Scandinavian food is certainly unique, perhaps even, an acquired taste. Recently, chic and sparsely decorated Nordic restaurants have been popping up all over London. Aquavit hails from New York, where chef Emma Bengtsson has been instrumental in winning the establishment two Michelin stars. This winter saw the opening of Aquavit London, a stylish but casual eatery found in the new St James’s Market, which plays host to a selection of sophisticated retail and dining businesses.
I went along to an opening night bloggers dinner at Aquavit a few weeks ago. First we were invited to sample the cocktails, expertly made in front of us at the bar. I tried the Scandi Mule, a long and fruity drink which pairs a measure of O.P. Anderson aquavit (a Swedish spirit) with lemongrass, lime and ginger beer.
A selection of Smorgasbord was put in the centre of the table for us to share and pick at. Cured fish, homemade rye bread and pickled vegetables were appreciatively gobbled up. Fresh but wholesome food which feels healthy whilst tasting delicious.
For main course I couldn’t resist trying the Swedish meatballs with lingonberries and pickled cucumber. The portion size was relatively small, which was fine for me, but I did wonder whether guests paying £16 may hope for a bigger serving. The meatballs were made from finely ground meat and nicely seasoned. I adored the silky smooth mashed potato but wasn’t quite sure about the addition of ligonberries. It was a tasty dish and reminded me of childhood trips to the Ikea foodhall!
Most of us round the table opted for the Artic Bird’s Nest for dessert after our waitress told us it was the signature dessert. A strange but alluring mix of flavours and textures, it satisfied my sugar craving whilst challenging the conventional chocolate pudding.
Aquavit is open everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so it is always a good time to go along and sample some refined Nordic cuisine.
More information and book a table at Aquavit here.