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Nordic Bakery – quaint Scandinavian style cafe

BY Boon Koh
Published 10 July 2009
Our Review Rating: 7 out of 10 stars

The beauty about London is that there is never any problem finding a cafe to meet a friend for a coffee or a light lunch for a chat. You can practically pick any random tube station to meet up at in Zone 1, and within a few hundred meters there is guaranteed to be a Starbucks, Cafe Nero, or Costa, all serving standardized decent coffee with homogenized pastries and plush sofas.

Thankfully, none of those three things are found at the Nordic Bakery on Golden Square near Picadilly Circus. Just literally across from Arang, the well decent Korean restaurant (a review about that will be appearing on this site in due course), this unassuming and neutrally decorated cafe does not really pull in wandering passerbys, but the locals and past customers keep coming back for good reason.

The Nordic Bakery has very minimalist design, and in fact could do very well as an Ikea showroom. The tables and chairs are wooden, very neutral colours are used, and nothing is there just for ornament’s sake. That means all the focus is put on the coffee and food, which they do superbly well. The highlight of the place has to be the cinnamon roll/buns (£2.00), which are gigantic and the best I have ever had. One bite and you can feel the cinnamon permeating your senses, and it is just so damn delicious. The outside has a sticky crusty texture, while the inside is moist and soft; the only fault I can find is that its served cold instead of warmed up, which would have made it perfect.

Cinnamon Bun and Karelian Pie

Cinnamon Bun and Karelian Pie

I tried the  Karelian pie (£1.50), which is a Rye-crusted savoury snack filled with potatoes or rice, and with a generous topping of egg mayonnaise on top. It was the first time I have had Karelian pie, and it was so sumptuous that the next time I go back (and I will definitely be back), I will have trouble deciding between the cinnamon bun and the Karelian pie.

My friend had the rustic oatmeal biscuits, and while in any other cafe they would be considered pretty good, it was no comparison to the cinnamon bun. We both had lattes as well, which came in a big mug and was pretty good.

Verdict: A really cool hidden gem of a cafe in the middle of Picadilly Circus / Soho. Its a change from going to one of the chain coffee shops, and the pastries and the coffee are probably cheaper too. The tables are all quite spread out so no bumping elbows unlike those cafes along Shaftesbury Avenue, and they serve really good authentic Scandinavian food (including many rye bread sandwiches which I did not have a chance to try this time).

Rating: 7 out of 10 stars
Cuisine: Scandinavian cafe serving Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish pastries (e.g. karelian pie, cinnamon buns), smorgasbord, gravalax, coffees, and sandwiches.
Price Range: £5 per head

Address: 14a Golden Square, London W1F 9JG
Nearest Tube Stations: Piccadilly Circus Tube Station (5 minutes walk), Green Park Tube Station (15 minutes walk)
Tel: +44 (0)20 3230 1077
Website: http://www.nordicbakery.com/