Scandinavian food is the food ‘du jour’ these days. Ever since it opened, I’ve been desperate to go to Restaurant Story – the owner/chef Tom Sellers having cooked at the famous Danish restaurant Noma – and so now bringing strong Nordic touches to his food and to the decor of his own restaurant. But then it got a Michelin star and the prices went up even further, as well as it’s popularity, so I still have not made it there.
Head to Lisa’s Kitchen if you are searching for more affordable Nordic food – in this case Swedish cuisine and cocktails. Located on the northern end of Portobello road, expect whitewashed walls, distressed furniture and an airy conservatory. In the corner is a basket for the Cocker Spaniel Rocky, who I sadly did not get to meet. There are flowers everywhere, and the lilies especially give the place a stunning smell.
For when the weather isn’t as miserable as when I went, they also have a terrace on Portobello road. Ideal for people watching. Most tourists don’t really get this far down portobello, so it feels very ‘local’.
One thing that really let the place down was the service – there was only one waitress who had to so everything alone. And since it was fairly busy this meant that it took ages for us to put in our order and be served.
Amber went for a Swedish beer called Mariestads Lager.
Jo opted for a white peach Bellini. I was really temped by the blueberry purée and vodka hot drink called ‘Spiced blueberry soup’. But sadly they had run out of blueberries. Instead I choose one of the Akvavit cocktails – called ‘The Fruity One’, which was Beefeater gin with Lavender bitters, Lingonberry and Rasberry Purée.
When the drinks finally arrived I did think they were worth the wait. My cocktail was especially lovely – very fruity (surprise surprise given the name) without being too sweet or sour. It was even a hit with beer drinking Amber. I was so preoccupied drinking it that I forgot to take a photo.
The herring was good too. Being Dutch I am not averse to some raw herring, but this was different to the classic Dutch raw herring and onion combination. We got three different types of herring, one smoked, one with an egg sauce, the other slightly pickled. Not perhaps the most delicate of dishes, but very filling and tasty. It came served with Vasterbotten cheese and Swedish crisp bread – which was a delicious addition.
I was temped by some of the other dishes on the menu: the gravlax and the meatballs for example. They also offer a Brunch menu which looks good too.
Will I come back? Probably. But when I do I hope to sit outside and that the service steps up their game.
305 Portobello Rd,
London W10 5TD