Aquavit London, St James, SW1
Meatballs and Michelin star are two phrases I by no means imagined I might say in the identical sentence. Don’t choose me. Blame IKEA.
It occurred one sunny day at their Wembley department when having picked up some flat-pack furnishings (not a very Michelin surroundings), that I used to be enticed into their restaurant by that basic Scandi dish. And it was fairly good.
Yet right here they have been featured on the menu of this swish Nordic restaurant of former Michelin star fame. It’s an expansive constructing that takes up a nook of St James’s Square, a land populated with hedge fund managers and bankers.
Aquavit London dons a brasserie-style decor in vibrant orange hues akin to pine, paired with granite flooring, low hanging chandeliers from excessive ceilings and a glowing bar in gold and marble, the place excessive bar stools converse of informal ingesting over a natter. Forget Scandi Noir, that is Scandi Orange.
Yet, you may also neglect informal. Here the glassware is as polished because the workers. Indeed service is reassuringly formal and provided by a staff carrying tailor-made black uniforms making them simple to identify towards the brilliant decor.
This is a spot the place grown-ups come to dine whereas discretely closing enterprise offers or maybe to mull over some critical matter or different. We anticipated some severely good eating,
Food & Drink
The factor about Nordic delicacies is that it affords a unique fashion of flavour collaboration. Dill, mustard and horseradish characteristic in sauces particularly on the smörgåsbord the place it’s a little bit of a Nordic decide and mixture of pickled flavours.
Just how do you pair it with wine? The sommelier, Mariella, selected for us and introduced a bottle of a white Josef Ehmoser Hohenberg Gruner Veltliner 2016. This Austrian wine is very refreshing and really simple to drink. It was a good selection.
My companion ordered an Aquavit (Akvavit, a Scandinavian speciality, is distilled from grain and potatoes, and is flavoured with quite a lot of herbs).and tonic. This lengthy drink turned out to be a extra scrumptious various to gin and tonic. He then ordered one other.
A trio of herring small plates arrived – one with salty cod’s roe, one other with a mighty mustard marinade which in itself was candy and so punchy that it competed with the herring for prime place on the palate. The third got here with a dill sauce that was merely tantalising. On the aspect was a serving of ratte potatoes.
A plate of soppy slices of Gravlax, apparently cured for some 72 hours, was accompanied by an excellent horseradish and dill sauce. If I wasn’t on my finest behaviour I might have spooned out the sauce and loved it by itself or unfold on the combo of breads we ordered, however these got here with smoked cod roe butter and at £7 the deal with couldn’t be wasted.
Of course, no Nordic meal could be full with out pickled greens and ours was a mixture of kohlrabi- think about a turnip-cabbage combo – beetroot and cucumber pickled in a candy mustard sauce.
For the principle course, I opted for, unsurprisingly, the meatballs served with a pyramid of mash, loganberries and pickled cucumbers. These balls of finely floor meat – a mixture of Longhorn beef and Middle White pork sourced from a farm in Herefordshire – have been comfortable in texture and have been a great match for the loganberries.
The different important was a superbly roasted succulent duck breast served with heritage carrots, carrot pure, caraway and duck jus. It was scrumptious although the pores and skin might have been a tad crispier.
We ordered two sides – Rydeberg potatoes which have been squares of soppy fluffy, but crispy potatoes and a extremely seasoned charred hispy cabbage.
Dessert was a liquorice crème brûlée served in a pastry case. The prime wasn’t onerous, however its crumbly casing made up for that. This was served with a tangy currant sorbet.
The Kladakka was a heavy feast of chocolate; chocolate brownie with chocolate sorbet on white chocolate shavings. It regarded so good however my need was thwarted by a chocolate overload. Just two bites have been sufficient.
It’s an influence restaurant. Not for a primary date except you’re seeking to impress with the promise of cruising the med in your yacht. Expect to pay round £80 a head.