You can hardly ask any serious foodie or chef in Stockholm for restaurant recommendations without getting the names Adam and Albin on your list. Adam Dahlberg and Albin Wessman are both alumni of the well-known Swedish chef Mathias Dahlgren. In May 2016, the chef duo opened up Adam/Albin on Rådmannsgatan 16 – a laidback neighborhood bistro meets fine dining restaurant right on the border of Östermalm and Vasastan.
Before Adam/Albin came about, the same venue was host to Adam & Albin Matstudio. On weekdays, the two chefs served up a Swedish version of ramen for lunch, but, once or twice per month, the food studio would become an experimental pop-up dinner with a lengthy tasting menu. This is what later became Adam/Albin in a completely refurbished setting. Today, you also find Tvätteriet next door (named after the old laundry that moved out), where they host wine and cooking classes as well as special events. And the Japanese noodle soup? That has moved to restaurant Raamen – part of the food market Teatern at Ringen. My visit, in September 2017, however, was all about the flagship restaurant Adam/Albin.
Besides the tasteful interior with brass details, marble, and mint green colors, Adam/Albin is not your typical fine dining restaurant. The busy and bustling venue, sports an open kitchen with counter seats, and a large community table in the middle of the room where you can sit side by side with total strangers. Two tops and four tops stand close together along the outer edges of the dining room. Lotti and Tom were waiting for us already, at the table in the far right corner of the room where the wall is covered in art deco-style mirrors. This meal was our wedding present for them. Obviously, that called for Champagne in the glass and a general all-in-approach to both food and wine.
A Set Menu With À La Carte Options
The menu at Adam/Albin costs SEK 895 and consists of five courses. However, the first course is a series of initial snacks that are decided by the kitchen each night. We had six snacks this evening, plus two additional courses we could choose as add-ons, thus, our dinner ended up being a 12-course meal. For the last four servings, you can actually choose between two or three options in each round. That makes for a very interesting mix between a set menu and à la carte!
I loved the bread serving, which consisted of rye bread rolls, served with smoked butter sprinkled with dried algae (which has a truffle-like aroma), chives, and hot Espelette chili powder. The rolls reminded me of the fermented potato bread at Amass in Copenhagen, and the similar celeriac bread at Arakataka in Oslo, but had a different taste and texture altogether.
The two additional dishes we had was a taco with caramelized langoustine (probably from Norway!), priced at SEK 145, and a signature dish of poached oyster with aubergine purée, caviar, and whipped cream with chicken flavor that came complimentary from the kitchen. Both were delicious, but the oyster and caviar was a standout dish that, honestly, should have made it to my list of top 25 best dishes in 2017.
The Adam & Albin Style
Lucky as I am to dine with Hedda, she always agrees to share everything. That meant, we could both experience four extra dishes! From the second course, which was the first selection we got to make, lamb tartare had to make way for a creamy Swedish buffalo mozzarella, with almond sauce, topped with perfect slivers of green avocado, smoked figs, and thyme. As well as thin slices of tuna toro, with a cold almond sauce poured tableside, tomatoes & shiso leaves. Both were as delicious as they were beautiful.
We had finished our Champagne at this point, so I ordered a bottle of Kopin! by Anne & Jean-François Ganevat priced at SEK 900 (a markup of slightly more than three times the retail price in Norway). It was refreshing and acidic, with an aroma of green apples, and paired well with the dishes ahead.
Round three, which is still considered starters, I believe, brought us a delectable yellow beet tart, with pickled onions and a black truffle crème double. Plus, king crab (probably from Norway!) with broad beans, pine nuts, and a butter sauce. This is the point where I realized that Adam & Albin has a very distinct style to their presentations that I’ve never seen before. It’s difficult to describe in details, but it’s much the same way as a photographer who has a similar look to all his photos. Something that unifies each individual piece of art. Just like Bo Bech has his signature look, Kadeau is recognizable through all their plates, and the same goes for Esben-Holmboe Bang at Maaemo.
Where Are You, Michelin Man?
To go with the main courses (if you can call these small plates that), I stayed with Ganevat and choose their brilliant Y´a bon the Canon (also priced at SEK 900 with a similar markup). With 75% Gamay grapes, this wine is extremely juicy and fruity with flavors of raspberries and red currants. A glou-glou kind of red wine, as my friend Linn Johsen (aka Vinstudinen) likes to describe them. Wild turbot with zucchini, horseradish and sesame seeds was the clear winner in the fourth chapter of the Adam/Albin experience.
In the fifth and final episode, we delved into the desserts. The Artichoke, was a mock artichoke consisting of a warm almond and artichoke cake, with fake artichoke leaves made of almonds, and a sauce of browned butter and maple syrup (yes!). On the side was a bay leaf ice cream, which was a match made in heaven.
The second dessert was no less delightful or appetizing. White peaches laid out in a symmetric pattern that could please the worst of neat freaks. Underneath the peaches was an ice cream infused with flavor from different flowers, and on the side of the plate was a sabayon of Moscato d’Asti with fresh raspberries.
A magnificent evening ended with a petit four of maple syrup cake with liquorice ganache & soy meringue. Just to make us cry for mercy, I guess. The next time I’m in Stockholm, I’ll head straight for a seat in the bar of Adam/Albin, where you can drop by without a reservation. You can order every dish à la carte, and just relax with a good glass (or bottle) of wine on the side.
The only question I’m left with after this meal is: where are you, Michelin man? Adam/Albin currently holds a Michelin plate (with one piece of cutlery), but clearly deserves a star. Perhaps the wine is too natural or the service and atmosphere too relaxed, but that didn’t stop the red book from rewarding restaurant 108, though – hint, hint, nudge, nudge.