The Swedest Thing
We all have our festive traditions, but sometimes Christmas can start to feel a little same-y. If you're beginning to tire of turkey talk and Elf movie marathons, then put down the mini mince pie and hotfoot it to Skandilicious.
The brainchild of super chic Swedes Maria Trechman and Fredrik Olsson (the mixology maestro behind Kosmopol on the Fulham Road), Skandilicious is an exuberant Julbord feast inspired by old Swedish tradition. Matching fabulous food with a warm, inviting atmosphere and a few festive surprises, it's a hard one to beat in the Christmas pop-up race.
Nestled away in the basement of The Old Guardian Media House in Farringdon, Skandilicious is the perfect place for a work Christmas do, a family feast or even a cosy little date night with a difference. The taste of tradition starts as soon as you ring the bell. On arrival, my boyfriend and I were led into a cutesy log cabin to mingle over syrupy mugs of mulled Glögg and freshly baked gingerbread hearts, before heading upstairs to the cosy candlelit cocktail bar.
Bedecked with creamy shearling throws and fairy lights, the bar is unpretentious and relaxed, offering up an all-too tempting cocktail list. Shaking up traditional Swedish ingredients with contemporary flair, the tipples are suitably sweet and spicy. Mine tasted like a frosted syrup of tangy lemon curd spiked with a good measure of nutmeg and cinnamon sugar. Boy, oh boy, it was tasty. I could happily have washed my dinner down with a few of those.
Cockles well and truly warmed, we moved swiftly on to the main event. It's easy to get carried away when the words "all you can eat" come in to play, but Maria suggests diners approach the feast as "a marathon, not a sprint", recommending at least seven trips up to the spread, starting out with the cold dishes. I managed four, my companion made a better effort, staging his over eight.
We were advised to begin with a trio of pickled herring dishes, my favourite of which was the sweet mustard mix– it goes down a treat with a couple of slices of gently spiced Vort bread. Then came some scrumptious smoked salmon and Gravadlax followed by Christmas charcuterie, liver pate and sweet beetroot salad. Also on offer for the adventurous are the prawn-topped boiled eggs and the creamy soft cheese and fish roe "cake" – a favourite of Maria's.
On the hot table are a number of comforting Swedish staples including meatballs, Prinskorv sausages and Janssons Temptation – an indulgent pot of creamy onions, potatoes and pickled anchovies. My picks were the perfectly balanced seasonal vegetables and the moreish forest mushroom omelette, though I could have easily eaten two or three pots of the Janssons Temptation had I not gone so crazy on the starter table.
Sweet tooths will delight in the vibrant dessert table. Decked out with dinky gingerbread houses, jars of jewel tone pick'n'mix, snow dusted truffles and oh-so soft saffron sponge squares, there is something for everyone. I tried the lot – it'd be terrible manners not to – but I had to have seconds of the Swedish porridge doused in cinnamon sugar. They call this hug in a bowl Julgröt, I call it heaven.
Stuffed to the brim with hearty Swedish fare – and a few too many glasses of Glögg – we decided to round off with a couple of traditional Snaps shots and a cheery sing-song. I had the sharp but drinkable dill-tinged Finnish Snaps, while my boyfriend went for a sweeter elderflower-infused option. Be warned, though: this stuff is strong. One shot had me singing rather loudly along to ABBA at the end of the meal. Had it been Friday, not Thursday, I may well have ended up at Lucky Voice hitting the high notes of The Winner Takes It All...
All in all, the evening was the best I've had in a long time, and I would highly recommend booking a table now. Smart but not stuffy, cheery but not cheesy, Skandilicious is the coolest way to kick off the season of goodwill. Or should we say the season of good fun?
Skål to that!
Tickets are £45.00 for lunch or dinner, powered by Design My Night. Buy yours here.
Tweeting at @swederchristmas ; http://www.skandilicious.co.uk/