Michelin-starred SK Mat & Människor is one of Gotenburg's restaurant gems and spoils foodie's every sense.
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My absolute favourite restaurant find during themost recent trip to Gothenburg was SK Mat & Människor, a restaurant applauded by both White Guide Nordic and tyreman's tour guide (one star).
We managed to squeeze in a reservation for the last night of my stay and the meal was easily one of the highlights of the whole trip.
That is a high praise indeed - especially considering that things between Gothenburger and me went so sour that the whole dinner was spent in awkward silence.
Now, while a optimally succesful dining experience requires that everything in the restaurant itself comes together (the atmosphere, food and floor staff all deliver), guests themselves need to be in the right headspace. That was most definitely not the case tonight, but restaurant handled their part of the deal so remarkably that the result was definitely a dinner to remember.
SK Mat & Människor is particularly great destination for a culinary crusader because of its open plan kitchen, located in the middle of its intimate dining room which only seats 42 and from where you have the ringside seats to watch where the magic happens. The food is being prepared in front of you and occasionally even served by the chefs themselves.
And in case you want to get in on the action, you can. Chef's Table- dinners allow pre-booked groups of up to 12 people prepare their dinner together with the chefs. At the end of the night you go home well-fed, with restaurant's apron, diploma... and the recipes for all of the dishes.
I'm so in!
As can be expected, they've gone out of their way to pay attention to every detail.
Everything is stylish and thought through, yet there's none of that pompous rigidness that tends to deter people from giving restaurants this quality a chance.
The emphasis of the menu is on seasonal thinking and Swedish produce: there's locally sourced octopus, pheasant from Skåne and vendace roe from Brothers Persson of Piteå.
In addition to the menu, consisting of 11 choices, there are also three tasting menus: either 4, 6 or 8 courses (€62/ €75/€89).
Since we're both grateful carnivores, we had no issues with it, but the menu is rather heavy on meat. Even the current one only boasts one vegetarian dish (in addition to the cheese selection) so I don't know if they might be able to accommodate vegetarians with something from outside the list.
Wine list's focus is on the Old World, many of which are organic. Each tasting menu is paired to go with a wine package, which come in regular and premium - the latter one featuring wines that would normally only be available by the bottle (prices €41/ €62, €62/€92 and €84/€116).
Seeing how tasting menus are only served for the whole table the date had to give in and opt for one, too. We had already settled on the 4-course menu...
...until I discovered the squid dish on the 6-course menu. We weren't allowed to make any changes on the set menu, so we ended up adding an extra course into ours, bringing the feast to 5 courses.
First up was cured and seared beef tenderloin with tarragon mayo, radish, Swedish apple, crunchy fried onion and bread crumb crisp.
Dear me. What a gorgeous kick-off!
The next dish continued with meat: it was chuck of beef with lingonberries, crisp golden beets, cream cheese and pickled mushrooms.
Excellent. Utterly comforting. By now all even all the tears had vanished.
Then the squid was carried over, accompanied by black garlic, grilled tomatos, fennel, ginger and seafood foam. Beautifully cooked squid and loads of flavours balanced nicely with the richness of the foam.
Awwwwwww. At this point it was impossible not to feel the smile steadily climb back on my face. Even my gaze started to make its way to my date. Well, his plate anyway; just to see if I might be able to finish his, too.
The fish dish (fried and smoked brill with creamed leeks, spicy roasted carrot and just with lemon and browned butter) was... intriguing.
It created a peculiar Alice in Wonderland effect: eyes said one thing, brain another and taste buds something else entirely.
For one I found it difficult to believe the carrot was actually carrot. It's texture and the spicy notes lent it a decidedly meaty finish.
I am also almost 100% sure the waiter told the jus was oxtail comsommé, which would seem a bit... well, intriguing. But the dark umami-richness did taste like it too.
Combined with fish and especially its smokiness the result was puzzling: though my eyes were convinced I was consuming fish, the taste experience was so deeply carnal I didn't know which one to believe anymore.
Like everything else up until now, the dessert was pure food porn; a blissful celebration of contrasts and textures.
Sea buckthorn, poached apple, canilla ice cream, browned butter (!!!), meringue crumbs and warm caramel sauce.
Together with a beer, 3 glasses of wine (Italian Pinot Nero that carried nicely through the meal) the total came to about €200. Worth it? Abso-freaking-lutely.
(Even if six weeks on we're still struggling to talk to each other...)
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SK Mat & Människor
+46 31 81 25 80
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