Tuesday, November 24, 2009


langoustine and cheek of pig
(peas, fried cauliflower, crackling, lovage)

had one of my more memorable dining experiences just under a week ago. it's not been all that long but gosh, it feels like a lifetime away because dinner was so amazing it went straight to my memory bank and the food to my camera memory stick instead of into my stomach, as C quipped a few weeks ago.

dinner at matsalen was long-anticipated, ever since the parentals visited in fact. but they wanted to save it for when he visited so i obediently booked a two-top months in advance and eagerly awaited the feast. well, feast isn't the most accurate word, because the serving sizes were optimal - tasted everything we were meant to taste but without compromising on limited stomach space. who wants to roll out of a restaurant after 13 courses anyway? the whole buffet-bulge look? not classy. then again, we did manage to tuck 13 courses and a few extras somewhere. spare stomach, maybe. very bovine.

in fact, i'd been dreaming of matsalen since singers, when i first mentioned to my neighbour and 'employer' (i teach his kid chinese. haha.) that i was coming to stocks on exchange, the first thing he did was tell me eat at matsalen, in fact, i think he even offered me a bonus to fund dinner, then he retracted it and said to ask my parents to take me when they visit. bah. that said, aformentioned neighbour-boss is an illustrious journalist specialising in food&wine, and cars. so he knows his stuff. then again, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure that matsalen's a great restaurant. i think the michelin men concur, but who gives a hoot about them pretentious frenchies anyway ;)

dinner was spectacular, to say the least. and the company even better. while the food quality and presentation was superior to operakallaren, i actually found the service lacking. matsalen's decidedly less stuffy than operakalaren. instead of plush carpeting and luxe finishing like chandeliers and heavy golden tassles, there was a muted parquet floor and the place was done up in equally muted shades of blue and gold (swedish colours!). the waitstaff wore aprons over their industrial chic uniform of faded denim shirt and pants, compared to the practically white-tie waitstaff dresscode at operakalaren. hmm and if i do have one grouse, i felt the matsalen waitstaff were overtly pushy when it came to beverages. like they tried to pressure us into ordering more drinks and without our asking, they'd open a new bottle before we were even done with the old. didn't appreciate the presumption and we ended up being charged for three bottles at the end of the meal. how can two diner possibly down three bottles in the course of dinner! brought it up to the hostess on our way out and she was apologetic, offering to take the last bottle off the bill but we'd have rounded up the bill to the same figure with the tip anyway. so in effect the waitress had the cost of the last bottle taken out of her gratuity. it did leave a semi-unpleasant aftertaste all the same, especially because it's the sort of cheap, cheat-money trick you'd sort of expect at less acclaimed establishments. but matsalen? low blow.

on the whole, beverage bitch aside, dinner was unforgettable and i do hope i one day reach a point where i can afford to eat that way at whim, yet at the same time never losing the wide-eyed wonder with each ecstatic bite and general appreciation and acknowledgement of just how blessed i am.

dinner has been meticulously photographed in its various stages and those photos are on facebook under 'matsalen'.


  1. you should ask tkx how he described this meal to us. really. go ask.

  2. people who've never experienced aforementioned expression before shouldn't talk.