Och Himlen Därtill, Stockholm, Södermalm ***** (UPDATED)

Q: What is it? A: One of the best views in Stockholm, but more importantly, one of Stockholm’s best restaurants. Once I thought that it would receive a Michelin star.

Sorry, this image doesn't give much away about the view.

From the inside: 34 seats with a view. Quite the view, I must say.
Between 1959 and 1964, this was the tallest building in Sweden.

Fancy a nice bottle of wine? Here they are!

The wines this evening. Left: Occhio de Venta 2008, made from 100% Vermentino. Middle: Young winemaker Greg Brewer blended 14 clones of pinot noir. The result: Melville, Pinot Noir 2008. Right: Finally a Moscato d’Asti 2009 to match the dessert.

Amazing is the word. Yes, amazing.

I guess I’m getting spoiled as the appetizers have always been amazing.
Amazing sweetbread and amazing bleak roe are among their latest creations.

Looks like a car crash. Tastes like a song.

The main attraction; the main course have been ranging from amazing
to superb. Amazing duck. Amazing beef. Superb turbot. Und so weiter.

Everybody, say cheese!

Selection of cheese from Philippe Olivier. Served au naturel.

Dessert strike. That's the name of this operation, which includes liquorice meringue

Aaah, I have had the liquorice meringue with vanilla parfait and raspberry coulis
several times. It’s a pity that it comes last. When you’re sort of satisfied already.

Great guy. Great facial hair.

Mr. Micke Åström, Restaurant Manager and Amazing Guy in general. And that’s a really nice shirt, Mr. Åström!

* * * UPDATE: The man above, Mikael Åström, who could take a lot of credit for the new level of ambition at Himlen, is now managing another restaurant, Bistro Rouge in the Old Town of Stockholm. It’s fair to say that this should affect the experience at Himlen. Everything written should below should be read with that in mind. * * *

Within 1000 days, this restaurant should have been awarded with its first star…
They had a bit of a bad start. There were the doormen with bad-ass attitudes. There was the rather strict dress code that Stockholm wasn’t used to. Plus; the kitchen didn’t exactly deliver what the ambitious menu promised. That was then. Now, you may forget about the past. It’s history. Something has happened to the restaurant on the top floor of the skyscraper once built for the Swedish National Tax Board. If they continue to deliver on this level, the stars will be coming, (yes, I’m talking Michelin hard currency here). It’s also highly likely that the main agent of change at this restaurant goes by the name of Mr. Mikael Åström. He and his staff started to amaze this reviewer about a year ago. Since then, visits to Och Himlen Därtill have been for better reasons than to enjoy the view, (which, in all honesty, kicks some serious ass).

What to expect:
Expect a menu that varies with the season. Carefully selected local produce meet with more exotic ingredients and… ta-daa! Marriage! Go for the five-course set menus, as they are… well both five-course and five-star. They will also give you a better bang for your buck. These set menus, gave me a serving of sweetbread that motivated the visit all by itself; some amazing bleak roe that arrived together with raw shrimps from Smögen; blackened duck liver terrine and the list just goes on.
Among the main courses, there are some memorable moments; the butter fried brill with leek with beurre blanc; the amazing duck and the pan-fried lobster all deserve little specially composed songs.

What you don’t want to do:
I should stop and give you a fair word of warning; you’d better leave some room for cheese and dessert. The cheese selection is from Philippe Olivier of Bologne sur Mer in France. It’s as good as it sounds. But beware! Other desserts are waiting around the corner and they will claim their space. That’s probably the only part of the menu that may need some fine-tuning. Don’t get me wrong, the desserts I’ve had at Och Himlen Därtill have been bloody amazing, they are just a little bit too… challenging after all those previous servings, (note to self; try to skip the cheese next time and see what happens).

I don’t give away five stars just like that.
This place has been taking a fair bit of flak for those initial mishaps and a previous concept that wasn’t very well suited for this part of Stockholm, (it’s hipster heaven, fixie bikes and all…). Today, Och Himlen Därtill and its staff should be mentioned among the best of the best in this city. And if possible, just stop admiring Mikael’s magnificent moustache and listen to his wine presentations! Both Mikael and his colleague Jonas Stenkula are highly knowledgable, and it’s quite rare to get such an enthusiastic presentation of what’s being served in those glasses. No, I am in no way affiliated with this restaurant! Nor am I related to any of the staff members! I’m just very glad to recommend a place that until now has been one of Stockholm’s hidden gems. But that will of course change when they receive their first star from the tire manufacturing frog eaters…

The restaurant is open:
Mon-Sat 5.30 pm to midnight-ish.
Sunday closed

Och Himlen Därtill
Skatteskrapan, Götgatan 78
118 30 Stockholm

Book a table: +46-8-660-6068

Online booking (in Swedish)

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