Pelikan is a legendary Stockholm establishment I’ve longed to visit for ages. It’s been around for as long as any living person can remember, and has the same air of grand old lady as Judi Dench. I’m currently reading a book about poor Stockholmers at the turn of the century where Pelikan was the place to go if you wanted to splash out a little. Pelikan serves traditional Swedish food in style of Den Gyldene Freden but at truly huge portions, and a more digestible price. It’s now one of my favourite places in Stockholm.
We visited on a busy Friday night, but the service was impeccable (contrary to stories I’ve heard from previous guests). Pelikan’s staff are little older than the average Stockholm waiters, and they take great pride in their work. This, as far as I understand, means they can be very grumpy sometimes, but also brilliant. My brother’s starter was a delicious trio of herring, with wonderful cumin cheese and crisp bread. My starter, gubbröra, is a Swedish classic of anchovies, red onion, fresh herbs in sours cream on dark, sweet rye bread, which was also delicious. The most insane starter was Fredrik’s shrimp sandwich, which was about the size of two mains. It was great, but should really have been presented as a main (to share).
The mains were great, both in size and taste. Filip’s ham hock was the size of a cauliflower head, servedwith hutspot and three different kinds of mustard. A true classic. My meatballs were also huge, with lovely lingonberry and proper salted cucumber in cream sauce. As far as meatballs go, I prefer the ones served at Den Gyldene Freden, but these still tasted very Swedish. Fredrik’s salmon was luckily smaller than his starter, and slipped down easily. Pelikan is as much about the food as the ambience: the huge old beer hall transports you back to old times lost. Enjoying traditional herring in the light of candles and the pale Stockholm night is quite a treat. Just be prepared to bring a doggy bag home.
Pelikan, Blekingegatan 40, 116 62 Stockholm. 08-556 090 90. Reservation recommended.