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PLACEText: Victor Moreno

An AIRA dining experience begins in the glass-atrium bar area overlooking the Baltic sea. A house cocktail here is the ideal manner to awaken the taste buds and uplift your mood for what lies ahead. And it’s at this point that the culinary adventure starts with five delightful amuse-bouche – self-contained and appetizing morsels, that each look like delicately constructed microcosms, edible underwater corals from another planet. For the optimal experience, the maître d’ recommends eating each amuse-bouche in a single, textural bite. The savory choux au craquelin illustrates how AIRA’s utilizes select local ingredients – a powdery, crackled, pebble-shaped pastry filled with sweet, nutty Almnäs Tegel cheese – produced in Almnäs Bruk in Västergötland – topped off with black truffle shavings.

AIRA’s lounge. Photo Gustaf Björlin/ Food Office

For the main seven course tasting menu, guests move into the dining area, which accommodates between twenty to thirty guests. Here smoothly scalloped seating areas frame a central, high-ceilinged space, set off by stylish sculptures creating a sense of art and serenity to allow the focus to be on the food. The calm atmosphere and harmony is enhanced by the intuitive and effortless service, choreographed seamlessly between courses – five savory and two sweet.

AIRA’s dining area “matsal”. Photo Gustaf Björlin/ Food Office

Some of the dishes on the current tasting menu – such as the glossy quenelle of scallop, king crab, and marigold, finished at the table with two different sauces – have been there since the restaurant’s early days but others have been adapted or added to reflect the very best of the available ingredients, incorporating lots of seafood and local meat, like reindeer. But all of them reflect the chefs’ passion for innovative twists and enhancing flavors, like halibut with fermented lychee, rose and hazelnuts. The restaurant’s langoustine four ways, with red peppers, ras el hanout, and lime is perhaps the standout dish of the season at AIRA, evoking nostalgia for a humble bread and soup elevated to luxury. “It’s called recognition, you have this feeling when you remember you had something, maybe when you were younger, you recognize that feeling triggered by a memory, “ Chef Pi Lé explains.

Quenelle of scallop, king crab, and marigold. Photo Gustaf Björlin/ Food Office

The presentation is also consistently immaculate. AIRA uses mostly custom-made tableware for each dish. Take as an example the Swedish squid, oyster, sorrel and caviar, served in a beautiful porcelain dish with a delicate central dimple. Along with the tasting menu, there are different levels of excellent wine pairings to accompany and complement each of the courses. The wine selection is ample, including vineyards the likes of Château de Beaucastel from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Kracher Eiswein in Burgernand, Austria, 1949 Château d’Yquem, Sauternes in France, and more. The meal rounds off with yet another five tenderly-crafted, microcosmic, bite-size desserts.

Cod, black truffle, savoy cabbage and cep mushroom. Photo Gustaf Björlin/ Food Office

Embracing a philosophy grounded in seasonal, locally sourced ingredients, AIRA’s menu reflects a harmonious marriage of tradition and innovation. Drawing inspiration from the offerings of the surrounding landscape, Chef Pi Lé and his team craft dishes that celebrate creative flavor and texture combinations while showcasing inventive techniques. This commitment to culinary excellence resonates with the core tenets of New Nordic cuisine. Pi Lé’s contribution with AIRA is elevating the game for Stockholm’s fine dining.

Address: Biskopsvägen 9, 115 21 Stockholm
Tel: +46 (0)8 4800 4900

Text: Victor Moreno
Photo Gustaf Björlin/ Food Office

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