My second reservation in London takes me to Harrods in the evening. It is known to be one of the most famous and largest department stores in the world and easily outshines KDW, Alsterhaus and co. Before I go up to the fifth floor, I stroll through the beautiful food hall, past an incredible product quality of cheese, cured meats, fresh pasta – a dream.
For about six weeks now, the upper floor has been home to a new restaurant: it is the franchise‘s fifth location, following the flagship restaurant in Stockholm, which has been awarded three stars and currently ranks sixth on the 50 Best list. The Zén in Singapore also has three stars. Another studio concept opens towards the end of this year at the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai. The concept here revolves primarily around Nordic gastronomy with Asian influences.
The studio is divided into a large guest room spanning two floors and a huge roof terrace. On this evening, only a few of the 150 seats are filled, I take a seat at the counter with a direct view of the kitchen. The service is professional, friendly and without obligation. Dishes are ordered à la carte, with a wide selection of oyster dishes, cold and hot appetizers, five main courses, and plenty of temptations from the grill, some from the small Binchotan grill, which of course catches my eye directly.
After the 15 courses of the afternoon, I will make only a small selection. First, two oysters in different preparations. The Swedish oyster comes delicately cooked and combined with garum, fermented lingon berries and tips of young pine. Very fresh, ethereal, maybe I should have ordered more than one.
The grilled oyster excites me even more with its intense smoky flavor. Grilled oysters are a sensation anyway, but this one is special because of the use of a butter that is also grilled (or smoked?). On top caviar of herring and “dirty seaweed oil”. For about six euros per oyster, this is already very fun!
In general, the menu seems fairly priced throughout, given the reputation of the Frantzén Group and even more so the super luxurious context at Harrods. With a few exceptions, all main courses are under 40 pounds, with side dishes to be ordered separately.
My choice is the baby monkfish tail grilled on the bone with a ragu of (binchotan-grilled) razor clams, kohlrabi, cilantro stems, salmon caviar and a fermented cabbage/butter sauce with lemon leaf oil.
I chose the Koshihikari rice with melted butter as a side dish. A brief moment of shock when the fish is served: a little sauce is poured from the sauté pan, but not much. Then great relief: the pot remains in place, of course, and now leaves plenty of room for feasting from just that.
Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical before visiting, especially since there weren’t very many reviews of this new studio available yet. But with the first fork of monkfish, any trace of skepticism is gone. This is a sensational fish dish. Excellent product quality and perfect cooking point. Plus a pleasant rustic nonchalance in the presentation with pots and bowls on the tables. More casual than fine dining – but on a great level.
Satisfied with fish, rice and the big pot with this intense and deep sauce, I listen to the DJ playing soul from the late 90s, half a bottle of Riesling in the wine cooler and think for a few seconds about the gastronomy in the Alsterhaus or in the KDW. A thought because I quickly discard to devote myself rather more pleasant: the dessert selection.
The yuzu sorbet is more delicately crafted and is accompanied by Sancho pepper meringue sticks, fennel jam and fennel pollen and leaves. This is also very good, fresh and again with ethereal depth.
At the end of the short and entertaining evening, 115₤ (about 130€) is on the bill, which feels quite fair, though my selection was indeed clear. Of course, with a little more hunger or lobster, more entrees, and a deeper dive into wine options, there are quite different tickets to be had here, more in keeping with the venue and crowd.
Let’s hope that a nice location can also be found in Germany for a future expansion of the Frantzén Group – but above all the comforting certainty that London is only a scant 80-minute flight away from Hamburg.