London is crazy for Scandi bakeries. Open sandwiches, blueberry swirls, cinnamon buns… they’re everywhere, you’ve had them all and if you’re being totally honest with yourself, you might actually have had enough. But you’d be wrong. Because until you’ve been to Ole & Steen, you’re basically a big Nordic virgin.
The first thing that makes Ole & Steen different is that it’s not hygge. It’s definitely legit-Scandi (chef-patrons Ole Kristoffersen and Steen Skallebaek already have 50 outlets back home in Denmark) but the look here is sophisticated, not simple. With wide windows, high ceilings and leather seating, walking in feels like a treat, rather than a retreat. The whole system is super-slick, too; it’s a busy spot, but you’re issued a ticket from a fancy wooden machine at the door and the (charming) staff call your number when they’re ready for you, leaving you free to feast your eyes on all the bakes without crippling queue anxiety.
And it is a feast. Absolutely unmissable is the cinnamon slice – moist, plaited pastry with a subtle vanilla custard, this is a Danish on crack. Also delicious was a wonderfully dark chocolate swirl, and a beautiful apple pie with fruit so tart and fresh it practically sang. The savouries were just as good. Try the dark rye topped with sharp, crumbly blue cheese and thinly sliced pear. On a budget? £2 gets you a salt and pepper roll with white butter and mild Danish cheese. You will not find a finer sarnie in London for two quid.
As arguably the best Scandi bakery in town, Ole & Steen transcends an already welcome trend. This is a place to recover your innocence and fall back in love. That cinnamon slice alone is enough to make you feel touched for the very first time. Trust me.