I recently went to a Swedish café, but left broken-hearted when I didn’t have the Scandinavian love-fest I expected (see here).
Why was I so traumatised, you ask? I am a bit of a Swedophile. I lived there, loved it and still have very close Swedish friends. So after not finding cinnamon buns last time, I did a bit of digging and this brought me to the Nordic Bakery near Piccadilly Circus. Surely this place would have what I want? I arranged to meet a friend there, and I went on my merry way. To say that I went there with hopes and dreams on a cinnamon theme would be pretty accurate.
I arrived at the bakery in Golden Square (fab name, nice square full of flowers in the middle of pretty buildings) and I saw Nordic – and the words “Cinnamon Buns” were written in white Helvetica letters. Joy!
As I got there early, I sat down and ordered a rye bread with cheese and gherkin, a cinnamon bun and a coffee. To be accurate, the buns in Nordic are not the Swedish type (kanelbullar) that I had searched for, but the Finnish variety (korvapuusti). I didn’t care. I ordered anyway, and anticipated the sweet, slightly sticky cinnamon-cardamom-yeasty goodness. It arrived, still slightly warm, and I started to pick little bits off. And it was just great. I did get a couple of odd looks from the two Finnish ladies at the next table, but I think they recognised that I appreciated the baked goods on offer. The buns are yeast-risen, with many layers of thin dough and cinnamon paste. It was rich and aromatic, with little moments of fresh cardamom zing. Super, super, super.
My companion arrived, with another friend who was due to move to Paris the next day. I was glad that her final day in London was bathed in glorious sunshine, so she would remember the place at its very best.
We picked out some goodies but in view of the spectacular weather we decamped to the grass on Golden Square. As you can see, the interior of Nordic is great – chic, minimalist black tables and bare wood walls, cutlery and crockery from various Nordic designers. Really, a hundred times better than Fika. However, the lure of the sun was too much to resist. We took our selection outside: more cinnamon buns, rye bread, tosca cake (a moist honey-almond creation), cream cheese and pineapple buns (using yeasty dough rather than puff pastry) and a whole-wheat rice pastry. Each of them was, in turn, delicious, and the coffee was good. We liked that everything was fresh, well-made and delicious, and not overly sweet. Our soon-to-leave-us French friend even tried the cinnamon bun, and declared that this might just have cured her of her previous dislike of the spice which she attributed to Cinnabon’s ubiquity in the US. A triumph!
So…would I go back? 100% yes. In fact…eh….I’ve actally been there again since (twice in less than a week, am I an addict?). It is a lovely, relaxed place in a very busy neighbouhood, which just oozes that Scandinavian relaxed-but–hip vibe. Plus great cinnamon buns. This is what I wanted. I am glad I found it.
The Nordic Bakery, 14 Golden Square, London W1F 9JG. Tel: 020 3230 1077. Tube: Piccadilly Circus