From filling our houses with scented candles to stacking our wardrobes with cozy knitted sweaters, London’s hygge obsession is one that continues to flourish. As we start to welcome the warmer months and look forward to celebrating the midsommar solstice, we’ve uncovered five of the tastiest places in the capital for some gravlax and smørrebrød.
Named after the famous Northern Lights, Børealis, Danish-born restaurateur Soren Jessen’s third restaurant in the capital, was launched in collaboration with workspace trailblazers FORA Space. Situated just a few minutes away from bustling Borough market, the space includes a ground floor restaurant and bar and takeaway café. The menu showcases traditional Nordic flavours and preservation techniques like curing, smoking, and pickling. Diners can enjoy dishes like frikadeller (veal and pork meatballs) with mashed potato, gravy, lingonberries, and quick pickled cucumber and a sticky chocolate cake called kladkaka.
Where: 180 Borough High St, London, SE1 1LB
With a pedigree that includes working with top chefs such as Jeremy Lee and Phil Howard, it’s no wonder high-end Nordic restaurant Aquavit London earned itself a Michelin star last year under Executive Chef Henrik Ritzen. The Swedish chef and his team have prepared an excellent offering with choices such as turbot with Norwegian Sandefjord sauce, peas, broad beans, and horseradish and salmon gravlax with mustard and dill sauce. The restaurant interiors embrace Nordic creativity as well with designs by Swedish-born Martin Brudnizki’s studio, silverware by Georg Jensen, textiles by Olafur Eliasson, furniture by Svensk Tenn, and staff uniforms by Ida Sjöstedt.
Where: St James’s Market, 1 Carlton Street, London, SW1Y 4QQ
Snaps + Rye
In the heart of iconic Notting Hill lies Snaps + Rye, the Danish restaurant and café that makes for a perfect pitstop after shopping for vintage goods at nearby Portobello Market. Promising a “whole lot of hygge”, diners can feast on The Full Danish for breakfast, smørrebrød open sandwiches for lunch, or Var salmon from the Faroe Islands for dinner. Don’t forget to try some cocktails curated by The Danish Snaps Company!
Where: 93 Golborne Road, Golborne, London, W10 5NL
Centrally-located in the new Nova development near Victoria station, Aster is an all-day brasserie by Executive Chef Helena Puolakka who hails from Finland. Aster does bottomless brunch, Sunday roast, theatre menus, and seasonal surprises like their current Spring pop-up bar with Finnish design house Marimekko. Expect Nordic-inspired plates like red beetroot gnocchi with Ragstone goat cheese, watercress, and confit pecans and Finnish potato hash with pork sausage, picked red onions, and a sunny side up hen egg.
Where: 150 Victoria Street, London, SW1E 5LB
After honing his craft under the likes of Gordon Ramsay, Tom Aikens, and Marcus Wareing, Chef Agnar Sverrisson decided to open up his own restaurant in 2007. He describes his cooking at Texture, his Michelin-starred Marylebone restaurant, as “modern Scandinavian with Asian influences”. His menu sources local products from the UK as well as his native Iceland and features imaginative dishes such as Icelandic cod with barley, saffron, avocado, and prawns and Isle of Skye scallops with coconut, soup, kaffir lime leaves, and lemongrass.
Where: 34 Portman Street, London, W1H 7BY