As today is the International Hygge Day, I thought I’d let you know where I take myself when I feel homesick and need my Nordic Hygge fix. Whether it’s Swedish Fika (coffee with cake or bun), Danish Hygge (feeling cozy) or food old-fashioned Finnish silence, you can find it in London.
I may not be right, but I think this is the oldest Nordic cafe in London. Founded by Finnish ex-ice hockey player Jali Wahlsten, the Nordic Bakery has changed little over the years, and ownership changes. Serving open rye sandwiches, world-famous cinnamon buns, blueberry pies and other traditional Finnish cakes, this quiet oasis in the middle of London now has several outposts in addition to its original Golden Square cafe.
Quiet coffee with your Scandi friends.
This Danish/Swedish shop and cafe has been around since 2006 providing freshly made food and groceries from Scandinavia. They also have a useful online shop. You can find anything and everything Swedish here as well as some goodies from the other Nordic countries. Their motto: “We’re all about bringing the best of Nordic cuisine to you – whether you’ve got time to join us in the café or need to get back to your desk.” Read their fun and informative blog for anything relating to the Nordic lifestyle.
The online shop for anything and everything Nordic.
I’ve only visited this little Covent Garden bakery once, but I was impressed by their vast array or Swedish baked good. We had excellent cinnamon buns and ‘semla’ the Nordic cream buns, only available this time of year. (They are traditionally served on Shrove Tuesday). They also had Princess Tårta (cream cake covered in green icing) and Kokosbollar (rolled chocolate sweets made with oats and covered with coconut flakes), which made my mouth water. The sitting area is inconveniently small, which is a shame because I would have happily lingered while listening to the Swedish music and the staff talking Swedish to each other. Closing my eyes I could have been in the little cafe opposite my mother’s flat in Stockholm!
Cinnamon buns are the best I’ve tasted in London
Helena Poulakka, the Finnish TV chef, is in charge of the Nordic fusion food at the large cafe/restaurant opposite Victoria station. I’ve been to Aster several times, both to have a coffee and a cinnamon bun as well as for lunch, both of which were excellent. I particularly loved the Nordic tapas, or you can enjoy a selection of Smorgasbord dishes, traditional Nordic meatballs, healthy salads and much more. They even have crayfish on the menu during August.
Both ‘Fika’ and proper Nordic restaurant food
This Scandimarket takes place twice per year, in November for Nordic Christmas, and in March for Nordic spring goods. The next Scandinavian Spring Market takes place on Albion Street in Rotherhithe on 17 March 2018. The street market connects the Finnish and Norwegian Churches and coincides with the indoor Spring Fair at the Finnish Church. This is a popular event attracting Nordics living in the UK as well as local residents, who come enjoy good food and explore a wide variety of Scandinavian related goods, arts, and crafts. The street market is free to visit.
Scandinavian Easter decorations, food and getting your Nordic fix for the spring
There are two other places in London that I have yet to visit
Blåbar Nordic Living opened a cafe in 2016 in Putney in addition to its online shop which sells everything Nordic from toiletries to cushions. Ole & Steen has several cafes in London, so I’m not quite sure how I’ve missed this Scandi place! As well as serving Danish inspired fare, they make local deliveries.
It’s just wonderful that there are so many Nordic cafes and shops in London these days; when I moved to the UK in the 1980s, the only thing close to food from home was Scottish rollmops and Italian coffee. Another positive membership of the EU has given us! (Sorry, I couldn’t help myself.)
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