Nordic Afternoon Tea at Aquavit London

4 April 2017

Louise Håkansson & Emilia Swiecicka

SCC Member Aquavit is launching its Nordic Afternoon Tea, where traditionally British concept of afternoon tea meets Nordic flavours. Last Friday, we visited the restaurant to get a first taste of this exquisite combination.

Since November 1987, New Yorkers have been able to enjoy first class Scandinavian dining at Nordic restaurant Aquavit, located in midtown Manhattan. Thirty years later, it is still one of the city’s most acknowledged and appreciated restaurants.Since November, Londoners have been able to celebrate the fact that Aquavit has finally opened up on this side of the Atlantic Ocean as well. With an assortment of dishes that offer the very best of the traditional Scandinavian Cuisine with a fine dining finish, this restaurant is becoming increasingly popular.

When walking through the doors of Aquavit, the first thing one is hit by is the cool New York vibe in the spacious room, decorated in a glorious golden colour. The marble floor in a shade of dark green, paired with light coloured wood panelling, pays homage to the Nordic forests. The carefully chosen interior breathes of Scandi, as all details help create the right ambience, with Georg Jensen silver tea sets, Svenskt Tenn furniture and the hostesses’ matching, navy blue dresses by Swedish couture designer Ida Sjöstedt.

As expected of a classic afternoon tea, it all starts off with some savoury sandwiches. Aquavit serves us a selection of thinly sliced, dark rye bread featuring four different toppings; Gravlax, Shrimp Skagen, Liver Paté and Venison Tartare. The highlights, for us, were the Aquavit version of the traditional cucumber sandwich, paired with the fantastically flavourful Liver Paté, and the Shrimp Skagen, served with bleak roe and dill.

While the savoury starters are all about modern luxury, the desserts that follow evoke nostalgic emotions as the pastries feature classics you remember from your childhood in Sweden, with flavours associated with one’s grandmother’s kitchen. There is something for everyone, ranging from cardamom buns with almond paste and whipped cream (Semla) to the classic Swedish Punsch-rolls and Mums-Mums.  We all fell in love with the homemade Mums-Mums which, in contrast to the factory made Swedish classic, is a delicious crispy biscuit topped with an airy marshmallow mousse and covered by a thin layer of dark chocolate. 

As Swedish old-fashioned etiquette dictates, it is inappropriate not to offer a visiting guest seven different types of biscuits.Hence, the Aquavit afternoon tea is rightfully completed with an assortment of seven traditional biscuits, such as the “Hallongrotta” and “Schackruta”.

If the luxurious plate of smørrebrød followed by sweets are not enough to entice you into paying Aquavit a visit, the range of Danish Hoogly tea definitely will. Apart from the classics, the selection includes unique flavours like marzipan and liquorice. For those that prefer, there is of course the option of ordering coffee by the Swedish brand Johan&Nyström. The Swedes would of course not have it any other way, being true coffee drinkers at heart.


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