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Scandinavian London

Whether you're a homesick Scandinavian or just a lover of all things Scandi, here's where to find London's best food, drink and shopping from the region

Whether you're hungry for proper hygge, desperate for a decent slice of Danish London or just starving for authentic cinnamon buns, our guide to Scandinavian London will satisfy all your Scandi cravings.

London has a serious crush on Scandinavia, as you'll see below from our round-up of the capital's best Scandi-influenced restaurants, cafés (including some of London's best bakeries) bars, pubs and shops.

Scandinavian Kitchen

Whether homesick Scandinavian or hungry Brit, you get a warm welcome from the smiley staff at SK, who are a dab hand at doling out decent coffees and Swedish cinnamon buns. Lunch is mix-and-match combos of salads and open sandwiches, and cakes are baked every day: kladdkaka (Swedish sticky chocolate cake, served with whipped cream) and apple cake are excellent. Further temptation comes in the form of Scandinavian groceries, from crispbreads to herring and liquorice.

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Fitzrovia

Nordic Bakery

Stepping into Nordic Bakery’s calm, ordered world gives you a rush of reassurance that everything will, in fact, be alright. The sandwiches are neat circles of dark rye supporting Scandinavian staples such as gravadlax, brie and lingonberry, or vinegary herring with soft egg and a mustardy mayonnaise. Or try a karelian pie – a traditional Finnish rice or potato pasty. Get there early if you want to get your hands on one of the famous cinnamon buns, though the squishy, sugary butter buns are pretty addictive too.

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Soho

Bageriet

This Swedish bakery (‘bageriet’) in Covent Garden is a contender for producing the capital’s best buns. Judging by the succession of Swedes popping in for a coffee and a sweet treat during our visit, it hasn’t taken long for word about this diminutive but stylish bakery and café to get around. A counter along one wall is lined with delicious Nordic baked goods – rounds of crispbread, plump cream buns and almond tarts – and the savouries just as successful. And the cinnamon buns? Delightfully light, buttery and aromatic. We’ll be back for more.

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Covent Garden
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The Bread Station

What with Violet, Pavilion, E5 Bakehouse and The Dusty Knuckle, Hackney has more artisanal bakeries than you can shake a rolling pin at. But you can never have too many, especially when they’re lovely as The Bread Station. Danish chef Christoffer Hruskova specialises in dark rye loaves, wholemeal boules and cinnamon buns.

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South Hackney

Snaps & Rye

Scandinavian cooking has been a big deal here in London for a few years, but much of it has been Swedish in origin or orientation. Snaps & Rye is Danish, and is also sensationally good. The venue embodies all that’s best about Scandinavian design, but the owners have clearly taken pains to make their food as good as it can possibly be. There’s a selection of ready-made sandwiches, but the superb ‘à la carte smørrebrød’ with Danish specialities is the menu to go for.

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North Kensington

Sticks'n'Sushi

Sticks n Sushi has been imported from Denmark, where there are ten branches; many design elements in the cavernous space allude to its Scandinavian origins – such as the comfy wooden chairs. The sticks, or skewers, are safe and western-friendly: no gizzards, cartilage or other more uncomfortable cuts. Vegetarians won’t feel left out either, as there are plenty of veggie sushi choices and sides.

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Wimbledon
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Blåbär

Venue says: “Hire Blåbär for your private party!! Get in touch at hello@blabar.london”

A 'life and style cafe' in Putney that's split over two floors. Taking inspiration from Nordic design, Blabar has a boho chic look and almost everything in there – from the chairs to the lighting, to the plates the food is served in – can be purchased. It serves items such as Icelandic yoghurt pots, sourdough sandwiches and sugar-free blueberry oat squares, as well as Swedish coffee, weekend brunches and cinnamon buns.

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Putney

Fabrique

There are a few spots in London where you can get a decent Nordic pastry, but we’re particularly keen on the buns they’re doing at this Swedish bakery. Artisan bakery chain Fabrique offers excellent sourdough loaves baked in the stone ovens, huge walnut bread boules, batons of rye sold in whole or half loaves and, of course, cinnamon buns. Thank fika!

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Hoxton

KuPP

Kupp transcends its soulless and bleak Paddington Basin setting and establishes itself as a destination worth travelling to for anyone who lives within walking distance. And for the office minnows who paddle in the Basin, it’s a godsend – the best place to eat in the complex. Kupp is officially Scandinavian, and plenty on the menu justifies the tag. Other things don’t, such as burgers or a chorizo sausage roll. ‘Modern restaurant with Scandi roots’ might be closer to the mark. The look combines Scandi-streamlined with London-industrial, and windows the size of Berkshire give a great view of the canal just a few feet away.  

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Paddington
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Lisa's

This Portobello Road café and restaurant has a firmly Nordic feel – the food and drink is Swedish and the staff are mostly Scandinavian. The eponymous Lisa has departed for pastures new but a focus on traditional Swedish home-style cooking remains. Expect, then, meatballs, Swedish fish stews, 'koldolmar' (a white cabbage roll with red lentils, mushrooms, onion, garlic and herbs) and 'pytt i panna' (a Swedish hash of pork sausage with ham, potatoes, onion, pickled beetroot and raw egg yolk).

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Ladbroke Grove

Nordic

This Scandinavian basement bar offers something different from most Fitzrovia venues. Stripped wooden floors with solid wooden benches and tables create a down-home ambience in which to sip bespoke cocktails like the Scandapolitan (muddled raspberries and passion fruit, vanilla and raspberry vodkas, Cointreau, passion fruit syrup and lingonberry juice) or more regular beers and wines. Bar food is along traditional smorgasbord lines (gravadlax, Danish pickled herring) and Nordic holds weekly parties, alongside annual celebrations for Danish, Swedish and Icelandic Days.

