Ole & Steen

Restaurants, Bakeries St James'
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A first London outpost from the Danish bakers.

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.

By: Kitty Drake

Posted:

Venue name: Ole & Steen
Contact:
Address: 2, St. James'€™s Market
56 Haymarket
London
SW1Y 4RP
Transport: Tube: Piccadilly Circus
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £50.
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4.5 / 5

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LiveReviews|10
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tastemaker

The cinnamon social is to die for. £2 for a slice or £10 for the whole huge roll. A good treat to bring to parties! Also really loved the carrot bun (bits of carrot in a savoury bun) and the lemon meringue tart. But it's the cinnamon social that's going to make me go back again and again!

Tastemaker

I love finding a new good bakery, and Ole & Steen hit the mark precisely. With all bread being sourdough, the result is light and airy loaves, yet slightly tangy bread with different takes like ciabattas, focaccia and more! The pastries are good to look at, but on the mild side of flavour - willing to give them a second go as the bread is SO amazing. The trick here is to stay with the bread - and ask for it to be sliced right then and there for you if you will. It’s the kind of bread that makes you want to go back for “just” yet another piece.

Tastemaker

I've only had one thing from here so far, but my god it was incredible. The cinnamon social is hands down one of the best things I can think of to buy from a shop/market to eat on the go. Soft and pillow-like bread covered in cinnamon, sugar, and little blobs of custard? HELL YES. Get me some of that! Plus it's only about £2 for a slice to takeaway!


Love the look of pretty much everything else in this place though, incluiding the open sandwiches and the various pastries/cakes on display.


But come here for the cinnamon.


THE CINNAMON

tastemaker

I am Danish and have been to Lagkagehuset (the chain's Danish name) countless times in Denmark. I was really excited when I heard that they were opening a bakery in London and even though I knew exactly what to expect when I walked in it still felt like such a treat! 


Ole & Steen (it still puzzles me how the chain thought that this would be easier for Britons to pronounce than "Lagkagehuset") offer delicious Danish classics along with more unknown Danish desserts. I was so excited to finally be able to buy original Danish rye bread! Their range of bread rolls/buns is also amazing and you can order a bread roll or bun cut open with 2 slices of cheese, exactly how we do it in Denmark :-) My personal favourite is the carrot bun! 


Ole & Steen's range of cakes, pastries and desserts can satisfy anyone's sweet tooth. If you like fruity flavours I can recommend their small Christianshavner Cake, their small Strawberry Tart or my absolutely favourite Raspberry Tart. The raspbery tart is mouth-watering, bursting with lovely flavours of marcipan, vanilla pastry cream and fresh raspberries. I can definitely also recommend the Copenhagener (very classic in Denmark), a slice of Chocolate Social, a Coconut Puff and the indulgent rum & chocolate ball. 


The interiors are minimalistic but still feel sophisticated, making it an equally appropriate setting for both a cup coffee and a glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc. The staff is always friendly and ready to explain the different open sandwiches, pastries and breads to new customers. Overall, Ole & Steen is a great addition to the London bakery/pastry scene and a good representative of Danish flavours that I can recommend to anyone. 

Tastemakertastemaker

I think the #foodporn hashtag started here.  The pastries on display will leave you drooling and uncertain of what to choose - it's hard when it all looks this good.  Leaning a little on the expensive side, but there are definitely some more affordable options as well.  The perfect place to stop and pick up a snack or take-away treats for the whole family.  The coffee isn't the greatest, but do you care when you're eating the best raspberry filled crisp you've ever had?


Yes - there are savoury options too, but who are you kidding?

tastemaker

I can never walk past the shop window of Ole & Steen without stopping to drool at the fancy cakes and breads on display. It always looked so posh and expensive that I’ve been a little put off going inside. However, encouraged by a proud Danish friend who wanted to try out the British version of the scandi chain, I allowed myself a treat and ventured in.


I needn’t have worried because it’s not as expensive as it looks. The choices are immense and they’ve come up with a rather need idea of taking a number on a ticket to get served. This means there’s no queue to join so you are free to browse everything at leisure without having to queue and make a last minute panic decision. Although that’s not to say it was an easy decision.


The options are endless, from savoury breads, sandwiches, stews and salads to gorgeous looking patisseries and cakes, some of which I’ve never heard of before. I opted for blue cheese and pear on rye bread which was absolutely divine and certainly not stingy on the cheese. I also had a truffle log which was a rich, chocolatey marzipan type desert. But it’s not my opinion that matters, it’s the Dane’s opinion we really care about. It certainly got his thumbs up. It didn’t quite remind him of bakeries back home because Ole & Steen have gone for a fancier, more upmarket version of the types of food you can find on every corner bakery in Denmark. No doubt you wouldn’t find their stylish scandi chic interiors in the local bakeries either.

Tastemaker

A new Danish bakery in St James area that is going to leave you broke. A bit expensive but you are going to have the absolute sweets experience. Great variety of sweets & breads either for take away or sitting in, in the lovely industrial interiors. As soon as you enter, you take a number from the ticket machine and then straight to be served from one of the most friendly personnel working here.

tastemaker

The best thing to happen to the St. James area! This bakery has some of the best danishes in town, especially their Cinnamon Bun. It had the perfect amount of cinnamon flavour and sweetness, not too overpowering to leave you feeling sickly after finishing one. I liked the bread-like texture that the bun had, as this gave it a firmer bite but it also wasn't too heavy. I've also tried their Sourdough Bread, which although is much more expensive than other bakeries in London, is also worth it! The loaf is really quite heavy and they'll slice the loaf for you upon purchase. 


The service was impeccable; we were served by a lovely bunch of staff. Upon chatting with our server, it was nice to know that the breads and pastries do not go to waste at the end of the day. They were also good at recommending their best sellers and on which items they liked best. I would love to come back again to have a proper meal, as they also do savoury sandwiches and breads to takeaway, as well as savoury dishes when you dine in. 


Another feature I thought was pretty futuristic was their card machine! It was unlike those I've encountered in London and was very easy to use, making the payment process fast. The atmosphere of the bakery is really modern too, with a simple monochrome decor and high ceilings. It's the perfect place for a meal or to grab a treat!


Tastemaker

I popped by here to pick up a bite to eat on the way home after the theatre. I went straight for the cardamom buns albeit sorely tempted by the other sweet treats in the window. When we were there, there was a birthday party happening on the upper landing with a french jazz band playing. The sleek interior and interesting pastries make for a nice change from the typical café chains that are predominant in the West End. Stop by here if you want a break from shopping or a something quick to eat pre or post theatre. 

Tastemaker

This bakery import from Denmark is a great addition to the up and coming Haymarket dining scene that started with Veneta, Aquavit and Anzu. When you walk in, you see a ticket machine where you get your order number; then you wait until your order number is called. Which can be a little stressful if you're bedazzled easily like the indecisive me with the number of dessert options. They have a vast variety of desserts to satisfy your sweet tooth, plus they have some savory options like toasties and their bread topped with potato is to die for. The desserts are on the sweeter side if that's your jam. Overall, a great place for a coffee and pick-me-up in this part of West End.