2018 was a busy year for Danish-born Soren Jessen. He started the year with the opening of Ekte Nordic Kitchen in the Bloomberg Arcade in April; his restaurant, 1 Lombard Street celebrated its 20th birthday in August and in the same month he opened his third venture Børealis.
Opening in Borough in partnership with the workplace innovators Fora (their Clerkenwell space is home to Stevie Parle’s Palatino), the restaurant, combines Scandi minimalism with industrial chic. It’s a smorgasbord of greys, blacks, steel, brass and stone. Decorative, statement light comes from Vilhelm Lauritzen and sleek chairs are by Hans Wegner and Arne Jacobsen.
In the kitchen, Executive Chef Robin Freeman and Head Chef James Burton use Nordic flavours and cooking techniques such as curing, pickling and smoking to create dishes which sit somewhere between the new Nordic cuisine which has risen up in the past few years and the traditional fare.
We start with Danish smørrebrød, open sandwiches on rye bread, they make the ideal accompaniment to a couple of glasses of wine before dinner, or order a few for a light (if not slightly expensive) lunch. There is a section dedicated to herring, naturally, and we go for the curried option – an excellent choice. Less traditiona but just as good is the fried pork belly kohlrabi with sweet apple remoulade and chives.
Next up was a striking dish of beef tartare served the Nordic way (seared to medium rare) and served with a gloriously orange yolk and bright beetroot and curried pickles. To accompany the hunk of meat we went for the grilled cauliflower which has been spruced up with mint, sorrel and a moreish onion and nut puree.
Moving on to the larger plates you’ll find the traditional hearty dish of frikadeller, the epitome of hygge comfort food and if you’re partial to a meatball then I highly recommend them. Served with mash potato, a rich gravy and sweet lingonberries, it’s a far cry from the usual I order in Ikea. Kroppkakor (Swedish potato dumplings) are a must on a rainy day and Børealis’ take is made with mushroom and chestnut and served with roasted squash and Vasterbotten (cheese).
If you can, find room for pudding, the Kladdkaka is a wonderfully sticky cross between a chocolate cake and torte served with thick cream and pistachio praline. Still got room? Then order a scoop of the cinnamon bun ice cream to go with it.
Børealis is the perfect place for an indulgent lunch or midweek supper. The accessible menu will give you a taste of all things Nordic without venturing too far into NOMA’s territory, it gives you that perfect blend of Scandi-cool and comforting hygge.
Børealis is at 180 Borough High Street, SE1 1LB
Images: Jade Nina Sarkh