“Where’s the rest of my bread?” When Jonas first opened the Scandinavian Kitchen this is what he used to hear all the time from customers. Gradually, people got used to the concept of Scandinavian smørrebrød, or open sandwiches and stopped complaining. After all the bread used at Scandinavian Kitchen is top quality organic rye bread and organic sourdough.
Rare roast beef with piccialli
The Scandinavian Kitchen is a cheery cafe in Soho with cherry red walls lined with various Scandinavian delicacies, most of us which I had never heard of before such as Frasvafflor and Nuggati. What began as a deli selling Scandinavian staples now caters to a mainly non Scandinavian customer base who have developed a taste for smørrebrød.
Egg and tomato smørrebrød
I visited the Scandinavian Kitchen for a photography workshop with Chris Windsor organised by A Forkful of Spaghetti. Jonas kindly provided a selection of smørrebrød for World Foodie Guide, A Rather Unusual Chinaman, Fiona Beckett and Catherine Phipps to practice our photography skills on. Of course we could not help but sample the smørrebrød as well. The Scandinavian Kitchen recommends three pieces for a light lunch (£4.50 for three to take away). Of the smørrebrød we tasted I found the bread rather dry, although perhaps this was because the sandwiches had been sitting there for a while as we photographed them.
The Norwegian smoked salmon served with lettuce is light and perfectly salty, while the rare roast beef is a blush pink and comes with a tangy picalilli relish dressing. However the thick mayonnaise piped on top of the egg and tomato smørrebrød is too heavy for my tastes. The Scandinavian kitchen also serves salads and cakes and some wickedly good hot dogs (£2.50). The hot dogs remind me of the hot dog I tried at the famous Baejarin Bestu stand in Iceland. They come with the same crunchy fried onions which add a crisp contrast to the meat and sauce.
For a lunch with a difference it is worth popping in to Scandinavian Kitchen. If the food has not been sitting around for a while there should not be a problem with the freshness of the bread. Who knows you may even muster the courage to try one of the weird and wonderful products lining the walls. Just don’t ask Jonas where the bread is.
Details: 61 Great Titchfield Street, Fitzrovia W1W7PP (Ph 020 7580 7161) Tube: Oxford Circus
Damage: Such a bargain even my mother would approve
If you are in the Soho area it is not too far to another great lunch spot, Lantana. You might be interested in reading about the food in one of the homes of smørrebrød, Denmark.