London right now is jam-packed with Japanese sushi bars, Spanish tapas restaurants and celebrity chefs are still dominating the market. I love all of these things so much still and always will, but London needs a little more variety dare I say it. I just dined at London’s only second Filipino restaurant and over the last few weeks, one of this cities newest of Nordic inspired restaurants – Borealis.
The owner is Danish-born restaurateur Soren Jessen who is best known for his 1 Lombard Street restaurant in the city – but now he’s going back to his roots and bringing a piece of Scandinavia to London with the two new openings – Ekte Nordic Kitchen in the new Bloomberg Arcade and of course right here at Borealis on Borough High Street.
Borealis is a two-part business, with the ground floor Restaurant and a separate To Go’/Café area on the same floor. Very industrial looking inside and very Scandinavian, with its simple – but oh-so modern interiors. Like any other meal, we started with a cocktail and my favourite of them all – the Negroni. Here, served in a thin, small glass it was incredibly well executed and incredibly boozy too! Bitter, sweet sips of what was a very memorable 2018 Negroni. If you come here, even for just a drink – order this.
Wanting to order just about everything from the menus, we couldn’t resist the sound of the dressed Devon white crab with brown crab mayonnaise, cauliflower and rye cracker. A beautifully presented dish, full of juicy fresh crab and I loved the pickled cauliflower which cut through the richness of that brown crab meat so well. For the quality and quantity – it was a bit of a bargain priced under £10.
Whilst that crab starter was lovely, better still was one of the days specials. Smoked ham and black pudding croquette, topped with rings of pickled onions. The filling was moist, the black pudding added a nice depth and the pickled onions a little acidity. It could have done with a few extra dollops of whatever that sauce was, but otherwise a very lovely dish.
The menus here are all about using the best quality produce, which has been carefully sourced and simply prepared. This isn’t Michelin starred cooking, but hearty, delicious plates packed with flavour inspired by Nordic cooking. First of our main courses was absolutely one of the most delicious things we ate here. Juicy and succulent grilled chicken with golden beets, roast radish, grilled spring onions, mustard, horseradish and a buttermilk dressing. As a dish and flavour spectrum, it was absolutely delicious. Everything was so well-cooked, but a little pot of something on the side wouldn’t have gone a miss. I’m a big sauce fan and always want enough to spread around the plate.
By far the best dish for me was this gorgeous piece of smoked aged sirloin beef with beets, dill and an IPA Vinegar. The beef was beautifully cooked and packed with flavour, with that smoke and age really coming through nicely and actually the beetroot was a great addition – adding an extra touch of earthiness. I didn’t really taste much dill in the overall flavour, but the IPA vinegar jus was a dream. So glossy, very rich and yet again – full of flavour. If you order this lovely piece of meat then a side of the new potatoes, sprinkled with rosemary and topped with crispy fried and delicious lentils are a must.
Now if there was any dish which Borealis is going to be most known for, it’s the ice cream! Two scoops of the most delicious, creamy ice cream which is flavoured with cinnamon and then covered in shaving of Cinnamon bun. Probably one of the best ice creams I’ve ever had and the shot of apple cider brandy on the side (for both drinking and pouring) is something not to be missed.
Our other dessert, Kladdkaka is a traditional Swedish chocolate cake, similar to a brownie – but a bit more dense and an even gooier centre. Served with whipped cream and pistachio praline, it was a lovely way to finish – but if I had to choose it would always been that cinnamon bun ice cream.
We had a really lovely time here at Borealis and it was great to have a taste of modern, Nordic food – right here in the city. There’s Smørrebrød served on house rye bread. Aged meats worthy of a good bottle of red and delicious, decadent desserts to leave you coming back for more. I’m not sure this is exactly your romantic date night type of venue, but for a good business lunch, fun evening with friends or simply to get your Swedish pancake fix for brunch – then Borealis will serve you all very well.