Nordic nosh has been cropping up across London ever since Noma landed on our shores and made Scandinavian food so popular.
New to London and open as of yesterday (!) Aquavit London offers an array of Nordic cuisine cooked in the traditional fashion, from fresh fish dishes to Smorgasbord, and is a must visit during the festive period!
You may be familiar with the Aquavit name – they are well known for their 2 michelin star New York flagship restaurant that offers a culinary experience of tasting menus and fine dining. Aquavit London carries through the tradition with a more relaxed A La Carte Menu and some amazing cocktails.
A stones throw from Piccadilly Circus in the redeveloped St James’ Market, the first thing you’ll notice is the beautiful high windows and ceilings. The light fittings in particular are quite mesmeric and captivating.
There is oodles of natural light too, which combined with the marble tables and gold detailing makes Aquavit a bloggers dream with countless photo opportunities! It’s fair to say that my memory card was crammed full after my visit and its worth a trip if just for a few great cocktails and to take in the stunning decor.
The All Day A La Carte menu encompasses authentic Nordic cuisine with some modern twists, using fresh and locally sourced ingredients. To start with we channelled our inner Viking and went for the traditional Nordic classics, a Smorgasbord of tasty appetisers. Smorgasbord for those not familiar with the term is a range of delicacies served in a tapas style format and is the best way forward for those wanting the authentic experience.
This included an array of pickled vegetables and potted shrimp accompanied by the most moreish home made rye bread. My recent commitment to go slow on my gluten intake went completely out the window (!)
One of the highlights for me was the gravlax with mustard and dill sauce, a simple and healthy dish, but cured to perfection. It amazes me how hard it can be to find good fish in London and the ingredients at Aquavit are of the freshest variety, the salmon was melt in the mouth.
A dish that I was pleasantly surprised by was the very traditional Matje Herring, potato, sour cream and egg yolk. The flavours combined well together and it’s always nice to try something slightly different and unusual.
For the main event we were given the options of Swedish meatballs, cod with shrimps or Kroppakor (a potato dumpling served with mushrooms and lingonberries). The general consensus at the table seemed to be the true Swedish classic of meatballs, so I thought I would stump for the cod with shrimps, confident I could persuade someone to let me try a meatball or two (!)
I am a big fan of fish and the cod was certainly no let down. It was cooked perfectly and fell apart on my plate; truly some of the nicest cod I have ever tasted. Served with shrimp, pickled cucumber and dill, it was fresh and really hit the spot.
I was successful in my hunt for a meatball or two and can vouch that they were no exception to the level of food of the evening! Meatballs may sound like a simple dish but if we’ve all tried the IKEA meatballs we know that they can be massacred. This dish was another triumph and was complimented well by the creamed mash and sharpness of the lingonberries.
I think sharing the two mains with a partner is potentially the best way to go and a great way to experience different flavours and textures.
For the finishing touch we had the option of 3 incredible sounding desserts and it was a tough decision. The options included Arctic Bird’s Nest, apple crumble or rosehip soup. The waitress sadly rebuffed my request of all 3 and so I decided on the Chef’s special, Arctic Bird’s Nest.
This was undoubtedly the ‘piece de resitance’ and unlike any dessert I have tried before. A combination of a pastry ‘nest’ with a goat’s cheese ice cream egg and lemon yolk. A masterpiece of construction and incredibly photogenic! I almost didn’t want to attack the ‘egg’ but needs must…
The apple crumble was a Nordic take on what is a very classic British dessert. Served with charcoal vanilla ice cream, it was just delicious and a dish that left me wanting more and more.
Whether you are in town for a romantic dinner or in the area for lunch with friends, Aquavit is a great option to try something a bit different and experience some amazing textures and flavours. Having opened yesterday, it’s the perfect time to head on down before the bookings no doubt start flooding in!
Have you guys tried much Nordic cuisine before?
Are there any other Nordic restaurants in London you would recommend?