Loving all things Scandi at the moment? Then check out Snaps & Rye restaurant in Notting Hill for a Danish dining experience with plenty of fresh fish and sharp flavours
WORDS Catherine McCabe
What is it about the Danes that allows them to create warming cosiness out of a blank canvas? At Snaps & Rye, the Scandinavian cafe that couldn’t keep itself out of the press in 2015, there are harsh angles, alarmingly-organised shelves, minimalist Anne Black crockery – and yet it has the warmth of a Sunday evening spent engulfed in a beanbag. The Danish style is a slow burner, presenting as austere before breaking into a big toothy grin. Like the strong Akvavit liquor used to spice up my Prosecco cocktail, it hits you hard, until suddenly a rush of warmth fills your extremities.
That warmth is what the Danish call ‘hygge’ – when the world is reduced to a manageable dining room size. And if you’re going to forget the world for a dining room you could do a lot worse than Snaps & Rye, where fresh fish and sharp Danish flavours are found on almost every plate.
The café recently started serving dinner; a rotating menu for £35, served on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings. On our visit, there are two set meals to choose from, each with three courses – an arrangement of recipes carefully edited by chef Tania Steytler, whose Cornish roots denote her love for fishy dishes.
My guest is served a plate of buttery crab with smoked trout, sweetened by green apple, while I devour hake with pickled oyster, scorched lettuce and peas. All the Scandi essentials are here: fermented flavours, superior ingredients, lean fish – but Tanya’s cooking plays between land and sea. When a bowl of sweet potato and cumin soup arrives with shards of toasted rye, not a single orange drop is left in the stark white bowl. The only downside is the Risalamande, which happens to be a combination of my two food nightmares – rice pudding and liquorice. With such a meagre tolerance for the black stuff, I’d never make it as a Dane, but the welcome at Snaps & Rye made me feel as Danish as Mads Mikkelsen.
Sometimes, the hygge is worth the hype.
93 Golborne Road W10 5NL; 020 8964 3004; snapsandrye.com
Dinner for two around £70
Modern danish dishes you won’t find elsewhere in London
WHAT TO TRY…
The evening menu changes weekly, but we loved the Crab with smoked sea trout
WHAT TO KNOW…
The danish drink Akvavit offers a welcome kick to a glass of prosecco