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Fitzrovia

The Harcourt

Venue says: “Join us for a Scandanavian 'fika' selection. £12.50 for a choice of sandwich, cake or bun, and tea/coffee.”

With the Swedish Church across the road and the embassy around the corner, this reinvented Scandi pub-restaurant (Swedish-owned) was always going to be popular with our friends from the north. Customers (including many Swedes) come here for cross-Nordic fine-dining rather than just öl (that’s beer in Swedish), but if you still hanker for a beer at the old ‘Arms’, the smokers’ area at the back has been transformed into a swish, enclosed bar area.

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Marylebone

Kosmopol

A Chelsea cocktail bar and club with a Scandinavian influence thanks to the Swedish ownership. Drinks from the extensive menu include Jaeger Blod (a mix of jaegermeister, raspberry and pineapple), Swedish Spring Punch (forest berries, lemon and vodka with a top of champagne) and Solsken (mandarin vodka and passion fruit mixed with champagne and chambord liqueur).


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South Kensington
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Tiger

You like a bargain? Head to one of the insanely cheap Tiger stores around London and get stuck in. Many will already be familiar with the delights of this Danish brand, where an eye-popping array of brightly coloured plastic things you never realised you needed are peddled. Everything here is super-cheap and just the right side of kitsch. Look on it as a really posh pound shop.

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Fitzrovia

Skandium

Most people know Skandium for its gorgeous ranges of home- and tableware, but there’s also classic furniture from manufacturers like Asplund, Artek, Fritz Hansen, Swedese and Knoll and even broader European wares from the likes of German design house Vitra and big names Cappellini and Cassina. What makes Skandium special, however, is its commitment to excellence in contemporary design.

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Brompton

Chase & Sorensen

Established in 2010, Chase & Sorensen specialise in modern Scandinavian furniture and home decór. Stock is sourced from Denmark, and other items, with brands including Royal Copenhagen, H. Skjalm P and newer Nordic design studios such as FRAMA, and Studio Arhoj.

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Hackney
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Celebrate Scandi culture at Nordic Matters festival

Nordic Matters: what's on

The world is in love with all things Scandinavian right now, so the Southbank Centre's festival championing all things Nordic couldn't have come at a better time. The year-long programme celebrates the art, culture and lifestyle of Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland and Finland, through music, food, theatre, visual art and talks. Here's what to look out for.

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By: Things To Do Editors

Comments

23 comments
Stephanie D
Stephanie D

Don't forget to try the new Ole & Steen danish bakery near Picadilly Circus - it's delicious, and probably my new favourite! Also, if you're looking for Scandinavian jewellery handcrafted in London, check out my Scandi cool brand Felice Dahl here http://felicedahl.com/

philharmonia
philharmonia

Why not come and enjoy some fabulous concerts celebrating Danish composer Carl Nielsen with the Philharmonia Orchestra. This is part of conductor Paavo Järvi's two year Nielsen Cycle. Starting with Nielsen's First Symphony at the Royal Festival Hall on Thursday 13th November 2014, 7.30pm. To book tickets call 0800 652 6717 or visit www.philharmonia.co.uk. FB: Philharmonia Orchestra, @Philharmonia 

Sascha A
Sascha A

The Danish church is the most beautiful of them all. St. Katharine's is located in a fantastic location, opposite Regents Park. They have a super cool female priest and there is even a little shop where you can buy Danish groceries and around Christmas, all the traditional delicacies. check out their website: www.danskekirke.org

arsheen q
arsheen q

Also Fabrique in Hackney does all the Swedish bakes and treats 

eva savérus
eva savérus

hallo, I am moving to london next autumn, where are the nicest places? eva

Baba
Baba

Looking for a predominantly swedish/scandinavian nightclub in London.......Any information, kindly let me know...thanks.

ACE
ACE

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.

phylix
phylix

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.

Sascha A
Sascha A

@phylix  There is a Nordic bakery in Golden Square, W1. Its very nice but rather expensive. Maybe have a look in there for inspiration.


There is also Scandinavian Deli in Great Titchfield Street where they make smorgasbords (smoerrebroed) and bake delicious rye bread.

Okito
Okito

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.

Danish Chick
Danish Chick

Would you go to a pub and eat smoerrebrod? Would the non - danes go or is the concept to weird?

EMVB
EMVB

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/

Tina
Tina

For Scandinavian Home Accessories and Furniture I recomend Nordic Style in In Lots Road by Chelsea Harbour. They have really pretty Christmas decoration too.

philippa brown
philippa brown

Christopher Thomas please contact me on piprk@clear.net.nz

Anne
Anne

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...

Wasa
Wasa

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.

ACE
ACE

FIKA is an insult on anything Swedish. Avoid at any cost!

Christopher Thomas
Christopher Thomas

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.

Nora Foster
Nora Foster

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.

KÃ¥re
KÃ¥re

Wonder why St Katharine’s, The Danish Church in London, didn't qualify for the ‘best of’ list? Situated in Regent’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 – the menu, of course, is ‘smørrebrød’, 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 Katharine’s Church, 4 St Katharine’s Precinct, NW1 4HH (7935 7584/www.danskekirke.org) Camden Town Tube. On the church’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

Sascha A
Sascha A

@KÃ¥re I thought the same but The Finnish Church got a mention. Interesting considering that most Scandinavians would consider Finland to be a Nordic country, not a Scandinavian one.. Denmark, Sweden and Norway can understand between 75-90% of each others languages. The Finnish language have nothing in common with the rest of the Scandinavian languages!!!