Stockholm Syndrome cooks up a plate of Swedish charm for the Rainy City – Food

Felix Martua (The Jakarta Post)

Jakarta ●
Mon 23 May 2022

food,culinary,swedish meatballs,swedish cuisine,bogor,restaurant,dining room

Stockholm Syndrome is causing a stir among Bogor’s catena of hip cafes thanks to the life stories of its founders and the tasty offerings of northern coffee.

Perhaps the first thing that catches the attention of the dedicated Stockholm Syndrome foodie is the name of the cafe itself. While it might seem obvious that this particular establishment – tucked away in the eastern belt of Bogor in West Java – offers Swedish cuisine and pastries, potential customers might be tempted to wonder why such a restaurant had to be named after a condition in which hostages develop an emotional and intimate bond with their captors, a phenomenon that originated in the Norrmalmstorg robbery that took place in Stockholm in 1973.

The name might not necessarily be appetizing to a layman, but according to cafe co-founder (and native Swede) Samim Zarin, there’s a particular reason why “Stockholm Syndrome” is a perfect name, after all. .

“Sometimes life holds you hostage,” the 33-year-old restaurateur told Jakarta Post May 13. “So at that moment you can choose between two states of mind: either you are a victim or you fall in love with life and enjoy it.”

Stockholm Syndrome is that and more – a labor of love born out of the founders’ desire for independence and self-realization. With the slogan Swedish cafe culture in Bogor!”, Stockholm Syndrome serves up Swedish food, sweets and refreshments in the hopes that diners will form an emotional connection to the cafe, much like the infamous psychological storyline.


The genesis of Stockholm Syndrome is rooted in what Samim jovially describes as a “mid-20s life crisis.” At the time, even though he had “a good job, a great career, an apartment and my car”, he couldn’t help feeling that he was losing his vigor in life. Moreover, the continued stagnation of his life in Sweden made him fearful of the future.

“Everything was fine, you know? But I just felt like I could see my life too far ahead, like, ahead. I could see my life five years later, and it wasn’t something that made me feel alive.

“So it came from, like, basically these philosophical questions, like, ‘What is it about? What am I doing here and what do I want to do?'” Samim recalls .

Indonesian Touch: The outdoor space concept is inspired by exterior design commonly found in Bali and Yogyakarta. (JP/Felix Martua) (JP/Felix Martua)

Believing it was time to shake things up, Samim decided in 2014 to “sell everything” and move to Japan for the next two years – an intriguing excursion that also led him to his future wife Imelda Aprilia. , an Indonesian from Bogor. Once their relationship became more serious, in 2016, Samim decided to follow his wife and “start a life” in the Rainy City.

During their early years as a married couple, Samim and Imelda helped the latter’s family, which at the time operated a relatively small catering business in Bogor. After contributing to the operational expansion of the said business for the next three years, the couple decided it was time to start their own business, especially after familiarizing themselves with the Bogor market and the nooks and crannies of the management of a culinary shop.

Long story short: Stockholm Syndrome opened its doors to customers on February 1, 2019.

Intimate Swedish

To Samim’s surprise, opening a Swedish café in the city was less difficult than initially imagined. It turns out that Indonesians are quite open-minded when it comes to trying unconventional foreign cuisine.

“The Indonesian market is very, very interested in new foods,” he said. “For example, people like Japanese, Korean, Western, German, whatever you can think of. There really is no difference in Indonesia; everyone likes new food! We so we were a bit hesitant but at the same time we knew that most Indonesian people like new things they are not super nationalistic they only eat Padang or rendered or in a way to or whatever. They are really ready to try.”

Over time, Samim observed that Stockholm Syndrome constantly made itself known not only in Bogor, but also in Jakarta. The cafe’s Instagram account has so far garnered more than 12,000 followers – an “organic” popularity for which he credited regulars and patrons of Stockholm Syndrome, who have been more than willing to spread the word. As a result, Samim revealed that 50% of cafe customers are now foreigners.

