About the Restaurant
Oaxen Krog has an interesting history. Since 1994 the owners Magnus Ek and Agneta Green ran a seasonal fine-dining restaurant on Oaxen, one of the southern islands in the Stockholm archipelago. The concept for Oaxen came as a response to the imported and exotic food that seemed the standard back then. Instead, head-chef Magnus Ek wanted to focus on local food and flavors inspired by the incredible produce he was seeing from farmers and producers in the area.
The Skärgårdskrogen Oaxen restaurant was just open May to September and around Christmas time, it managed to end up in The World’s Top 50 Best Restaurants: it debuted in 2006 at #48 and worked its way up to #32 in 2010.
After 15 years in their remote location, Magnus and Agneta decided to ‘move to town’ to a newly erected building on Djurgården, next to the wooden bridge that connects to the Backholmen island. Its new start and 1½-year-long closure caused the loss of its place in the World’s Top 50 Best Restaurant list, but the level of cooking was still unparalleled. After reopening in 2013, Oaxen Krog got two Michelin stars within 16 months: its first Michelin star in 2014 and the second in 2015. Their närhet principle still holds true: the cooking of Oaxen Krog is very nature-orientated with a lot of produce from their own farm and sourcing best local and regional produce in line with their personal values – selected based on origin, sustainability, and a humane animal keeping.
We started off in the lounge at the back of the restaurant with a drink and with some slices of paper-thin pork belly just melting on your tongue. When everybody for the communal table had arrived, we were moved to our table and had a round of introductions: a German couple in town for an art fair, an MBA student from near Boston on a one week exchange program, and 2 brothers from San Francisco who own a restaurant and – as chef and sommelier – were looking for the first-hand exploration of Nordic cuisine.
About the menu
There is little to choose from. Oaxen Krog has a 6-course or 10-course tasting menu (SEK 1.800-2.100 / € 187-220) and the wine pairing is SEK 1.200-1.400/ € 125-147. Juices are quite a thing in the Nordics and at Oaxen such a juice pairing will set you back SEK 500-600 / € 52-62.
I chose the 10-course tasting menu with excellent wine pairings but started with a glass of exceptional Initial Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut Champagne by Jacques Selosse (SEK 390 / EUR 41; costly, but so worth it…) as an accompaniment for the 8 appetizers that were served in rapid-fire succession.
Then it was time to start our 10 courses:
I concluded with an espresso (SEK 50 / € 5,20) which came with a box of 9 homemade chocolates to eat/take home. I was quite stuffed, so Chantal also had the chance to also have a tasting of the incredible favor combinations that Oaxen Krog come up with. The truth is that I really had to make up to Chantal for having these fine dining experiences by myself… 😉
Magnus Ek, through modern cooking techniques, refines local and regional products into innovative dishes. In short: expect unique ingredients, wild herbs, pure and intense flavors.
There were plenty of moments that the table fell silent, surprised, taking in and savoring new flavors, just nodding in agreement with the others. I liked this communal table concept much more than I anticipated. Accompanied with great food and wines, there were lots of laughs, stories and memories shared between these strangers collectively undergoing the Oaxen Krog experience and doubtlessly having a memorable night.