A new Swedish restaurant is always something to look forward to, like lungfuls of fresh coastal air or a sight of winter sunshine. Breezing into Portobello is this all-white interior with huge atrium-roofed conservatory dining room at the back. It wouldn’t look out of place on the Swedish archipelago. The staff are Swedish and Norwegian, with the kinds of smiles and clear skin that are a great advertisement for all social democracies.
Rather than trying anything New Nordic in the kitchen, Lisa’s plays it safe with Swedish home-style cooking. The meatballs were of a mushy consistency that fell apart at the touch of a fork: not a good start. The treatment of vegetables was umnimaginative: potatoes were simply roasted, spinach leaves came with more than one dish. Ingredient quality has to be tip-top with Scandinavian fish dishes, yet the cured salmon was little better than Ikea standard.
There was a lack of care about the cooking on the day of our visit – accompanied by the crash of plates and Viking oaths emanating from the kitchen. Perhaps they were all having a bad day, as the service was also painfully slow.
It might be better to just pop in for a drink at the tiny bar instead, as the German-style, Swedish made Nils Oscar ‘Ctrl Alt Delete’ altbier is almost as good an export as Abba.