- Food & Drink
Decorated in shades of grey undoubtedly called things like ‘Gun Barrel Metal’ and ‘Suicidal Mist’, the Nordic Bakery in Marylebone offers West Londoners somewhere stylish to go when they want to sit and stare existentially into the distance over a nice, sticky bun.
It’s the second outpost of the Nordic Bakery. The first is in Soho, with a huge glass frontage so the beautiful people can look moody and read Wallander in full view of the gawping crowds. Such ostentation won’t do in the heartland of the prep school bourgeoisie, so while the large windows have been retained the café itself is tucked down a discreet side street, out of sight of the shoppers, nannies and other riff raff who wander the High Street.
The upside to the big windows and minimal furniture (tables, benches, nothing else) is that it’s easy to spot your friends. I have a chronic fear of not recognising people and being left roaming pubs and restaurants for weeks searching for them, so having Lennard from NYC and Mr B cheerily wave at me as I approached immediately put me at my ease.
I ordered a breakfast tea and, pleasingly, it came in a cup the size of a small birdbath. It was warm, it was wet and there lots of it – exactly what I require from my first tea of the day.
Lennard and Mr B had eaten while they waited for me and looking at the remains of their meal gave me ideas/the strong desire for a sandwich. So when Leonard turned up (I was a social baton that day, passed from one Lennard to another) I suggested that our original plan to have a breakfast bun should be upgraded to lunch. Luckily for me, Leonard has an appetite that matches mine and she quickly agreed.
I had the gravadlax sandwich – toothsome slices of slippery salmon, a token topping of cucumber and sweet mustard and dill dressing tucked in between slabs of light rye bead. It was deeply satisfying to eat. My short latte contained a good, strong caffeinated slap in the face with just enough creamy milkiness remaining to ensure it still appealed to my sweet British palate.
The savoury section of the meal done (Leonard had the smoked salmon sandwich, which came open and without cucumber, which meant that my sandwich was declared the winner, even if she did still enjoy her’s), we ordered cinnamon buns.
They were absolutely huge and very sticky – as Leonard found to her cost when she wrapped the end of the bun in her napkin to protect it from her grubby fingers. It stuck fast and she forced to choose between abandoning the end of her bun or eating it, paper napkin and all (she chose the latter).
It was worth the extra fibre. In spite of being liberally painted inside and out with cinnamon spiced syrup, a dash of medicinal cardamom stopped the buns from being oversweet. Their size meant that we ended the meal utterly stuffed and I walked back and forwards across London afterwards to work off the sugar and the caffeine.
A sandwich, short latte, tea and cinnamon bun cost around £9 and I was able to linger amidst the chilly Scandinavian style for hours without so much a nudge from the efficient staff. All of this makes the Nordic Bakery a great spot for turning breakfast into lunch and perhaps even afternoon tea.