There are three branches in Central London and they sell a range of Scandinavian favourites such as Danish pastries and Cinnamon buns. Yet it is Nordic Bakery‘s selection of savoury food such as dark rye bread and gravadlax, which makes this cafe a great place to try less well-known Scandinavian food, or to feel nostalgic about your favourite treats from home.
The Vikings spoke to Michelle Middleton from Nordic Bakery about the cafe, and what type of food and atmosphere it provides for its customers in London.
What is the history of the Nordic Bakery?
The bakery was started in 2007, by Jali Wahlsten. He is originally from Finland and had been living and working in London, and wanted to set up an authentic Scandinavian bakery – a place where the focus was on creating a space that was well designed and acted as an escape from the busy city life. A place that served excellent coffee and simple but tasty rye bread sandwiches.
What’s the most popular Scandinavian food you sell?
Definitely the cinnamon buns! Our rye bread sandwiches are also very popular. The salmon and gravadlax are our biggest sellers, but a lot more people are discovering our egg and herring sandwich. I think people really appreciate that they can taste that our buns and cakes are made fresh and baked in each store, and like our sandwiches which use a Finnish dark rye bread, are a little bit different from what you can find everywhere else.
How important is Scandinavian design to Nordic Bakery and the type of atmosphere you want your customers to experience?
The Scandinavian design is central to our cafes – we want them to be like any cafe you could find in Helsinki or Copenhagen. In setting up the cafe – to keep it authentic and in line with our value on simplicity and beauty – we have only chosen pieces by Finnish designers – our coffee mugs are by Kaj Franck and our furniture is by Ilmari Tapiovaari and Alvar Aalto. They believed the good design should be able to be enjoyed by everybody and be part of our everyday lives. This is what we have set out to create with our stores.
The Nordic Bakery has its own cookery book ‘Nordic Bakery Cookbook’ – do you think there are any misconceptions about Nordic cooking?
I think if anything, it is that people may not have always known how varied Nordic cooking can be, and also that there is such an emphasis on using fresh produce from nature. Along with being varied, it is also very regional – and not just between Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway, but also different parts of those countries have their own ways of making cakes or cinnamon buns or preparing ingredients.
How has the increased interest in Scandinavian culture e.g. the success of Borgen and The Killing in the UK effected business at Nordic Bakery?
I suppose it is has increased awareness of Scandinavian culture in general, and made people more curious to try the food, and experience a little bit of the Nordic life in London!
If you’d like to taste some of the best Nordic pastries and other goodies in London The Vikings highly recommend Nordic Bakery. Find out more info at their website http://www.nordicbakery.com/ and Happy Eating!