It’s completely full in the little restaurant on Tjärhovsgatan that previously housed Borrwall’s kitchen when we visit Madam on an early Friday evening. The rumour of a new restaurant serving genuine Korean food culture has spread, and the interest is obviously great. We’re hungry and have intentionally arrived an hour before our reservation hoping to be accommodated. No such luck, but the head waiter suggests a pre-dinner cocktail at favourite haunt Wood – something we certainly don’t have any objection towards. Who would?
By the time we come back we are met by a nod in acknowledgement, and are swiftly shown the way to a table for two by the window, where we get a menu slipped into our hands before we even sit down. Everything on offer seems enticing but we decide on a load of Tteokbokki, rice cookies with gochujang, for just shy of hundred kronor as starter. They arrive almost as soon as we put our hands back down on the table after handing back the menus. The rice cookies turn out to have the perfect texture and are considerably spicy. The heat from the garlic, sesame and chilli park inside both our mouths and chests like a warm blanket and make us a bit uncomfortable ahead of the coming dishes, that actually come with the word ‘Spicy’ on the menu. Luckily we have also ordered in some special craft brew from Stockholm Brewing to wash everything down with for a soothing effect.
While we have a breather before the main course we take the opportunity to feast on the restaurant’s own “hopple” (non-alcoholic apple cider with hops), fermented by a friend of the waiter. It is somewhat sweet, but perfectly suited as a palate cleanser together with the three kinds of kimchi (cabbage, winter radish, spring onions) that have also landed at our table.
The visiting clientele seem very diverse, it’s a party of relatives, a group of young guys, there are couples, friends and a boozy alliance and the service-minded staff navigate all the various character traits with ease.
For our mains we decide against the bulgogi as well as the bibimbap due to the fact that they are both available for lunch also. Instead we dare to try the Bo Ssam, pork belly with carrots and the soybean paste ssamjang for 225 kroner. The dish is served like a kit of components, with lettuce leafs and other goodies, plus a pair of scissors to cut the components into portion-sized pieces. An enjoyable puzzle that comes with a pleasant reward as soon as the small packs reach the palate. The same ritual plays out towards the end of the meal in the shape of the short-rib based dish Meaun Kali Jjim – the spiciest dish on the menu (240 kronor). But by this time our taste buds are anesthetized enough that it doesn’t inflict any pain.
The bill doesn’t inflict any pain either and we can delightedly confirm that the good reputation that Madam already has amassed is well-deserved.
Tjärhovsgatan 5, madamsthlm.se