The Nordic Bakery

Friday, 4 April 2014

My obsession with all things Scandinavian has reached heights I never thought possible. Fuelled by the recent Channel 4 documentary ‘Scandimania’, I set off to find London’s pockets of Nordic charm.

My first stop was the Nordic Bakery. There are actually three of them, and all within a relatively small area of Central London: Soho, Dorset Street, and Marylebone (which I visited). Marylebone seems to be something of a Swedish hotspot, with even its own church!     

The Marylebone shop is dark, stark, and minimalist in appearance (much like the other two, I’m told). It’s certainly more functional-Scandinavian than cosy-curl-up-by-the-fire Scandinavian, but it’s satisfyingly Nordic-looking, which is - let’s be honest - all that really matters.

On offer are delicious cinnamon buns, rye bread sandwiches, tons of cakes, and excellent coffee. As with all things Nordic, the emphasis is on quality as opposed to quantity: the Bakery's selection of food is by no means endless, but this fits nicely in line with the Swedish notion of lagom, meaning 'in moderation' or 'just enough'. The idea of lagom (until yesterday unknown to me) supposedly seeps into all aspects of Swedes' lives.

Swedish Church, Marylebone

Your stomach now sated, you could just as well go home. But your thirst for all things Scandinavian can surely not be quenched. Am I right?

So, whether you dabble in flat-pack furniture or consider yourself a more hardcore Scandiphile, pop into ‘Totally Swedish’ on your way out - it’s just round the corner from the Nordic Bakery and provides a treasure-trove of Swedish staples: berry cordials, smoked salmon, pickled herring, and a myriad rye breads, indistinguishable one from the other to the untrained eye. Also, Daim chocolate bars. Lots and lots of Daim chocolate bars.

Oh, and one more thing! Do yourself a favour and listen to the latest in a string of recent Swedish folk acts, First Aid Kit. If their charming folk finally converts you to the undeniable Nordic charm, then my job here is done.

On the off chance that any real, living-and-breathing Scandinavians stumble upon this, I can only apologise. And I can only hope that I come across more as enthusiastic than as ‘creepy’.

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