Tucked away in Golborn Road in Notting Hill is a little Danish restaurant, Snaps & Rye, representing New Nordic Cuisine in London.
The New Nordic Cuisine is a food trend, started in Denmark more than 10 years ago by celebrity chefs Claus Meyer and René Redzepi (from Noma). Some of the best Danish chefs got together with the aim to make Nordic food exciting again. To lead the way in both sustainability and taste as well as a feast for the eye! They wanted to modernise and develop the more traditional cuisine, still using local and seasonal produce. But by adding new ingredients and present the dishes in an entirely new and fresh way. 10 years on and the initiative has been a great success helping put focus on both sustainable growing and farming as well as a healthy living. Restaurants such as Geranium and Noma leads the way with less known establishments following suit.
This brings me back to Snaps & Rye in Notting Hill, London. As far as we know, this is the only authentic New Nordic cuisine restaurant in London.
In line with the trend, there is Scandinavian fish and meat dishes on the menu. The head chef is venturing into heritage foods and exploring older techniques such as marinating, smoking and salting.
This is a small neighbour hood restaurant and to keep the menu pure, simple and fresh Snaps & Rye puts together a mouthwatering Nordic symphony in the form of a four course set menu. We saw the menu on Twitter and quickly booked a table for two.
The interior is typical Scandinavian, minimalistic and functional. White is mixed with natural wood both in the front and at the back of the restaurant, with the bar and a bright red industrial shelving unit in the middle. In the daytime this is a hot spot for brunch and also a popular deli. But in the evening the the venue transforms into a more sophisticated candle lid eatery.
We started our evening with the akvavit cocktail, ‘Ginger Snaps’ made of Jubilaems Akvavit, Ginger Beer and lime. This to me was a bit too sweet. I guess I was hoping for the lime to come through more.
Compliments of the chef arrived quickly, a piece of herring on toast, topped with relish and herbs. It went down in a gulp and we couldn’t wait for more.
The starter with beetroot and goat’s cheese served with pickled mushroom’s and rye and seed crumbs were absolutely delicious. I’m a big fan of beetroot and goat cheese, but the flavoursome mushrooms and the crunchiness of the crumbs made this dish into a proper treat.
Second course was a crab dhal cake, soft eggs and cumin salt. Scandinavia do have elements from Asia in their traditional cooking, so why not dhal! The dhal cake was prepared just right, with the fresh crab meat coming through together with the perfectly soft boiled egg.
For the main you could choose between salmon or guinea fowl. He chose the latter whereas I went for the fish. Again, both dishes cooked to perfection.
He’s Guinea Fowl.
With the way the dishes are presented they seem light and slightly small. But I must admit that after savouring the meaty peace of snaps-cured salmon together with ‘bubble & squeak’ (a fried cake of potato mash and vegetables) I wondered if there was any room for dessert.
The waiter was welcoming, danish speaking and very attentive. The menu came with wine (or beer) pairing suggestions, but our waiter happily made more recommendations too. When my other half managed to order red in stead of white and failing to notice before I had it in a glass in front of me, his mistake was quickly rectified by the waiter. The recommended Riesling, ‘Kung Fu Girl’ perfectly accompanied the fish.
The desert was a light buttermilk custard served with a blackberry compote – a match made in heaven and a perfect way to end the meal. From beginning to end all dishes had been artfully presented with great attention to detail.
The round of what had been quite an intimate and cozy evening, we decided to try the renown signature cocktail from Snaps & Rye Espresso Martini. And I’ll tell you, Espresso Martini will never be the same again. But you need to sample it at Snaps & Rye – as they make it with their own house rye-akvavit.
A four course meny is £35 per person, which we think is exceptional value for money. Drop in or to avoid dissapointment (as this is a small restaurant) book your table at snapsandrye.com
Snaps & Rye, 93 Golborne Road, London W10 5NL, telephone number: 020 8964 3004