Nordic countries have a lot going for them. Good food. Beautiful design…
… and the flags tend to be a big plus.
But it’s mostly the first two things that we’re concerned with today. Because Aquavit has them in spades. Taking pride of place in the half-billion pound St James’s Market development, it takes its name from the original NYC restaurant, which has been there since ’87 and earned itself 2 Michelin Stars in the meantime. And within a year of opening, the London spot’s taken on a Star, too.
This outpost is designed to be a slightly more relaxed affair than its counterpart across the pond, with two floors of comfy Nordic maximalism that feature art deco chandeliers, green marble floors, and huge pieces of abstract wall art. The menu too is slightly more casual, all overseen by the NYC branch’s executive chef Emma Bengtsson, and executed by local talent Henrik Ritzen (ex-Dover Street Arts Club) as head chef.
You can expect dishes like butter-poached cod with fennel aïoli & salt-baked celeriac root; seared duck breast with pickled quince and buckwheat porridge; and classics like Toast Skagen; “the Nordic version of prawns on toast”.
And what do you drink at Aquavit? Well, aquavit, which is a spirit distilled from grain or potatoes and flavoured with herbs and spices – there’s house-infusions like tamarind, bitter orange, juniper & lemon, and white cranberry. And if you don’t love it at first, just keep trying. Because like all acquired tastes, you’ll get to like it.
It’s like Stockholm Syndrome for your tastebuds.
NOTE: Aquavit London is open for lunch daily, and dinner Mon-Sat. You can find out more, and book a table, by heading HERE.
Aquavit | St James’s Market, 1 Carlton Street, SW1Y 4QQ