This New Years Eve I found myself in Stockholm. First time I have spent New Year’s here.
I live not far from Östermalmstorg and so decided to have some pre celebratory drinks In Jamie Oliver’s bar before going to watch the Fireworks. I remember briefly that some of my work colleagues and I tried to go here on the evening of our party, but it was too busy. Surprisingly for New Year’s Eve it was relatively empty and we even managed to get a great table. It was interesting to overhear the conversation of people saying how good it felt to drink in Jamie Oliver’s bar and that his cocktails were the best that they had tried.
Living in London most of my life I have grown up with Jamie Oliver. From his annoying incarnation through his “Mockney Days” (Dancing in the Moonlight and “Pukka!”) to the respected campaigner who fights for better quality of meals in schools. Love him or loathe him, you have to respect what he has achieved.
It was not the first time that I had eaten or drank in his restaurants. Back in 2003 I took a then girlfriend to his “Fifteen” restaurant and paid around 3000 Kroner for a meal for two! Thinking of the money I was earning back then it was around half a months salary that I was spending.
Yet as I sat there overhearing the Stockholm diners gush over how privileged it felt to eat in one of his restaurants I was thinking to myself “Has Jamie Oliver actually been here?” After several minutes on Google, the answer came back as no.
Jamie Oliver is massive in Sweden. Much bigger than Gordon Ramsay or any other British Chef. In fact, I am amazed that Heston Blumenthal is not big here yet, I am sure the Swedish people will love him!. But Oliver is everywhere here, no matter where you go shopping you will see a range of his condiments, his cooking accessories and his books in your face everywhere.
Jamie’s Bar is a chain that is cropping up over the world like wildfire. Yet I almost feel cheated for the customers that believe he is the brain behind this operation. The drinks are not cheap, neither is the food but you would think that there would be some kind of input from the man himself. Of course, he is busy, he can’t be everywhere at once but you would have at least expect him to have visited the place during the several months it has been opened.
I agree with this article I read by Pernilla Ericsson http://www.alltomstockholm.se/restaurangbar/article4112845.aos sums up entirely the attitude that I have towards chain restaurants like this.
Stockholm is only two hours away. All, he needs to do, is fly over here once and show your face, it will make it a lot more appealing!