Q: What is it? A: The Johan Jureskog interpretation of how to please 18 guests in that funky, futuristic pop-up restaurant thing perched on the rooftop of the Royal Opera in central Stockholm.
It’s dinner-time at The Cube.
Good beginning: Sunny skies, + 21°C in the air and Mr. Johan Jureskog is just one noisy elevator ride away. On the rooftop it begins with a glass of the bubbly stuff plus a beef tartar topped with Kalix bleak roe. It’s mild. It’s also quite rustic and straight-up, as most of Mr. Jureskog’s cooking. People are chatty and anticipation is all over the place. And then… perceves. Little sea creatures, shaped like turtle-penises and sometimes referred to as Goose Barnacles, (Lat. Pollicipes pollicipes). They are rare and expensive and salty and delicious. Johan shows me how to squeeze and twist the little tube to enjoy them. “I suppose I’m the only one bringing these in”, he says. I hope they will make it to the menu of AG. Rounding up the first round were some very smooth cockscombs with chanterelles [insert happy expression of choice here…].
Marrow and polbo.
Much of Johan Jureskog’s menu at The Cube revolves around what has been successful at Restaurang AG:s Chef’s Table. When towels were laid out on the huge communal table, it was quite obvious that there would soon be a lot of big bones around. Oh, yes. Marrow of ox with gremolata. This is as neanderthal as cooking will ever get in Stockholm! The trick works, partly because it’s delicious. Wives of stock brokers, photographers and old ladies all join the feast with enthusiasm. The next dish, polbo á feira – “fair style octopus” – where you cut the poor pizza-sized mollusc yourself, is another AG classic.
Beef and piglet.
When Johan is displaying three different kinds of meat, it’s almost a re-run of what went down at AG a few weeks earlier. At this moment, Johan’s obsession with top-quality meat really shines: Highland Cattle, entrecôte from Finland and entrecôte Grand Cru will soon be served alongside a fresh salad and a highly potent béarnaise, (to which Johan adds some of the extra fat that he uses in his burger and in most of his cooking). Deceptively simple.
Before the beef festival, we are confronted with Piglet. “Pooh is pissed!”, Johan announces “…because Piglet is dead!” Piglet met his maker at the tender age of 6 months. Piglet sure looks like a little pig. The next time we see him, he’s divided into handy little pieces and served straight up with some vegetables. Notable is that for a few of the dishes, a classic Swedish Mora knife, was provided. Yes, that’s the general-purpose tool that your typical, sexy Swedish handy man is likely to use.
And finally, a little bit of pudding.
I honestly have a hard time recalling all the sensory signals from the little calorie bomb I had for dessert. It was visually striking, though; flambeed english vanilla pudding with peaches. We enjoy it with a Bluestone, a tawny port from Penfolds. Around that time, I realized how little talking had been about the location and the view. In fact, most of the time, during this 3.5-hour long meal, topics around the communal table revolved around food, meat and cooking. Johan was more than happy to join the conversation, which was also refreshing. And while we attacked our puddings, the sun had just set over lake Mälaren in the west. A great dinner and a great propaganda day for Stockholm, the odd city I call my home, [insert cheesy soundtrack over credits here].
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Additional note: This was the first ‘open’ dinner for guests at The Cube, but there’s honestly not that much room for improvement. And I can’t really avoid thinking that if I hadn’t enjoyed the Chef’s Table at AG only two weeks earlier, that fifth star would probably have been added.
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Johan Jureskog is in control of The Cube during the following dates:
• June 25-28
• August 10-19
• September 14-27
For reservations, call +46-70-938 48 63