“We wanted this place to give you an experience, and that experience translates into posts, photos, word of mouth and reviews,” he explained.

Such an experience, first and foremost, started with the cafe menu. While Samim and Imelda have always ensured that the Swedish dishes offered by Stockholm Syndrome are as authentic as possible, ultimately the former pointed out that even in his home country it is difficult to determine what tastes like a so-called “authentic” Swedish cuisine. considering that Sweden itself “is very integrated with many different cultures these days”.

He continued: “If you go to Sweden, there’s a plethora of different foods that aren’t Swedish, but the Swedes themselves love: kebabpizza, pasta, tacos, rice dishes, Chinese, Thai cuisine. »

That said, there’s usually a “family” quality to all foods that appeal to native Swedes – an elemental facet that serves as the overarching theme of the Stockholm Syndrome menu. Swedish meatballs, also known as köttbullar, are one of the café’s most “intimate” dishes – and also one of the café’s signature plates. The meatballs are complemented with mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, pickled cucumber and lingonberry jam – the latter is a type of berry that is a staple in the kitchen. Northern Europe and usually grows in arctic tundra.

“It’s a very intimate type of everyday food that’s available to everyone [in Sweden] because the ingredients are basic and we don’t need ultra-refined ingredients to make it happen,” Samim explained.

When it comes to Swedish pastries, Samim would personally recommend Swedish pancakes – also known as pannkakor — and traditional coffee seemeda bread with cardamom cream filled with sweet almonds and cardamom, whipped cream and icing sugar.

For vegetarians, Stockholm Syndrome recently partnered with Green Rebel Foods offering a selection of plant-based meals and coffee. For caffeine lovers, the coffee’s Midnight Romance – a cold brew concoction with peach, brown sugar and milac on top – is not to be missed.

Apart from the menu, Stockholm Syndrome doubles down on its “intimate” vibe via the architectural design of the café. The cafe offers an open-air space influenced by exterior designs commonly found in Bali and Yogyakarta, as evidenced by the way the space is adorned with palm trees and calatheas, complemented by rattan furniture and “earthly” wall accents.

Samim thinks the ‘lush’ vibe the cafe gives off is ‘also something that appeals to our customers. They really feel they can spend their mornings here, they can work here, they can eat here, that they can bring their families”.

Hearty lunch: The café's Köttbullar consists of meatballs, mashed potatoes, mushroom sauce, pickled cucumber and lingonberry jam.  (JP/Felix Martua)Hearty lunch: The café’s Köttbullar consists of meatballs, mashed potatoes, mushroom sauce, pickled cucumber and lingonberry jam. (JP/Felix Martua) (JP/Felix Martua)

Swedish takeover

In June this year, Stockholm Syndrome will be participating in a month-long culinary event called “Swedish Month” at the Coldheart BEC outlet, located at M Bloc Space, Jakarta. For the event, Stockholm Syndrome is collaborating with Muhammad Aga, a barista and winner of the 2018 Indonesia Barista Championship.

“I think it might be interesting for readers to know that if they can’t come to Bogor in June, we will actually land at M Bloc,” Samim said. To start, in about ten years, Samim would “love” to expand the cafe operations to Jakarta; Bandung, West Java; Yogyakarta and Bali.

Nita, a 43-year-old freelance writer and veteran of Stockholm Syndrome, applauded the cafe’s unique name and the spirit it imparts to her and her fellow customers.

“The place itself is very welcoming and very private. There is a back garden and people cannot see us from outside if we stay in the garden. And the price is reasonable. J love this place,” she remarked.

She also clarified that of all the food served at the cafe, Swedish meatballs and pancakes are her personal favorites.

“The elements complement each other, it’s a mouthful. How can I say ? Ngenyangin [filling]!” she concluded with a laugh.

Stockholm Syndrome opens daily from 9:00 a.m. and also opens for private parties. Pets are welcome. For more details, including reservations, check out his Instagram @stockholmsyndromebgr.

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