Despite having the best restaurant in the world, Noma in Copenhagen, quite a few Bocuse d’Or winners and Jarlsberg cheese, the Scandinavian kitchen is not known throughout London for its good and exciting food.

This could, naturally, be due to the lack of restaurants from the Northern lands here or the still existing fear for the Vikings. However, there is more to the Scandinavian kitchen than lovely Swedish meatballs, expensive Norwegian water and horror stories about lutefisk (or maybe the latter is just an American thing?).

As you might have guessed, I’m Scandinavian, and I feel an obligation to promote Norway whenever I have the opportunity. I’m under the impression that Britons tend to look to the southern parts of Europe for culinary inspirations. But with so many Italian and French restaurants all over London, isn’t it time to look elsewhere for inspiration; trying something else but pizza and pasta? In a city as big as London, it’s a bit odd that there aren’t more Scandinavian restaurants; there’s definitely room for an eating place that offers something new.

Norwegian cook, food anthropologist and writer Signe Johansen thinks so as well, and after living in London for six years, she released her first book, Secrets of Scandinavian Cooking…Scandilicious, in May 2011. Well received, it ended up on The Independent’s Books of the Year list, as one of the best British cookbooks in 2011. The Guardian and The Financial Times praised it as well, and in its review, Hello! wrote that “Scandinavian food has never been more in vogue…”

Set for release in July 2012, Johansen is currently working on her second book where she’ll introduce Scandinavian Baking to the UK.

With the writing out of the way, she’ll go for a more risky project: opening a Scandinavian restaurant in Soho (assuming she gets it her way). Reindeer, moose, knotberries and other Scandinavian specialities aren’t easily available in the UK, and are therefore exciting and exotic for many.

Everyone knows about Stieg Larsson, Jo Nesbø, Viggo Mortensen, Henrik Ibsen, the Vikings, the Cardigans, IKEA and a-ha, but the Scandinavian food culture is strange and unknown. There’s no reason why it should be…

If you fancy trying out some Scandinavian food and drinks, be sure to check out Nordic Bakery, Fika, Madsen Restaurant or Nordic Bar.


Source: Aase, Tina Helen. ” Hun lærer britene å spise som oss [She teaches the British how to eat like us].” Dagens Næringsliv. Undated. 31.01.2012. <>.