The line that caught my eye right away was “modern Nordic cabin”. Images of dining by candlelight surrounded by warm wood and plaid textiles filled my head. As a Canadian, I’m all about cosy comfort, so I just had to make a booking at Björn Frantzén’s new spot The Flying Elk. A few months prior, I’d had the chance to visit Frantzén’s Kitchen and was really impressed by the detail and dedication that had gone into the food there. The warm Swedish hospitality had left an impression too. So how does the food and hospitality translate into Frantzen’s new spot?
We went to The Flying Elk on opening night and were seated facing the kitchen. This was fine for us, as we love watching chefs at work (though I don’t think Frantzén himself was there). But those looking for a more romantic setting may want to request a regular table.
The Flying Elk has taken over the old Fish & Meat location on Wyndham Street, and the designers have done a great job of transforming the space into their desired modern Nordic log cabin. While Fish & Meat always seemed cold to me (industrial chic is not always good!), the positioning of the tables as well as the requisite touches of warm wood, copper accents and jewel-tone tiles at The Flying Elk give the space a warm, rustic-chic feel.
Luckily for us, opening night meant we were each treated to a complimentary cocktail. I really enjoyed the Rabarberpaj, made with a gin (Fords) and vodka (Koskenkorva) base, rhubarb and lime cordial and rhubarb and vanilla foam. It was like an adult ice-cream float.
Besides the Nordic cabin description, the other thing that caught my eye about The Flying Elk was that it was supposed to be ”casual” and thus more affordably priced. The snack menu seemed to suggest this. We tried the gougères ($40 for 4 puffs), pork rinds ($40) and boneless chicken wings ($50).
While we would have liked the pork rinds to have been more crispy, the gougères, with their Swedish Cheddar filling and chestnut-honey drizzle, and wings, with their pungent Kvibille cheese and clarified butter, were both wonderful flavour bombs and were each worth a double order.
Given that we’d ordered three appetisers, our server suggested we start with two main dishes. However, the mains here are quite tiny, so we ordered five in total. In this section, we had some hits and misses.
We loved the open sandwich with 24-hour pork cheek ($185). The savoury fattiness of the meat contrasted well with the sweet cabbage ribbons and the truffle béchamel sauce.
The roasted scallop ($190) was another hit, with the scallop itself cooked perfectly and sat atop scrambled egg so creamy that I could have sworn it was mashed potato (if not for the distinctly eggy flavour, of course).
The baked hen’s egg ($150) sounded really good, with spinach, truffle, Gruyère, peas and roasted chicken jus. But, in reality, this was quite difficult to eat. It had an unappealing mix of textures and there was a sourness (some sort of vinegar?) that overpowered the more delicate elements of the dish.
Roasted smoked venison sirloin ($205) isn’t something you see on the menu every day, so I was excited to try it. However, the meat itself was quite tough and tasted a bit too gamy.
Lastly, we ordered the umami salad ($150). The duck confit, smoked Pecorino and crispy onions certainly gave this dish its umaminess. While it was pleasant enough, it didn’t have the wow factor to be worthy of a re-order.
When it came time for dessert, we were informed that the desserts were on the house (prices are listed here for reference), given it was opening night and they were still trying to work out some kinks. It was quite a lovely thing for the restaurant to do, and we enjoyed sampling the marangsviss ($75), grilled pineapple ($70) and syltkakor ($45 for 5 cookies).
The presentation and overall texture of the marangviss (similar to Eton mess) was very nice, though the addition of thyme was a bit unusual and may be off-putting to some. The grilled pineapple with star-anise ice cream made for a simple, not-too-sinful treat at the end of the meal. What we did love were the little syltkakor butter cookies with raspberry jam – warm, buttery, crumbly little pops of happiness (and with no seeds!).
It’s worth giving The Flying Elk a try, though next time I might opt for drinks and snacks at the bar rather than a full dinner. Some of the prices certainly are reasonable, but calling this a casual spot refers only to the vibe. Given the portion sizes of the main dishes, diners will leave with a dent in their wallet if they want to get full.
2/F, Wyndham Mansion, 32 Wyndham Street, Central, 2565 6788, book online
This write-up is based on an anonymous, independent visit. The meal was paid for by the author and no monetary compensation was provided in exchange.
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