Mathias Dalghren is one of the most emblematic of Swedish chefs. Without him, other chefs never would have dared to believe in the richness of their land, while also allowing themselves to travel and to be open to other cultures, to freedom.
Mathias admits that it took him quite some time to imagine his Matbaren (“food bar” in Swedish) and to make it become a reality. “I have never before asked myself so many questions”. Coming from a 46-year old man with 30 years of experience in the industry under his belt, this confession says a lot.
And yet he seemed completely relaxed that day, sitting at one of his cloth-less tables, looking over the kitchen on one side and the long bar on the other. There is no menu in Dalghren’s bistro, nestled in the Grand Hôtel of the capital. Instead you will find a sort of culinary journey, from ingredient to producer. We thus travelled from small plate to small plate, each one representing a piece of the country, inspired by here and there, by the chef ’s roots and the earth. We will definitely remember that unctuous bowl of brown buttered Jerusalem artichokes topped with crisp and golden chips, garnished with roasted flaxseeds and turned irresistible with delicate fish eggs to be scooped up like jewels. The veal tartar with creamy cheese topped with crispy onions on the other hand was borderline junk food. And we mean that in the best way possible.
There are no rules at Matbaren, other than to enjoy yourself and indulge. “Today, the only problem we face is choosing”, Mathias Dalghren repeats to himself and others, again and again, with a mischievous smile.