Mathias Dahlgren, Stockholm – May 4, 2012, 8-course 1650 sek
It is one of the Michelin two-star restaurants in Stockholm, located in the Grand Hotel. It has been nicknamed as “Matsalen” and is a formal dining room. Its chef also owns a bistro, nicknamed “Matbaren”, in the Grand Hotel.
We started with the Amuse Bouche. We had crispy cheese sheet, fried onion, sea moss. I was informed that crispy cheese sheet was made of gruyere cheese and parmigiano cheese micro-waved on a mode to form a curved shape. I hope that I can munch on this crispy cheese sheet made out of my own kitchen one day. Fried sea moss puff was also delicious. Matsalen served varieties of spread to accompany varieties of bread.
1st course - “Scandinavian Sashimi – cucumber, ginger, horseradish, soy, salty herbs.” If you are a sashimi lover, I strongly urge you to come here and enjoy this dish. The sashimi was the freshest quality and the horseradish sauce was just potent enough to feel the hot air coming out of your nose when you swallowed each bite, a truly amazing sauce.
3rd course - “Cabbage & smoked pork belly – consommé, daikon, lovage." It was a special bred of pork served with low temperature baked cabbage overnight. The roasted and then thinly sliced pork belly looked almost semi-translucent on the plate with a very appetizing appearance. This was the chef’s signature dish.
4th course - “Salt baked red beet & smoked ox marrow- crème fraiche, caviar, chives." The ox marrow was spread on top of beet under the layer of cream fraiche and caviar. This dish also served as a palate cleaner before the next course.
5th course - “Egg & truffle – fried spinach, gruyere, sea salt." It looked like custard egg in the shell top with truffle and served with fried spinach on the side.
6th course - “Wild duck & fried peppers, natural jus, steamed levain bread." Wild duck did not have a strong gamy taste and was cooked medium with natural juice.
7th course – “Seared Filet of Turbot, potatoes, onions, herbs” or “Fried sweetbreads of veal, white asparagus, morels, ramsons." I chose turbot and strongly emphasized my request for medium-cooked fish. I got two pieces of fish in my plate and one piece was overcooked. In the meantime, I found out the roasted white asparagus (slow roasted) with another choice was out of the world. I, therefore, requested for white asparagus instead of another piece of fish. When I was eating this replacement dish, I thought of the 2nd best white asparagus (slow poached) that I had two years ago at the Fisher Fritz in Berlin, another Michelin two-star restaurant.
8th course - Since I requested for Blueberry Sorbet as a substitute for the listed desert item “Apple & Cream of Rice”, I got blueberry-themed desert. Let me tell you about the berries in the Nordic countries. There are so many varieties, they all taste awfully good. This blueberry sorbet had such a wonderful taste that I felt like I could have another order. After the desert, we had a few petite four before we were invited to visit their kitchen. When I asked the head chef what was his master piece, he said he favored “Cabbage & smoked pork belly."