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My Stockholm: Niklas Ekstedt


Niklas Ekstedt is a renowned Swedish chef and restaurateur. His Stockholm restaurant Ekstedt is frequently voted one of the best in the city. He shares his favourite parts of Stockholm, from an urban vegetable garden to a historic library, with Isabella Redmond Styles

Isabella Redmond Styles
Isabella Redmond Styles,

Talk us through some of your Stockholm favourites
One of my favourite stores is Sandqvist, the super-trendy bag specialist. It has expanded across the world but its flagship is still on Swedenborgsgatan. I worked with its team to design some thick aprons which are now used by the staff at my restaurant Ekstedt. I also can’t resist the luxurious food hall on Östermalmstorg.

It’s the place to come for fresh oysters, mussels and jars of pickled herring. Among the maze of wooden stalls decorated with Swedish flags and hunting trophies is Willy Ohlssons, where we source the best-quality meat.

Which is Stockholm’s most underrated attraction or sight?
In Sweden we document everything. The Royal Library in Stockholm is full of information about traditional Swedish food as there were many cookery books written back in the 1700s. I used it as research base when I was developing the concept for my restaurant Ekstedt.

Because there was no electricity in the kitchens, all the techniques – how to cook the food and what wood to use and what stove to put it in and how to look at the embers – were written down. It was all there for us, just waiting to be discovered, and we started reading and talking about it and trying it out.

Do you have a favourite local café or bar?
I love drinking an Old Fashioned cocktail at Kåken bar

Where do you take out-of-town friends?
I’d say Rosendal’s Garden Bakery – it’s my favourite. I think Stockholm has developed a great bread culture. It has amazing bakeries, and the one I just mentioned is great!

What is your favourite way to get around the city?
On a skateboard.

Can you reveal the best-kept local secret?
På Spåret (meaning ‘on the tracks’) is a non-profit project that I have been working on for the last year or so, turning an abandoned, graffiti-marked train track and railway arch into an beautiful urban garden, right in the middle of the city. We grow some of the produce for my restaurant in the garden and have started a community growing and cooking scheme with two local schools.

Our team has built mobile cultivation boxes out of pallets and has tidied the place up, but the graffiti by the tracks and on the walls and arches remains and is even encouraged. In the summer we invited local kids and street artists to make fresh works around the site.

The result is a place where the local community can come together, learn about produce at the food-growing school, eat at the little café and buy from the small market where the garden’s products are sold.

How do you relax on on days off?
Normally I try to take my boat out into the archipelago. I love to bring the family and explore this wonderful part of my hometown.

What is your latest local discovery?
Once again, the garden under the bridge. It changed my way of looking at that part of town.

What secret or insider tip would you offer for exploring your city?
Rent a bike! Stockholm is wonderful to bike in. You can rent by the hour in most of the parts of town.

What’s your favourite walk in the city?
Djurgården. It is an amazing island in town. Stop by my friends at Oaxen restaurant when you are there.

And your favourite view?
If you walk from Södermalm to Gamla Stan you pass a fantastic spot from where you can see the whole of Östermalm, Gamla Stan and Djurgården.

Do you know any hidden spots?
Yes. But they will stay so!

Which is your favourite area of the city – and why?
Östermalm, because both of my restaurants are there.

Restaurant Ekstedt, Humlegårdsgatan 17, 114 46 Stockholm, +46 (0)8 611 1210

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