Nordic enclaves in London are few and far between. Here's where you can steal their style or simply escape the mish-mash of the city and enjoy a more minimalist milieu: our round-up of the best Scandinavian restaurants, bars, churches, clubs and shops in London
This bright, sleek little café offers an appetising selection of smørrebrød – open-topped rye bread or sourdough sandwiches served with the likes of Swedish meatballs or gravadlax – as well as Danish hotdogs known as rod pølse. Homesick Scandies can also stock up on grocery items that take flavour-combining to an unfamiliar level for the rest of us. Shake your tastebuds out of a stupor with brunost – a brown, sweet Norwegian cheese (an acquired taste that some people never acquire) – and Salt Sild – a brand of fish-shaped salted licorice (trust us on this one). The staff are sickeningly good-looking.
Scandinavian Kitchen, 61 Great Titchfield St, W1 (7580 7161/www.scandikitchen.co.uk). Oxford Circus tube.
In the same area as the Scandinavian Kitchen, Garbo’s restaurant is popular for its homely cooking and pictures of Swedish celebrities from Roxette to the eponymous Greta.
Garbo’s, 42 Crawford St, W1 (7262 6582). Baker St/Edgware Rd tube.
Chase away the cold with a hot mug of coffee, must-try cinnamon bun or a karelian pie – a Finnish rye pasty encasing a savoury rice and egg filling.
Nordic Bakery, 14 Golden Sq, W1 (3230 1077/www.nordicbakery.com). Piccadilly Circus tube.
This hip Swedish café on Brick Lane plays to stereotypes with amusing moose drawings on the walls but is let down by disappointing food.
Fika, 161a Brick La, E1 (7613 2013). Bethnal Green tube.
This Danish restaurant staffed by friendly servers features dishes such as Greenland prawns with hard-boiled egg and mayonnaise and smushi: mini smørrebrød designed for light snacking.
Madsen, 20 Old Brompton Rd, SW7 (7225 2772/www.madsenrestaurant.com). South Kensington tube.
The Harcourt Arms
Opposite the Swedish church is this pub where you can hang out with Swedes, drink Kopparberg Äpplecider and watch Swedish sports such as ice-hockey, a favourite among sports fans who hail from cold-weather countries.
The Harcourt Arms, 32 Harcourt St, W1 (7723 6634/www.theharcourt.com). Marylebone/Edgware Road/Baker Street tube.
Billing itself as ‘London’s first Scandinavian bar and restaurant’, Nordic is a lively place to knock back an Absolut vodka and nibble on deep-fried Jarlsberg with lingonberry jam.
Nordic Bar, 25 Newman St, W1 (7631 3174/www.nordicbar.com). Tottenham Court Road tube.
Den Norske Klub
This social club founded in 1887 to bring together London’s Norwegian community currently has a few hundred members and organises talks, golf tournaments and dinners including the pre-Christmas Julebord.
Den Norske Klub at the Naval & Military Club (‘The In and Out Club’), 4 St James’s Square SW1 (7839 6242/www.dennorskeklub.co.uk).
Anglo Norse Society
Norwegian and British members sharing a love of Norway meet for social events, lectures and film evenings.
Anglo Norse Society, 25 Belgrave Sq, SW1 (7235 9529/www.anglo-norse.org.uk).
Swedish Fashion: Exploring a New Identity
This new exhibition focuses on 13 fashion and jewellery designers creating avant-garde work. London Fashion Week regular Ann-Sofie Back shows her unconventional yet sophisticated pieces bearing unexpected touches such as sleeves or collars which have migrated away from their conventional locations on a garment. Look out also for Sandra Backlund’s oversized, drama-laden knitwear and Helena Horstedt’s space-age creations.
Swedish Fashion, Fashion and Textile Museum, 83 Bermonsey St, SE1 (7407 8664/www.ftmlondon.org). Adm £5, concs £3, under-12s free. Feb 6-May 17.
Interiors and household accessories
This drool-worthy interiors emporium stocks highly covetable furniture and accessories from established names in the design world such as Artek, Fritz Hansen and Arne Jacobsen, complemented by an up-to-date selection of pieces from designers to watch. As well as the flagship Brompton Road shop there is another in Marylebone and a concession in Selfridges. Scandi design heaven.
Skandium, 247 Brompton Rd, SW3 (7584 2066/www.skandium.com).
The first British stand-alone store for Finnish design comapny Iittala sells heritage ranges such as the Alvar Aalto collection of undulating glass vases, alongside newer lines like Klaus Haapaniemi’s woodland fairytale-redolent ‘Taika’ collection.
Iittala, 126 Regent St, W1
(7287 5600/ www.iittala.com).
Polarn O Pyret
This Swedish children’s clothing company uses natural materials and is known for its stripy garments. In addition to the new Westfield shop there are branches in Brent Cross Shopping Centre and Kingston’s Bentall Centre.
Polarn O Pyret, Westfield Shopping Centre, Unit 1085, Arie Way, W12 (8749 0455/ www.polarnopyret.se).
Opened in September 2008 by Swedish-Greek ex-MTV presenter Corina Papadopoulou, this Kensal Rise kids’ boutique has great toys and everything you need to kit your little ones out in Scandi gear. The big news is the Brio Go buggy, an ergonomically designed stroller to rival the Bugaboo. There are also funky clothes and streamlined toys by Mini a ture,
Lille Barn and Katvig.
