Smak restaurant – review
This restaurant is in a higher class bracket than we’re used to but after hearing so many positive comments about it, including from hubby, I just had to ask him to take me there. The restaurant concept is a bit different in that you order by flavours, eg. basil, wasabi, coffee, horseradish, garlic, etc. They have 3 different price menus – 3, 5 or 7 dishes which correspond to a main, 2 courses, and 3 courses respectively. The menus were on the tables and they served as place mats as well. One would check off the flavours on the menu and then call them out to the waitress. Rather an inefficient way, I thought! They could have printed the menus separately on A5-papers and all the waitress would’ve to do was gather them up. Anyway, we decided to splurge and went for 7 flavours.
The first flavour was aniseed which consisted of marinated raw scallops in a carrot soup with strings of papaya and daikon and an aniseed salt. The scallops were delicious and really fresh and the aniseed salt gives it a texture as well as taste. I loved the salad of papaya and daikon although I couldn’t taste the daikon. The carrot soup was too sour for my taste but hubby enjoyed it.
Next was the wasabi flavour for hubby which was salmon tartare with soy sauce, avocado, apple slices and wasabi. It was heavenly and I regretted that I didn’t order it.
I had the coffee flavour which was duck liver truffle with a cherry jelly and it was very yummy although quite heavy. The duck liver had some cherry jam on the inside and looked like chocolate truffles and the cherry jelly was a perfect complement to the duck.
We both had the sorrel flavour and it was divine! The cold smoked cod was out of this world and the block of avocado looked like a work of art. While the lobster didn’t have a lot of taste, the soup was full of flavour! There were also some miniature tomatoes, about the size of peas and these were wonderful. I thought that this dish would’ve been much better served warm.
After this was the horseradish flavour. I couldn’t eat this as it contained a lot of cream and I’m lactose intolerant. Also, the soup wasn’t as warm as I would’ve liked. From the few spoons that I tried, the cauliflower taste was intense which was a surprise. This dish was, by the way, huge compared to other portions!
We were half-way through and in no way was I half-full so I was still looking forward to quelling my hunger.
Next was capers. This was a beef tartare and the yellow on top was not an egg yolk but rather vendace roe eggs. The caper cream was very delicious. I really enjoyed the pickled red onion here and it perfectly complemented the beef but I didn’t think that the roe was a perfect pairing. Nevertheless, we both enjoyed this dish!
Then came the ginger flavour, embodied in dumplings with pig cheeks and vårkål (lesser celandine according to Wikipedia). This dish was inedible! This is the reason why I absolutely HATE Asian fusion! I thought that I would try one more time to learn to like Asian fusion but this rather put me off it for life! The sauce tasted extremely salty and sour at the same time and tasted like the efforts of a 5 year old! The dumpling skin was slimy and whoever made this had no idea about how to fold a dumpling. The pig cheek filling was unremarkable. On the whole, it was a very bad dish! I had to give it to hubby and although he didn’t think it was so salty, he thought that it wasn’t anything special!
After the dumpling course I was rather fuming inside. Fortunately, the next flavour was sesame and this made up for the previous course. First off, the portion was larger than preceding dishes and it was an explosion of texture and taste. There were strings of confit duck deep fried and also slices of duck meat with still some pink inside. The salad was a profusion of different greens and the dressing was perfect! The pomelo and watermelon provided a mild tartness that was perfect to the dish.
My last flavour was parmesan. This was a lamb dish accompanied by risotto. I can now say with absolute certainty that I don’t like risotto. I’ve tried to like risotto by ordering it at different restaurants but the risotto was either crunchy or mushy. Here, it was over-cooked and on top of that, served at room temperature. Stodgy is the only word I could use to describe it! The lamb was thank God, very nice – tender and full of flavour!
Hubby’s last flavour was juniper – an apple crumble and it was very delicious!
To sum up, there were hits and misses for me. The hot food, when it was served, wasn’t hot enough. The cook had a special liking for too much salt and s/he couldn’t make Asian food if his/her life depended on it! I wish that they would’ve provided us with something between each flavour to clean out our palates as the different flavours interfered with each other. We had 7 flavours which according to their website, is equivalent to 3 courses, appetizer, main and dessert. Unfortunately, I wasn’t full at the end of the meal! Would I recommend this restaurant to friends? The answer is NO! It wasn’t a cheap dining experience and for the amount of money that we paid, I expected much better food, as reflected in my rating below.
We were here at 7pm on a Friday night and the restaurant was very busy. Everyone was enjoying the novelty of the restaurant concept so it was a very good atmosphere.
Because the restaurant was quite full, the service suffered a bit. Our bread was brought after the first taste was served and we had to ask for it. Our main waitress just delivered the dishes to us without any explanations at all.
The toilet was clean.
Value for money: 3/5
Smak, Oxtorgsgatan 14 Stockholm (metro: Hötorget)