Aquavit is the name of a tasty Scandinavian spirit – and also of a Swedish-inspired restaurant opened a few years ago in London’s St James’s. PA Life went along to try both for a recent lunch meeting…
The Aquavit restaurant in New York has received all sorts of praise in recent years, so we were only too keen to see what its now well-established London sibling had to offer – and the short answer is, a lot.
Following an extended hiatus due to the global pandemic, the Michelin starred Aquavit London has reopened its doors to diners once more initially for outside dining (as per our visit), but now fully indoors too, albeit with social distancing.
The first thing to consider, before we get to the important matter of food, is location. Aquavit is tucked away in the newly developed St James’s Market area just south of Piccadilly. So it’s not only super easy to get to, but also shielded from all of the West End’s traffic and noise.
There are also several other bars and restaurants in the same area, plus offices, so there’s a nice buzz about the place, even in the semi-lockdown conditions of our visit.
We sat outside for the lunch on the day we visited and enjoyed the sunshine, but the inside is a fantastic blend of welcoming Nordic style and modern design cues, with huge windows and high ceilings – plus a sizeable downstairs area for private hire or when things get busy.
We were greeted at reception and shown to our table by the brilliantly friendly and knowledgeable manager, who took us through the menu options and handed us over to the equally friendly and knowledgeable waiting team.
And now for the food. If you’ve ever visited Sweden and enjoyed what you ate, Aquavit has something for you. And if you haven’t visited Sweden, Aquavit’s menu will make you want to.
We started off with a Shrimp Skagen (pictured, above) and huge (and hugely tasty!) Pickled Herring Selection, followed by Swedish Meatballs (when in, erm, Stockholm – pictured, below) and the Icelandic Cod. Dessert? Definitely. The Kladdkaka (sticky chocolate cake) is fantastic.
All the portions were significant, so no issues with dainty bites here – make sure you bring your appetite.
In short, Aquavit is perfect for a central London business meeting or dinner with a little bit of extra class – and we would certainly recommend a social visit too!
1 St James’s Market
London SW1Y 4QQ
020 7024 9848