Olivia Hahne, our hottest new contributor, is on a one woman-and-baby mission to find the best place to have a coffee in Stockholm. This week: Hornstull.
Not your ‘hood? Check out the rest of our café culture series.
Address: Hornsbruksgatan 24 117 34 Stockholm. Tel No: 08-22 00 21
Bisou Bisou is part of the much hyped and critically acclaimed Tjoget collaboration, comprising the award-winning bar and restaurant Linje 10, über cool, tempted-to-grow-a-beard-just-to-get-it-trimmed-here, old school barber shop Roy & Son and Bisou Bisou itself, Parisian chic meets harajuku girl kitsch. At night, the café transforms into Purple Room, a cocktail bar for maximum 20 patrons.
Bisou Bisou is dedicated to reinventing mini rulltårtor (teeny-tiny Swiss rolls); there’s not a bulle, chokladboll or even semla to be seen in the place. Forget cupcakes and macarons – the mini rulltårta is where it’s at now.
These multi-coloured masterpieces (25 kronor each) come in flavours such as cheesecake (vanilla sponge with pink polka dots), apple (green sponge with red polka dots) and coffee (coffee-coloured sponge with a moustache motif. But of course). Limited edition flavours and designs will be brought in for next week to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The drinks menu is simple: coffee, lemonade, champagne. Because what more do you really need?
Bisou Bisou was created by Yukiko Krigh, a Japanese interior designer and architect who arrived in Stockholm via New York. Yukiko not only bakes the mini rulltårta but also designed Bisou Bisou (as well as the rest of Tjoget). Large light fixtures made of martini glasses hang above the counter and the mini rulltårta, displayed on custom made cake stands, are complemented by polka dot espresso cups.
It’s refreshing to find such a creative and innovative place to fika and at 25 kronor, I defy you to find a better priced latte in a more expensive looking café in Stockholm.
Cost of a Latte: 25 kronor
Perfect for: sampling this year’s must-try fika: the mini rulltårta
Avoid if: your perfect idea of a café is a traditional dark wood konditori serving bullar and chokladbollar
Musical equivalent: What You Waiting For? by Gwen Stefani
VIP by Café dello Sport
Address: Pålsundsgatan 8, 117 31 Stockholm. Tel: 08-668 74 88
Café dello Sport is brimming with character, not least in the form of the two Italian cheeky chappies wearing matching blue beanies stood behind the counter. There’s a TV series right there: The Real Baristas of Hornstull (hands off TV4, that’s my idea).
Café dello Sport isn’t a sports bar in the sense of big plasma TV screens, a soulless interior and cheap beer. It’s a cosy, authentic Italian joint, covered head to toe in football paraphernalia (complete with Italian newspaper-cum-wallpaper). There are a few TVs dotted around and apparently the football matches pull in big crowds, with people standing on the pavement outside, straining to see in through the windows.
We visit on a cold Tuesday morning but we’re greeted with a warm welcome, good Italian coffee and a counter full of semlor, pastries, bullar and Italian biscotti. As the name (VIP = Very Italian Pizza) suggests, pizza is the main business but there is a good selection of hot and cold sandwiches on offer too. There’s seating on two levels and room for a couple of buggies if it’s not too busy. Apparently Sunday afternoons are packed to the brim with local Italians and, well, general locals watching Serie A and creating a buzzing café with plenty of banter.
Cost of a Latte: 30 kronor
Perfect for: experiencing a slice of La Dolce Vita in Stockholm
Avoid if: you’re still sore about the time Italy beat your national team at football
Musical equivalent: anything by Eros Ramazzotti
Address: Bergsunds strand 31, 117 38 Stockholm. Tel No: 08-669 0960
Call me uncultured but 19th century Swedish literature’ is never going to be my specialist subject. So it took me a bit of Googling to figure out that the woman who is the central theme in all the Vurma café is actually Singoalla, a beautiful gypsy woman from the novel of the same name by Viktor Rydberg. In the event that that ever comes up in a pub quiz…..you’re welcome.
There are a few Café Vurmas dotted around Stockholm (Östermalm, Kungsholmen, Vasastan, Nytorget and Hornstull). In terms of interior design, Vurma: Hornstull isn’t that unlike its sister cafés, although predictably it’s a bit grungier than its Östermalm counterpart. Various pictures and paintings of Singoalla adorn the walls and there is a big, unfinished ‘painting by numbers’ mural of the lady herself on one of the walls. The decor is a bit of a mixture between Spanish café/ student hangout / eco-vegetarian joint , which is strange since Vurma is actually none of these things – it’s quite simply a good-for-anyone-and-any-occasion place.
In terms of food, there’s a good selection of homemade pastries, bullar and cakes. Sandwich and salad portion sizes are on the generous side and they’re not too pricey. The clientele is a real mix –latte mamas and papas, local workers popping in for lunch, artist types hunched over laptops and everyone in between. It’s big and busy enough to not feel like the person next to you is listening in on your conversation but small enough to still maintain that intimate café atmosphere.
Cost of a Latte: 36 kronor
Perfect for: pretty much any kind of café catch up
Avoid if: you’re looking for a unique hidden gem of a café
Musical equivalent: Tattva by Kula Shaker