I’ve read a lot of good things about Nordic Bakery and a few weeks ago I passed their newest (4th) branch in London in Neal Street, Covent Garden. I made a mental note to go back some time and today was the perfect opportunity. I’m doing a series of art history courses at the National Gallery on Tuesday afternoons and the timing means that I tend to take the train into central London in time to grab a snack for lunch before the art session begins. I sometimes eat in the gallery’s own café; often the one at the National Portrait Gallery just round the corner, which I prefer. But today I decided it really wasn’t that far to walk from the top end of Neal Street, down St Martin’s Lane and into Trafalgar Square and the gallery, so I’d try lunch in the Nordic Bakery. And I’m so glad I did.
Scandi cafés and food are all the rage at the moment and one of the attractions – apart from things like cinnamon buns! – has to be that laid-back calm one associates with Scandinavia. On their website, Nordic Bakery describe their cafés as ‘a peaceful meeting place in a frantic city’ and that manifested itself not only in the calm interior decor, but the calm friendliness of the staff. They serve, they say, ‘simple and savoury Nordic bakery products … with uncomplicated and honest attitude’.
They offer typical Scandinavian fare of open sandwiches on rye bread, a lot with fish popular in Scandinavia – smoked salmon, gravadlax, prawns, herrings; there’s liver pâté, Jarlsberg cheese, even Swedish meatballs as a sandwich filling. The ‘sandwiches’ are rye bread rolls, some open and some with fillings between two halves. But if you don’t fancy rye rolls for lunch, then there are quiches and salads too.
At breakfast time you might come for oat & rye porridge served with blueberry jam (£3), or one of their gorgeous pastries, perhaps a croissant filled with smoked salmon & egg (£4.20).
For my lunch, I chose a prawn & egg sandwich (£4.80) and a blueberry & raspberry oat bake (£3.20) to follow with an Americano coffee (£2.70).
What was really nice was that after I’d paid, they told me to sit down and they’d bring it to me.
It really was in many ways a very simple lunch but it was absolutely gorgeous; so delicious. The roll was lovely with its dark rye, nutty-tasting bread; a generous filling of prawns and egg in a mayonnaise-type dressing. The cake was delicious too and again had a generous filling of fruit – which made me feel less guilty about a dessert at lunchtime because I could mentally claim it was quite healthy! I asked about it after and was told it was made with oat bran plus a little wheat flour to lighten it; a kind of cake-batter base on which the fruit was laid.
If you’re looking for a simple snack or maybe just a coffee with a nice pastry, then Nordic Bakery is a great place to go, and different to the usual café offerings with its Nordic take.
The their website for other locations: click here.