Scandinavian Kitchen

This week’s destination for cake was a bit special in that it involved the chance to revisit some tastes of a fondly remembered childhood holiday at the fabulous Scandinavian Kitchen in Great Titchfield Street. Mister North and I visited Norway when I was about six and it has certainly left me with a lifelong soft spot for Scandinavian cuisine, particularly their luscious chocolate cakes.

So with a slight diversion to Soho to collect some fresh Yorkshire free range eggs from Mister North, I took my cake craving north of Oxford Circus as fast as my little legs could carry me. I arrived just as my dining companion ordered a plate of meatballs accompanied by three delicious looking salads. I decided cake could wait and I ordered the same thing…

A generous portion of juicy little meatballs came with a choice of five or six light fresh salads. I chose potato salad with red onion and chive, melon with feta and pine nuts and beetroot and apple. Despite my plate being piled high with these lovely looking salads, I had to talk myself out of ordering a portion of cured herring to go with it. I find it hard to say no to herring. My idea of a massive treat as a child was not crisps or chocolate, but a tub of rollmops. Sense over greed won out and I paid my £6.50 and got stuck into my meatballs.

Meatball heaven!

They were heavenly. If you’ve only ever had an Ikea meatball then you are in for an eye-opening treat when you get yourself up to Scandinavian Kitchen! Teeny-tiny bite size morsels of succulent intense meatiness explode on the tongue with a lovely savoury afternote of pepperiness and herbiness without the dryness or clagginess of the Swedish meatballs you might have had before. They were fantastic by themselves, but given an extra dimension with the melon and the beetroot salads. The natural sweetness of both of these was a great replacement for the traditional lingonberry jam that meatballs often come with.

My extra potato salad on a bigger plate!

Despite the massive portion which was excellent value for money, I finished the lot and could have eaten the same amount of potato salad again. And considering the lovely waitress actually gave me a extra spoonful of it when I said how nice it looked, this tells you how good the potato salad was (and how much I love the stuff!) Everything is also available as take-away making this a great lunch spot, especially if you like an open sandwich or a hot dog…

Delightfully replete, we couldn’t resist the chance to browse the extensive grocery selection at the back of the cafe. I love moseying round supermarkets when on holiday and soaking up some of the local tastes and customs this way and this selection did not disappoint. There is a large chiller cabinet filled with a great choice of meats, sausages and cheeses. Thanks to early exposure as a child, I love love love brunost, that sweet brown goat’s cheese that is typical of all of Scandinavia and was desperately hoping they might have some of the spreadable kind available. Sadly they didn’t and since the brunost available was only in massive quantity, I didn’t get any after all. I did however fulfill my love of dill flavoured crisps and Dime bars instead!

If you are homesick for Scandinavia or fancy trying something new, then the grocery store at Scandinavian Kitchen is the perfect spot to visit. They have a fabulous selection of pickles, crispbreads and flours for ryebreads along with a vast amount of liquorice products and a rather good choice of beers and spirits. I thought prices were pretty reasonable for imported goods which you can’t easily get anywhere else in the UK at the moment and I had to resist the urge to rack up quite a credit card bill!

To comfort myself after the brunost disappointment, I decided it was time to try some of the baked goods and a coffee. We eyed up a slice of kladdkaka or sticky Swedish chocolate cake and debated sharing a slice, but concluded that we might end up falling out over the last forkful. I went for a rum ball instead and my dining companion went for a Delicato mocha ball with coconut along with two lattes.

Rum ball

As a small child on our holiday to Norway, we attended church one Sunday. Coming from a family that preferred a lie in and a leisurely breakfast on a Sunday, this was memorable enough. Add in that it involved travelling to an island on a fjord by speedboat and it became mind-blowing. It also happened to feature a buffet lunch to make you instantly convert and it was here that I ate a little chocolatey cake that was so good I have spent the 25 years hoping to repeat the experience, even though I had no idea what it was.

It turns out it was a rum ball and just off Oxford Circus on a June afternoon at the age of 31, I re-lived one of my favourite childhood memories with a forkful of this rich, flavoursome confection. Full of smooth dark chocolate, spiked with a hint of booze and with a slight saltiness, this was worth the wait! The mocha cake was smooth and tasty, but the sheer decadence and luxury of the rum ball knocked it into a cocked hat. I seem to remember the coffee was pretty damn good too…

Mocha with coconut Delicato ball

The open, airy space that isn’t too noisy, the toilet filled with 70s and 80s Scandinavian LP covers, a loyalty card that offers a hug after 5 coffees and a freebie after 10, super friendly staff (even when we were last to leave) and the fact your receipt reminds you to eat more herring all combine with the lovely food and good coffee to make Scandinavian Kitchen my favourite place in London right now for an afternoon out. It ticks so many boxes, I want to go back again today and tomorrow and the day after that…

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10 replies
  1. miss_south
    miss_south says:

    It would be worth it. Although the service is a little bit laid back if you’re in a rush….

  2. Lyndsay
    Lyndsay says:

    Any chance they sold Skyr at their grocery? It’s an Icelandic type of yogurt that I miss desperately! I’ll have to check it out here, I hadn’t heard of it before this, thanks for the info!

  3. miss_south
    miss_south says:

    I didn’t notice yoghurty stuff as I don’t really eat it, but they do keep some Icelandic stuff otherwise. I’d say call them and ask, but it’s worth a trip anyway next time you’re in London! I wish they sold Icelandic salted liquorice vodka…can’t stand it to eat the stuff, love it in booze!

  4. Margo-a-go-go
    Margo-a-go-go says:

    Scandinavian food is pretty unfamiliar to me, but I am sold after this review. Especially liked the church-visit story – they did manage to convert you, to cake at least…

  5. miss_south
    miss_south says:

    Nope, still a big old heathen, but I do worship at the altar of the good chocolate cake here! You’ll love it!

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