Not only does Aquavit London offer a contemporary Nordic dining experience, with fantastic food, the highest quality ingredients and picture perfect cocktails, it also happens to be a bloggers dream! As you step inside the restaurant, located at St James’s Market, just south of Piccadilly Circus, you are immediately blown away by the grandeur of the interior. Dripping in marble and copper finishes, with accents of blue and gold, no expense has been spared on the decor of Aquavit. This stunning restaurant boasts large floor to ceiling glass windows, solid marble floors and bar top, incredible gold chandeliers and brilliant cut glassware. Every detail has been meticulously thought of, right down to the copper cocktail making equipment and the curve edged cutlery. It’s exquisite to say the least!
But it’s not just interior design that Aquavit London excel in, they also happen to know a thing or two about food. Sister to the acclaimed two Michelin-starred Aquavit New York, Aquavit London is their new venture, and is set to become one of London’s finest dining spots! The menu encompasses contemporary yet authentic Nordic cuisine, using fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Our exclusive preview, ahead of their grand opening on Monday, showcased the very best of Executive Chef Emma Bengtsson and Head Chef Henrik Ritzen.
We began our evening at the bar, where we were able to choose a cocktail from their leather bound drinks menu. To my delight, there were many gin based cocktails on the menu, using some of the finest gin around. The time and effort that the barman put into each drink was phenomenal, and the finished, photo worthy, outcome was well worth the wait.
For starters we all tucked into a sharing platter (or Smorgasbord) of salmon, prawns, parfait and potatoes. Along with a selected of rye and sourdough breads, accompanied by melt in the mouth butter and pickled greens. Simply stunning!
For our main dish we were given the option of Swedish meatballs, cod and shrimps or Kroppakor – a potato dumpling served with mushrooms and lingonberries. I, and many others around the table, chose the Swedish meatballs. Having never visited Sweden, and only having tried IKEA’s version of this dish, I was excited to see how Aquavit’s would differ.
And boy did it differ! Using only the finest ingredients, the meatballs were super succulent and juicy. They were served with the creamiest of mash potatoes, sweet pickled cucumber and fresh, juicy lingonberries. An extra serving of their gravy finished the dish off perfectly. Hands down the best meatballs I’ve ever eaten! And I love my meatballs.
Dessert was where we all came unstuck – three incredible sounding dessert, each wonderfully unique. Which to chose? I picked the apple crumble, a classic English dessert with a Nordic twist. The crumble was served in the pan that it was cooked (lovely touch), and with charcoal vanilla ice cream and rye and oat crumble. Very indulgent and very addictive.
The star of the show had to be Aquavit’s Artic Bird’s Nest. Executive Chef, Emma Bengtsson, trained as a pastry chef, and this dessert encompasses her fantastic pastry skills, with the ‘nest’ made from beautifully delicate pastry. Sitting on top was a goats cheese ice-cream egg, complete with lemon yellow yolk. The dish was finished with edible flowers, berries and wafers of chocolate. It was a masterpiece to eat and to look at! It’s a must try if you visit.
And there we have it. An incredible feast and a fantastic way to begin the week!
Aquavit London opens on Monday 28th and is located at the newly refurbished St James’s Market, a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus.