Nordic fine dining
|Arctic Bird's Nest|
London seem to be the "go to" place for oversea top chefs to expand these days, and the latest came from a Nordic restaurant called Aquavit, already with two Michelin restaurants in Japan and New York. It is another new opening at the recently developed St James' Market, the same place that gave us Japanese restaurant Anzu and Italian restaurant Veneta. Unlike the usual menu format, Aquavit also offers a selection of hot and cold smorgasbord (tapas sizes dishes which are ideal for sharing) where diners can order as an alternative of a starter.
|Blood pudding, lingonberries, bacon, lardo|
|Scallops, kohlrabi, lovage|
The blood pudding was rich and flavoursome, the extra saltiness and oily texture of the lardo balanced off the boldness of the blood pudding rather well. My starter of crab with rye biroche was pretty average and it was nothing more than a fancy crab salad for me. I quite enjoyed the creamy texture and freshness of the crab, however I was expecting something a little bit more special. However, there was one top class dish, which was the duck breast. It cut like butter with a beautiful tender texture, I also really enjoyed how the sweet and bitter rowan berries offered a touch of sharpness to offset the earthiness of the duck meat, plus the seasoning was spot on.
|Crab, rye brioche, fennel|
|Halibut, trout roe, fennel|
|Duck breast, rowans, parsnip|
As I dined at its soft launch period, mistake was to be expected (one of the other main was under cooked) and it would take sometime for the restaurant to adjust the dishes and get a better understanding of British ingredients. On the bright side, the waiter who served us was outstanding and his food knowledge was very impressive. The price is a concern, as most starters cost more than £15 and some mains cost over £30 per dish, with that kind of pricing, I was hoping for something very special and from the experience I have had at Aquavit, it is a long way away to that level.
What I paid:
£30pp with wine (soft launch offer)
Average cost without drinks and services:
St James’s Market, 1 Carlton Street London SW1Y 4QQ