Kidsen, 111 Chamberlayne Rd, NW11 (8969 7565/www.kidsen.co.uk).
An offshoot of the Midcentury Modern fairs held several times a year, Kids Modern has its second outing on February 15 at Dulwich College. Many of the dealers source nursery furniture, toys and clothing of Scandinavian origin such a Sparkle & Spin and Kiks.
Kids Modern, Christison Hall, Dulwich College, Dulwich Common, SE21 (8761 3405/www.modernshows.com).
Ordning & Reda
Stylish Swedish stationery company operating from a concession in Selfridges.
Ordning & Reda at Selfridges, ground floor, 400 Oxford St, W1 (7318 36 54/www.ordning-reda.com). Bond St tube.
Invented in the Christiania commune in Copenhagen in 1984, this bike is characterised by an unusually spacious box at the front. It’s big enough to transport anything from logs to small children, but not ideal for communting. Rent one for a spin in the park from Velorution (£20 per day, £35 for the weekend, £95 per week), where you can also buy one starting at £1,098).
Velorution, 18 Great Titchfield St, W1 (7637 4004/ www.velorution.biz).
The Swedish Church in London
Ulrika Eleonora Church is located in Marylebone, the closest thing London has to a Swedish neighbourhood as the country’s embassy and a couple of eating and drinking venues are also in the vicinity. The church holds community meetings and activities as well as religious services.
The Swedish Church in London, 6 Harcourt St, W1 (7723 5681/www.swedishchurch.com). Edgware Rd tube.
In addition to church services there’s a café and shop selling Finnish food and newspapers, a library, a toddlers’ play area and a sauna, which is an essential part of life in Finland.
Finnish Church, 33 Albion St, SE16 (7237 4668/www.finnishchurch.org.uk). Canada Water/Bermondsey tube.
Norwegian Church and Seamen's Mission, St Olav's Church
The two churches offer a resource centre for travelling Norwegians as well as hostel accommodation, carrying on the historical purpose of the Norwegian Seamen’s Mission which was ‘to secure the moral and religious education of Scandinavian seafarers', but also to give them a ‘breathing room’ where a fellow countryman was available to lend an ear and give some attention.
Norwegian Church and Seamen's Mission, St Olav's Church, St Olav’s Square, Albion St, SE16 (7740 3900/www.norway.org.uk). Canada Water/Bermondsey tube.
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Looking for a predominantly swedish/scandinavian nightclub in London.......Any information, kindly let me know...thanks.
I was dragged back to FIKA by chance and I must say that it is a completely different place from when I visited it in 2009. The focus now is on food and it is very well cooked indeed. They also have plenty of Swedish beers and ciders. All is slightly on the expensive side for Brick Lane though.
I am thinking of baking danish rye bread on a daily basis to supply to the wider market at a very competitive price.Would there be a regular and wider demand for this bread in london.Appriciate your comments.
Hi fellows! Where can I get eri oil 500ml in London, please? I'm dying to find a store where it's sold here in london. Kindly email me the place and address if you know of any. Thanks for the help.
What about "Totally Swedish" on 32 Crawford Street? It's a small but brilliant shop! Very friendly staff too. It's always my first pick when I need some Swedish groceries and other bits and pieces. www.totallyswedish.com/
For Scandinavian Home Accessories and Furniture I recomend Nordic Style in In Lots Road by Chelsea Harbour. They have really pretty Christmas decoration too.
They also missed Upper Glas which has nice food and very cutesy Swedish decor, but is admittedly a bit over-priced. And what about Garlic and Shots?! Need to do their research...
I completely concur with ACE - the so called Swedish Cafe / restuarant FIKA on Brick Lane ought to be closed..... Extortionate prices for what is essentially IKEA-food only worse. Distgusting. I was deeply embarrased when I brought a friend to sample some Swedish delights. We didn't finish our food and needless to say we didn't pay either.
Comfy armchairs as well, and not only books on Swedenborg; lots of William Blake, W. B. Yeats, Baudelaire and Dostoyevsky who were influenced by the mystic and symbolist implications of his writings. Basically a great find for people interested in philosophy and literature.
A brilliant Scandanavian enclave is The Swedenborg Society, on Bloomsbury Way, just around the corner from the British Museum. It is a bookshop and publishing house, promoting the ideas of one of Sweden's most important and influential philosophers of the 18th century: Emanuel Swedenboeg.
Wonder why St Katharineâ€™s, The Danish Church in London, didn't qualify for the â€˜best ofâ€™ list? Situated in Regentâ€™s Park in a beautifully restored neo gothic church, the church serves approx. 30.000 Danes living in Greater London - as well as a high number of Danish ships calling at ports in the London area. Service (in Danish) every Sunday 11am is well attended and so is Sunday lunch in the church hall â€“ the menu, of course, is â€˜smÃ¸rrebrÃ¸dâ€™, traditional open sandwiches. The church teaches Danish language; it has a store selling Danish groceries and it hosts a variety of cultural and musical events. St Katharineâ€™s Church, 4 St Katharineâ€™s Precinct, NW1 4HH (7935 7584/www.danskekirke.org) Camden Town Tube. On the churchâ€™s website you will find links to a number of Danish associations in London, e.g.: The Danish YWCA in Hampstead: http://kfuk.wpsdemo.com/script/site/page.asp?cat_id=210 The Anglo-Danish Society: http://www.anglo-danishsociety.org.uk