Ditch your coats – warm up with a curry

The terrible summer might have people reaching for their skiing jackets, but Kathleen Harman prefers to warm up from the inside out, with Stockholm's best Indian curry..

Ladies glow, men perspire and horses sweat but I can assure you that the ladies, men and horses of Stockholm are doing none of the above at this moment in time. With temperatures plummeting to fourteen celsius, incessant cloud bursts and howling winds, we are probably contravening some EU trade description law by labelling this season ‘summer’.

I did, however, have to do a double take the other day when I saw a woman decked out in what appeared to be full skiing regalia, the ensemble being rendered all the more surreal with the inclusion of those daft walking stick things, looking for all the world like ski poles.

I had forgotten the Stockholm phenomenon of over dressing – that is over dressing in a tog factor, battling against the elements sort of a way, not in a ball dress at a barbeque sort of a way, obviously. I do realise that it is a bit nippy, but to be wearing a five thousand kronor Fjällräven padded jacket in July does seem like the ultimate in overkill.

For heaven’s sake, what is wrong with running around and jumping up and down for a bit if you’re feeling chilly? It will certainly do the trick, won’t cost an öre and it will save you the bother of having to go around looking like a fluorescent constipated Michelin man.

I am reminded of a documentary I saw about the early ascents of Everest and the kit that they took – they seemed to managed perfectly with a couple of pairs of socks and a knitted vest between the entire team. I wonder how the legendary explorer Ernest Shackleton ever managed to traverse the Antarctic subcontinent without a nice pair of those nice Bally curling boots and the now ubiquitous Fjällräven jacket to keep him nice and toasty.

But perhaps I am being a little unfair. I do come from a country where small boys are still sent to school in short trousers in the middle of winter because it is character building. If it rains, we just get wet or we don’t go outside – no need to dress up like a miniature Norwegian fisherman, complete with little waterproof gloves with which to handle one’s bucket and spade. No, in my mother country, we stay inside and practise spitting bits of chewed up paper at the blackboard, which must go a long way in explaining the UK’s prowess in the international world of darts championships.

I think that it is high time that my Stockholm neighbours adopted the British tradition of keeping warm from the inside out. And by that, of course, I mean a nice hot curry. It is this, together with perhaps a constant supply of bootleg cigarettes, that has enabled my countrymen and women to stand around outside nightclubs in sub zero conditions, wearing little else apart from singlets and boob tubes.

My first forays into Stockholm Indian curry houses were a bitter disappointment. A madras curry, typically a fairly spicy affair, seemed in its Swedish interpretation to be little more than Lingon sauce with some tumeric powder sprinkled over the top. I am certain that you can probably get tandoori herring without having to look too hard.

But I am delighted to tell you that I did manage to get a bit of a glow on after a recent visit to quite possibly the best Indian curry house in town, where the food is guaranteed to put hairs on your chest and warm the cockles of your heart. Now, the restaurant is called, somewhat unimaginatively, the Curry House, but you must go because the food really is very good.

So put away those long johns, let small furry animals keep their pelts, and set yourself up for this bracing summer weather with a nice hot curry. I recommend the prawn jalfrezi, a fresh, crunchy chilli dish, that would have even a horse reaching for its battery operated, hoof held portable fan.

Curry House, Hantverkargatan 8,

08 650 6800

Curry House Points:

Frozen Toilet Paper Possibility: 9/10

Big Girls Thermal Blouses: 0/10

Kathleen Harman


The Local’s Swedish film of the month: Jönssonligan

Film writer Peter Larkin reviews Swedish classic 'Varning för Jönssonligan'.

The Local's Swedish film of the month: Jönssonligan
Gösta Ekman as Sickan in one of the other Jönssonligan films, 'Jönssonligan gets Gold Fever' (1984). Photo: SF

Legendary Swedish actor Gösta Ekman passed away earlier this year. One of his best known roles was as criminal mastermind Charles Ingvar 'Sickan' Jönsson.

Nine Jönssonligan films have been made between 1981 and 2015. Ekman starred as Sickan in the first four films. The films are based on an original Danish film series (The Olsen-Gang).

The first Swedish film was 'Varning för Jönssonligan' (1981, international title: 'Beware of the Johnson Gang').

Ragnar Grippe's light and thoughtful piano theme sets the audience up for what is an enjoyable film very much of its time. 

Sickan and his chums Rocky (Nils Brandt) and Ragnar (Ulf Brunnberg) plan revenge on villainous businessman Wall-Enberg (Per Grunden). It's innocent and fun, and no doubt very nostalgic for many Swedes looking back at the Stockholm society of the 1980s.

Ekman's brilliant comic timing is displayed in many scenes, such as his failed escape attempts from crime scenes. Brunnberg's lean figure stands in between the madness while he comments and cringes at certain moments. Brandt's physical strength is put to hilarious use as he blocks a villain from exiting a shed door.

Brandt, Brunnberg and Ekman together make a fantastic team as they scheme very elaborate plans to crack safes masterminded by Sickan. Ekman has great fun in the role.

Peter Larkin is an Irish film writer currently based in Sweden. Read his blog here.