Review by Charlotte Civil
NESTLED in the stylish confines of St James’ Market, Aquavit London is a welcome treat for any ardent foodies with a penchant for Nordic cuisine.
This delightful glass-fronted restaurant which opened in November, brims with Scandinavian cool – understated but elegant with its calming rustic interior: wood panelled walls, colourful textile wall hangings designed by Olafur Ellasson, banquette-style seating and contemporary and retro design lighting which perfectly sets the scene for what is a culinary experience to remember.
Fresh, seasonal ingredients are key to the mouthwatering menu on offer developed by Henrik Ritzén, Executive Chef of Aquavit London, and Emma Bengtsson, Executive Chef of Aquavit New York.
There’s an abundance of seafood and use of berries, mushrooms and other wild foods and plenty of signature Nordic dishes such as Smörgåsbord (small sharing plates) with options including pickles, shrimp, herrings and Gravlax with a tangy mustard and dill sauce.
My dining companion and I sampled a couple of dishes from the Smörgåsbord recommended by our waitress Elin – pre-starter. The Shrimp Skagen (shrimps on toast), renowned as a classic Swedish dish and the beautifully smooth Liver pate which was served with a selection of freshly baked breads.
This was followed by Asparagus with smoked Nobis dressing and rye crumbs and for main which we just about had room for, I opted for the Monkfish with Sandefjord sauce, trout roe and fennel while my friend tucked into, best end of lamb with cabbage and lingonberries.
Our tastebuds were singing each dishes praises with their distinctive flavours. The dessert menu too is simply sensational with mouthwatering choices such as warm chocolate cake with tarragon ice cream and raspberry and rhubarb crumble with toasted hay ice cream.
If you think you’ve spent ages mulling over the menu, choosing a drink is also a time consuming task with its multitude of options.
From the wine list we eventually chose Dog Point, a refreshingly chilled Sauvignon Blanc with a fruity, soft textured flavor.
Aquavit London also offers an exclusive selection of aquavit schnaps, a flavoured spirit that is principally produced in Scandinavia since the 15th century. Flavoured from spices and herbs such as cumin and dill you can pair these with your food and drink as a shot during meals.
If cocktails are more to your liking, Aquavit’s cocktail list includes such a varied choice of recipes with their own Nordic-inspired twist – you will want to try a few… how about? Scandi Mule (OP Anderson, lemongrass and grapefruit syrup, lime juice, fennel and caraway tincture, ginger beer), Bergen Bitter (Ranas Brannevin, Maraschino, Cointreau, blend of Vermouths, chocolate bitters), or Nordfjord (Hennessy Fine de Cognac, Mandarin Napoleon, cardamom syrup, egg yolk, orange bitters).
So whether dining or enjoying a Nordic-inspired cocktail or two at the smart marble bar – the choice is a tempting one at that!
For more details visit: www.aquavitrestaurants.com/london