Reindeer, herring, mackerel, salmon, cheese, salamis, lingonberries, blueberries, anchovies, pastries, breads, sun-dried tomatoes, pesto tomatoes, eggs, bacon, sausages, kiwi, watermelon, grapefruit, mango smoothie, melons… I had three mornings to work on the breakfast menu at the Veranden, but still had to leave much to try at another time.
Breakfast at the Grand Hotel is a memorable experience that requires determination, a good appetite, and enough time to savour some of what is on offer. It also required a strategy – Friday was for an overview sampling of the full range, Saturday was for new (to me) delicacies, and Sunday was for the more familiar eggs-and-bacon fill-up. I loved all three.
The buffet spread at the Veranden is spectacular indeed. Being woefully ignorant about Swedish cuisine, I tried anything that looked new - and therefore "Swedish" - to me. The pickled herring was delicious. But not as good as the mustard herring, and definitely not as good as the mackerel. I probably should not have eaten them with lingonberries, but the combination tasted good. The blueberry jam was good and the cracker-bread went well with the Vasterbotten cheese. The reindeer tasted a bit like stringy and lean salami, and the blackened ham tasted like ham. The cottage cheese with crayfish tails and the anchovy tartlets were fishy and delicious.
The Veranden overlooks the Royal Palace and an embarkation point for small passenger ferries. With breakfast being served from 7am until 10:30am (11am on weekends), there was plenty of healthy ferry activity going on outside. Over my left shoulder, I could watch ferry passengers arrive, queue, and depart. Over my right shoulder, I could see the early sunshine on the church towers and opera house.
The Veranden buzz changed from dark-suited business dealings on Friday (with overheard discussions on the difficulties facing the hedge-fund industry and current opportunities with collectible stamps) to a much more leisurely relaxed enjoyment on Saturday and Sunday.
Service at the Veranden is discreet, professional, and friendly. Babies definitely welcome among the dark suits. Bookings are required f you are not a guest at the Grand Hotel. From my vantage point, it appeared that there was no space for people without a reservation.