Since we published the piece on the real food of Norway, I have been craving desserts of the cinnamon variety. The Nordic countries are not too far away from us but I could not justify visiting just for a cinnamon roll. So I decided to visit the next best thing when Patrick, the author of our piece on Norwegian food, and myself were in London at the same, the Nordic Bakery.
The Nordic Bakery is located in three cafés in central West London. We chose to visit the café on Golden Square, as it promised to be an oasis of calm in the heart of busy Soho. Located on a square with a park out front, it is a lovely place to sit outside in the sunshine and sip your coffee. You have to keep an eye out for the bakery though as the front is a very simple, streamlined design. It would be very easy to walk past it.
Once inside, the clean design continues. The walls are a dark blue with wood panelling, creating a cosy feel. The lights were low, but not dark, which added to the relaxing atmosphere. Strangely for me, there was no music playing but Patrick confirmed that this was quite a common thing for cafés up north where clutter and noise are reduced as much as possible. You could be mistaken into thinking that no effort was put into the décor because of it’s simplicity but that is not the case, and the owners put quite a lot of thought into how to create this comfortable atmosphere. In fact the furniture and table wear were designed by Nordic designers such as Kaj Franck, Alvar Aalto and Ilmari Tapiovaara.
Now for food! There is a good selection of treats and snacks available such as cakes, pancakes, pies, breads, smoked fish sandwiches, juices and coffees. The bakery also makes its own jam and juices which can be purchased on-site. Familiar dishes such as gravadlax, karelian pie and tosca cake, all make an appearance too.
There were cinnamon rolls too of course and I had to get one. These rolls are inspired by the Finnish tradition but are baked in London. The menu describes them as “generous and rustic”. They were not exaggerating. The rolls were huge and I could not even finish mine. But they were absolutely delicious. They were sweet and the cinnamon was present but not over-powering. The roll itself was deliciously crispy at the edges but springy and soft inside. Almost every table in the bakery had ordered a roll and I am not surprised. They were delicious.
Patrick went for a blueberry tart, even though it was breakfast time. it’s true having a blog is a great excuse to eat cake for breakfast. At this time of year wild blueberry picking is considered an important Nordic pastime, not to be missed. It was again a huge portion of food but Patrick had no trouble polishing it off. The fruit was wonderfully tart which complemented the creaminess of the other toppings. The pasty was light and crumbly. Tasty!
For me though the highlight of our naughty, sugar-filled breakfast was the coffee. We just ordered two mugs of filter coffee and I was very impressed. The beans were of high quality and perfectly roasted, there was no compromise on taste or quality. Patrick told me that good coffee is something that the Nordic countries pride themselves on. I will visit again for a cup most definitely.
For those who are not fans of coffee, don’t worry as there are refreshing juices available. Patrick ordered this pear juice and it was really lovely. Full of flavour and chilled for the warm weather.
In total our bill came to £11.70. Great value and a lovely bakery.
Check out the Nordic Bakery’s website here.
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