Aquavit‘s much anticipated launch finally arrives tomorrow and London officially has a new gem to add to it’s Scandinavian restaurant collection. As a Swede, I had been patiently waiting for this opening since mid year and had very high expectations!
Aquavit has two additional fine dining branches, one in Tokyo and the original one in New York which holds 2 Michelin Stars. The London St James branch is labelled as contemporary Nordic dining but I’d actually call it fine dining. Not only because of the quality of the food but also the interior. The design is beautiful with very high ceilings, large pieces of artwork on the walls and warm wooden décor throughout.
I was invited to preview their menu as part of a blogger table. As we were waiting for everyone to gather, we got to try a
few refreshing Nordic inspired cocktails containing the actual Aquavit spirit.
For starters we shared a smorgasbord. Conventionally, this would look more like a big cake with savoury Swedish fillings but Aquavit serves it with a twist – you make your own. It comes with a separate selection of Swedish bread along with small sharing plates that include Shrimp Skagen, Glassblower herrings, Gravadlax, Liver Pate and Vendace roe. All were delicious and tasted exactly how they should! My personal favourites were the salmon and the pate.
As a Swede, there was no question about the choice for the main course – Swedish meatballs. The flavours of every single element of that dish were on point – the meatballs, mash, gravy and lingonberry jam. My only pointer was that the dish was a little on the small side. However they were happy to provide extra gravy and lingonberry as I usually like mine drenched in these two.
Lastly for the dessert, I chose the signature Arctic Bird’s Nest – a nest of honey tuile, filled with white chocolate and goat cheese parfait eggs with sea buckthorn berry “yolks.” It was beautifully presented and tasted very nice as well, despite it’s unique combination.
Aquavit offers good quality and authentic Swedish food as well as a beautiful atmosphere to dine in. I can’t wait to go back for a cinnamon roll fika in between my many client meetings in the Mayfair area! It had been a while since I walked out of a restaurant so content and excited over it’s opening. I’d say that so far this is the best Swedish restaurant I’ve tried in London and I highly recommend a visit.
1 Carlton St, St. James’s
London SW1Y 4QQ
020 7024 9848
Catch52 – A London Food & Travel Blog