘left their jackets at the door’ – a small gesture signaling that service does not have to be difficult or over the top, but more simple and straight forward.
It’s a bit like you’re at a barbeque, where we talk to you as we work
That service is important to STHLM TAPAS is revealed in the details. For those with allergies dishes can be adapted or substituted. Wait staff don’t push the special of the night – they instead answer honestly about which dish they think tastes the best. STHLM TAPAS is also keen to hear from guests via email after they’ve visited. The entire focus is on guests enjoying their stay.
But Peter and Patrick know that good service means nothing without good food. Therefore, cold cuts and cheese are sourced from a Spanish man who burns with the same passion for top-quality raw ingredients as the men behind STHLM TAPAS. And the delicious Spanish sparkling wine Cava is left not to chance either: at the STHLM TAPAS in Stockholm’s Vasastan district the team experiments with different types of Cava which are then introduced to the other restaurants.
Cava and tapas, in combination or separately, offer an excellent mingling of tastes. As a result, small businesses or large groups of friends often hold their conferences or landmark birthday parties to STHLM TAPAS Selected in Old Town. The experience is called Rent A Bar: the gathering has the restaurant to themselves between 3 pm and 5:30 pm, giving them ample time to socialise over some tapas and maybe a sip or two of Cava.
“There’s no risk the group will separate after a beer,” says Peter as he gestures towards the small but cosy room at Kornhamnstorg. “It’s the perfect place for an intimate gathering.”
Sponsored article in collaboration with STHLM TAPAS.