Fiona Beckett is a contributing editor and chief restaurant reviewer for Decanter and she has given her review on Aquavit restaurant in London.
The restaurant has a Nordic cuisine style and it is open daily for breakfast, lunch as well as dinner. Among the things to check out while dining here is a wine in their menu, La Lagune 2001.
In most cases, Fiona does not review breakfast meals in restaurants, but after trying the smoked eel Benedict at the restaurant, she was eager to discover what else they have on the rest of the day’s meals.
She started off with a herring feast with her friends who had come along with her for the Trondheim trip in Norway. She then had lunch with her friend who also happens to be a chef and was always talking about how great Aquavit’s crab is.
Aquavit is located in the new posh St. James market which is very close to Piccadilly Circus. It has a semi-casual setup like the original place in New York despite the stretch of the marble and blond wood which is not laid back at all.
Some of their meals are a complete flop. With the exception of Herrings (which she recommends to be eaten alone served with their warm waxy new potatoes and little cute cheese tart), prominent meals like gravlax and meatballs did not have the usual seasoning. Another disappointing meal was the over-creative Jannsons’ temptation (potatoes and anchovy) which seemed more of mash than matchsticks.
If you are looking for culinary thrills, try the blood pudding covered with lard and a scarlet. It is almost Jackson Pollockesque spattering of lingonberries, which is usually a great combination of flavours and textures. It also goes down well if served with a glass of Crittenden Estate’s 2015 Pinot Noir from Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia. Their duck is perfectly cooked, which is sometimes served like warm raw meat. It is a perfect combination when served with rowan jelly, pickled blueberries and salsify. It is also a great combination if served with Pinot as well.
The best is their seafood. The crab did not disappoint at all. Served with a dark buttery rye brioche, the amount charges for it are worth it. The perfectly fresh cod and monkfish, which are eaten at different occasions, were meant to show off a good white Burgundy, which are very limited.
Another temptation at the restaurant is the strong selection of Rieslings from Austria to Australia which also includes Sherry, which is less common. The Bordeaux list is strong and costly, but you can still settle for La Lagune which is suitable to most meals at £128.
Unless you work in the city, the best time to have your meals here are lunch hours. The evening tends to get rather loud and shady, not unless you had prior reservations for the private dining rooms. However, Fiona also highly recommends breakfast for two reasons, one is that the place is amazingly quiet where you would enjoy your meals in peace and two; they had said they would stop serving breakfast, which would be a great disappointment.