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The world has become obsessed with all things Scandi in recent years: hygge, Nordic noir – and cooking, thanks to Copenhagen’s world-beating Noma restaurant. But New York’s Aquavit led the way, opening in 1987 in Manhattan and winning two Michelin stars. Now it has launched in the new St James’s Market development, showcasing all the enviable northern European design tropes, most notably a superb way with lighting: from floor-to-ceiling plate-glass windows, to the flattering glow (cast by covetable fixtures) that bathes evening diners. It’s a very handsome, high-ceilinged space, with stools at a horseshoe bar (for making the most of the namesake aquavit); close-set, unclothed tables set with Georg Jensen cutlery; and staff kitted out in Filippa K uniforms. The food is defined by clean flavours, simple presentation and healthy ingredients. A smorgasbord of small plates might include prawns Skagen (basically prawn cocktail on toast), velvety black pudding sharpened with a mouth-puckering scattering of lingonberries, little pots of pickled veg, and an excellent version of celeriac rémoulade. To follow, the full-on flavours of dehydrated beetroot with goats’ cheese sorbet and hazelnuts, and rich veal cheek set off by dill and salt-baked onions, impressed the most, as too an ‘Arctic bird’s nest’ pudding involving an ‘egg’ of goats’ cheese parfait nestling in a tangle of tuile strands. Elsewhere, lobster salad (light on lobster for £19) and turbot with brown butter were sensitively cooked to coax out the best from the delicate ingredients, but didn’t set our pulses racing. This is on-trend cooking served in a beautiful room, epitomising the cutting-edge design side of Scandinavia rather than the homely comfort of hygge.
From a set menu.
Available: 18 January 2017
Max: 6 people
Expires: 31 March 2017
Maximum of 6 diners. Includes VAT, excludes service.
Menu is subject to change by the chef due to seasonal ingredients availability.
Available: 03 January 2017
Expires: 31 January 2017
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