September 8, 2023

Blåbär, London SW15: ‘Damn these Nordic types with their delightful, dignified living’ – restaurant review

Blåbär’s chocolate mud cake screams ‘put me on social media’, as you abandon all dignity and squash it into your mouth Nordic living has become synonymous in the UK with elegance, style and good manners, somewhat despite the odds. My ancestors in Northumbria, circa AD800, did not spy Vikings clomping hairily into Lindisfarne and think: “These guys look like people we can buy a wind chime from. I hope they’ve brought Brunsviger cake.” Yet here I am, centuries later, at Blåbär in south-west London, perusing the menu of Västerbotten cheese toasties and slices of kladdkaka mud cake, wondering why shelves of Meraki handcreams, Happysweeds umbrellas and Broste Copenhagen twisted walnut candles are so wholly irresistible. Blåbär – Swedish for blueberry – is a little slice of sedate, small-batch, Scandi-sourced loveliness, just around the back of a Waitrose in Putney.It was my second Scandi stop-off that day: I began Saturday breakfasting at Hjem, a suitably pared-back Danish-inspired cafe in the heart of genteel Kensington. Here, trailing geranium windowboxes on pristine white townhouses give way to a tiny cluster of cafes and shops, including Hjem, which is little more than a couple of shabby-chic rooms plus a small terrace out back. It serves Kiss the Hippo coffee and loads paper bags to take away from a window full of loaves, swirls and buns, including large, fat, damp, slices of drømmekage (Danish dream cake), which consists of little more than vanilla-flavoured sponge topped heavily with thick brown, buttery desiccated coconut. It may sound unremarkable and won’t win any beauty contests, but it is a delightfully moist ribsticker. Continue reading...
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