The last few weeks have been quite hectic. First, I had my folks visiting for the entire month of June. I had not spent that much time with them since 1991! While it was very nice having them in Stockholm (we also did as mini road trip in Southern Sweden around Ystad and Kalmar), it had some impacts on my exploring of Stockholm’s cafés. The day after their departure, I was taking off to Poland where I visited Warsaw for a few days, but spent most of my time in the North, around Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia, where I attended the Heineken Open’er Festival. The highlights of the festival this year included Bon Iver, Bat for Lashes, the XX, the Cardigans, M83 and Björk (yes, in that order).
I came back from Warsaw late last night and I briefly interrupted my last day of vacations today to go to an event to mark France’s National Day: Bastille Day! It was not too difficult. I knew I would see some friends and would find great wine and good food. And when I left home around noon, I already knew that my first stop after this official event would be Café Saturnus.
Café Saturnus is known – or has been known, I’m not sure anymore – in Stockholm as a French café. In fact, if you check out their website, you will note that Saturnus describes itself as a “Café Patisserie et Boulangerie – Cuisine Traditionelle avec Torsion” (if you don’t speak French, feel free to use Google Translate). That being said, that is as much French as you will find on their website…. and in the café. When I tried to order in French, the guy behind the counter politely replied in French that he did not speak French. That is fine with me, but I had to give it a try. After all, I am celebrating Bastille Day today (even though it is actually tomorrow) and everything in Saturnus looks French.
While there were, as expected, plenty of good food at the Bastille Day reception, I could not resist having a proper meal at Saturnus. The menu is quite impressive and as a result, Saturnus is always packed. All my attempts to go there on weekends have failed, simply because there were no tables available. This time, I had many factors on my side: first, it was Friday at 2:00 pm; second, this is middle of July: most Stockholmers have deserted the city; finally, I got to Saturnus right after a big thunderstorm – enough to keep a few more people home.
While there were tables available inside, the storm had dissipated and the sun was shining again as I was ordering my cappuccino and “omelette parisienne”. I remembered my years in Paris where customers would always fight for a table on sidewalks, and decided to eat outside. Not long after I sat, most tables outside became occupied, including the one next to me by three girls celebrating a birthday. It was really cute to watch one of them fighting against the wind to light a candle on a cake while her friends were still ordering inside.
I was not really hungry by the time I got to Saturnus but I am so happy I ordered the “parisienne omelette”. With ham, cheese and mushrooms, it was delicious! The bread that was served with it also reminded me of the good bread I used to eat in Paris.
As I was enjoying the omelette, I thought a lot about my years in Paris. For many reasons, these could have been the most wonderful years of my life. Unfortunately I was so excited by everything new in my life at the time that I did not realize that someone very close to me was suffering. These were the years when I made the biggest mistakes and let down the most important person in my life. Today she is happy, but far away from me. I wish I could say I learned something from this…
I had first been to Saturnus a few weeks after my arrival in Stockholm, and before I had even thought about this blog. At that time, I had a cappuccino with my friend MFC who, among other things, runs an art gallery in that neighborhood (Östermalm). On my way back, I stopped at Couture Galleri. MFC wasn’t there but my friend NS who now works at the gallery was there. It’s her birthday tomorrow. Last time I saw her some 10 days ago we talked about having a party at my place for her birthday. That was at the end of a crazy scotch night. I think we are all still recovering from that night, so we may have to skip the party on Saturday, but I hear that there are plans for a hip hop extravaganza on Tuesday… I might need more cappuccino with sugar on Wednesday morning!
Saturnus is a bit more expensive than your regular Stockholm café, but you get what you pay for: good quality food and a fun café atmosphere. Get there early if you want a table on a Saturday morning!
Café Saturnus, Eriksbergsgatan 6, 114 20 Stockholm (Östermalm)