Royale by Michael Björklund in Stockmann’s Helsinki city centre department store focuses on good, Finnish food in a cultural setting. Café Royale and BBQ Royale’s core values are high quality and local products, excellent service, and good food.
Behind the Royale by Michael Björklund concept is, in addition to chef Michael Björklund, also Thomas Strandvik. Two owners and a novel restaurant concept make quick revisions possible according to customer wishes. The brand name “Royale by Michael Björklund” and the interior design linking everything together tells the visitor who is behind the business. The catchwords of the interior design are timelessness, French-inspired, the 1930’s, and tastefulness. The experienced concept interior designer Eva-Jo Hancock is behind the concept and the interior design of Royale.
The restaurants in Stockmann have a taste of the world outside Helsinki. The café has a scent of Paris in the 1930’s and the BBQ restaurant is inspired by the cosy, small local restaurants in Brooklyn, NYC. ”We have nodded towards times gone by in Helsinki, especially when the department store was new and already a window to the world. In the midst of the chandeliers in the café, we have made a Wall of Femmes, with some of the heroines from Helsinki’s history worth remembering. The walls of the BBQ restaurant are decorated with everyday heroes from Micke’s native Åland. Here, we have black-and-white historical portraits of farmers making hay on Åland. Frozen moments in time from the fields. Pictures that show us that we still need the soil today, just as before, to satisfy our hungers.”
The whole Royale by Michael Björklund concept is saturated with a sustainability philosophy. The starting point of the interior decoration is its authentic building materials: wood, tiles, glass, and iron – materials that age beautifully and represent authenticity and sustainability. The room should reflect the food! We have painted the walls with egg tempera, an age-old painting technique, where the pigment is ground rock and the binder consists of ecological eggs and linseed oil. An ecological and sustainable technique, which gives an unparalleled lively, beautiful wall as a result. All lights are LED lights with minimal electricity consumption. Is there anything more beautiful than hand-made tiles reflected in the brass of the counter?
Our food philosophy follows this same line of thinking. We work with products that are as local as possible and choose ingredients that are in season. All to have the smallest ecological footprint possible.
WHO ARE WE?
Michael ”Micke” Björklund
Michael ”Micke” Björklund is a chef who needs no introduction in the Nordics. Already at a young age, he was a familiar sight at the large culinary scenes. He has focused on highlighting Nordic food, products, and producers. In his back pocket, Michael has titles, such as Chef of the Year, both in Finland and in Sweden, a fifth place in the Bocuse d’Or chef championship, and being the Finnish Food Ambassador in the New Nordic Food programme. For the wider audience Michael is known from several popular TV shows and cookbooks. Michael also won the popular Swedish TV show Robinson (Survivor) in 2020.
Micke also runs several restaurants. On Åland, he runs Smakbyn, Åland Distillery Restaurant and Golfrestaurangen. He also runs Niska together with Thomas Strandvik in Mariehamn. There are Niska restaurants also in Vaasa, Helsinki, Turku, and Ekenäs. Michael is also a part-owner of restaurant HEJM in Vaasa.
Thomas Strandvik is a seasoned entrepreneur and has worked in the food and beverage industry for the past 23 years. Together with Michael Björklund, he has run Niska since 2011. Today, the Niska chain has five restaurants: in Mariehamn, Ekenäs, Helsinki, Turku, and Vaasa. Niska serves Plåtbröd (Nordic pizza). The newest additions are now Royale BBQ and Café Royale in the distinguished Stockmann department store in Helsinki city centre. In Royale by Michael Björklund, local seasonal products are used as far as possible. The food is cooked with much love and care. Thomas lives on Åland together with his wife, two children and a dog. He loves to fish during the weekdays – so much so, that he works as a fishing guide on the side, when he is not working with the restaurants. Thomas and Michael are very different from one another and complete each other well. Thomas’s strengths are in holistic thinking, HR issues, trends, and finances. Unknown to many is the fact, that once upon a time, Thomas and Micke were in the same grade when studying to become chefs at Ålands Hotell- och Restaurangskola.
Eva-Jo Hancock is a concept designer at Rabalder Story Design and a marketer with some twenty restaurants on her resumé. Eva-Jo has worked in Stockholm, Mariehamn, New York, and Paris with restaurant, bar, and hotel projects in particular. On her resumé are, among others Restaurang Grill, Hotell Tegnérlunden, Lydmar Hotel, Muskot (winner of European Curry Awards 2019 and among the top 7 best Budget-category restaurants in Stockholm, according to Svenska Dagbladet), and Ultimat (honored Årets Hjärtekrog by White Guide). In 2018, she was elected to the board of the Svenska Belysningssällskapet association. Eva-Jo works with restaurant concepts from start to finish, from the name and logo to the interior design and lighting. For her, the restaurant’s light and sound are on centre stage, and the starting point of the interior decoration is its authentic building materials: wood, tiles, glass, iron, and egg tempera – materials that age beautifully and represent authenticity and sustainability. Eva-Jo wants the room to reflect the food, and for the restaurant visit to be a journey.