I have reviewed Bronte Aurell’s book, Fika and Hygge on this blog way back in October (love it; that’s what the review says and my opinion hasn’t changed) and since the summer I have been desperate to visit the London cafe run by Bronte and her husband, Scandinavian Kitchen.
This weekend my husband was in London for his Notary Public course, and I went with him just for the ride and a weekend in London (I’m no fool) precisely to see the Christmas lights in Oxford Street, watch the Lord Mayor’s Parade and… most excitingly for me… visit Scandinavian Kitchen for lunch!
Scandinavian Kitchen is just off Oxford Street, on Great Titchfield Street. It’s a bright and welcoming red-painted shop, with a couple of cafe tables perched outside it. I was there for a Saturday lunchtime, between about 1.30 to 3pm. The place was busy, with people buying eat in or eat out food, and a queue that stretched along the counter.
Bronte calls the staff ‘Elves’ in her weekly newsletters (you can sign up for the newsletter here which I love reading because they are full of little bits of information, often quite random, that make me feel like I get a better picture of the Danish/Swedish mindset). The staff are busy little elves, too, with the cafe and shop area stretching over 2 floors. They are lovely and helpful as well. Unfortunately they don’t wear name badges, so I can’t particularly thank the lady who served me, and she was rather quick to duck out of the photo above; whoever you are, thank you for being so polite and understanding of the mad Northern lady on Saturday last.
The shop must be a dream to ex-pat Danes and Scandinavians in general. There are loads of different things all packed into a very small space; sweets, biscuits, packets, jars of sauces, pickles and crisps. Funnily enough, the same sort of stuff you read about British ex pats longing for and buying abroad. Perhaps we’re all hardwired to prefer the jam/ketchup/sweets of our childhood and seek them out when we’re away for any length of time?
It was paradise for a liquorice lover like me. I bought small packet of salty liquorice fish, several packets of Danish sweets, some Christmas items and lingonberry jam to have with meatballs over Christmas. Prices weren’t ridiculous, either, considering it was proper Danish/Scandi food. And I couldn’t resist a packet of Plopp….
I’m sure Plopp has been featured on Harry Hill or Clive James or any programme highlighting linguistic issues with brand names from abroad. I’m sure there are some names in British food that mean something completely different elsewhere. Needless to say, my kids think this is the funniest. I didn’t like to tell them I really wanted Julskum but hadn’t seen any!
I had a plateful of meatballs and 3 salads. If these salads are in Bronte’s first book, The Scandi Kitchen, then I need to get me a copy. I had the potato salad, a curried cauliflower salad and a beetroot salad. My friend had a kale salad that looked really tasty as well.
We could have had the meatballs with traditional mashed potato and gravy with lingonberry jam, but the salads just appealed to me. Prices were reasonable, at about £6.50 for the meal and £3 for the coffee. I also went back for a slice of Kladdkaka later, as much to check that I was making mine right as anything. It was lovely, moist and very chocolatey. And, yes, mine looks nowhere near enough like it to pass for proper kladdkaka!
Downstairs was very hygge, with subdued lighting and cosy corner seats to snuggle into on a cold, wet day like Saturday was. I was glad of my coffee before I ventured out!
And I was glad that I had really enjoyed my trip to The Scandinavian Kitchen. Sometimes when you have longed to visit a place, the reality is never quite as good. This time was, and I shall go again. I wish I could be there on a day when they have the famous Princess Cake, although I’m definitely on for another slice of kladdkaka. Perhaps next time (if it’s not so cold) I’ll grab a smorrebrod. There was a fantastic selection, and I really though that’s what I’d have until I got there… and it was cold… and I just couldn’t resist the meatballs.
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