The Gist: Local and seasonal British produce celebrated through traditional Nordic cooking
The Chef: Robin Freeman
Location: 180 Borough High St, London SE1 1LB
Food in 5 words: Nordic inspired, Borough Market bought
See more: borealislondon.co.uk
How did we get here?
Having opened Ekte Nordic Kitchen in the Bloomberg Arcade back in April – and with 1 Lombard Street celebrating its 20th anniversary – Soren Jessen, the banker-turned-restaurateur from Denmark, is opening the first Nordic-inspired restaurant and cafe in Borough Market, in conjunction with serviced office provider Fora Workspace.
Borealis will be run by Swedish-born head chef Robin Freeman and will celebrate the diverse range of British produce available in Borough Market through a plethora of different Nordic techniques, including smoking, pickling and marinating.
Open breakfast through to dinner, Borealis has a dedicated brunch menu that includes raggmunk – a Swedish potato pancake that comes with toppings such as bacon and lingonberries or smoked Var salmon, spinach and poached egg.
Coffees, pastries and home-made rye bread make up part of the to-go segment of Borealis, which opens at 7am every day. It also has a full lunch/dinner restaurant menu and a wide range of smorrebrod – a Danish open sandwich.
The site will be two-pronged, with both a 120-seater restaurant and a cafe on the ground floor, as well as a private events space and terrace on the fifth floor.
What’s different about it?
The Nordic focus found at Borealis is a first for Borough Market, with a number of dishes sure to pique the interest of adventurous foodies in London.
They have nine different versions of their smorrebrod across seafood, meat and vegetarian. The food-to-go menu includes proper Danish pastries (known colloquially and on menu as spandauer) and hindbaer snitter, an iced Danish treat consisting of two baked bits of dough with raspberry jam sandwiched in the middle.
You’ll also find a bit of hay lurking in the dessert section, namely a burnt hay meringue with a gooseberry compote. While we’ve recently started to see the farmyard staple pop up in a number of kitchens across London and the rest of the UK, Nordic cuisine can lay claim to being the first to dabble with it.
The restaurant menu is reasonably priced, considering its location, with main courses for dinner starting at just £12.50.
Here you’ll find the likes of frikadeller (Danish meatballs) with mashed potato, creamy gravy, lingonberries and quick pickled cucumber, and roast/pulled herb-fed chicken with new potatoes and radish in a tarragon and buttermilk dressing.
Borealis is taking full advantage of its location to source fresh British produce from Borough Market.
“Borough has become such a vibrant, exciting and energetic area of London – and what Fora have created with this new site, just 300 or so yards from Borough Market, is absolutely suited to the neighbourhood,” said Soren Jessen.
“We are delighted to partner with Fora to launch a restaurant, bar and several private events spaces within their new building – all of which are a celebration the very best of Nordic food, drink and design.”
You’ve got to try…
A smorrebrod is a must. Try the hot smoked trout, grilled asparagus and horseradish with a mustard dressing.
Sparkie also likes…
The starter of pariserbof (seared beef tartare and a favourite lunchtime item in Denmark) with curry pickles, cured egg yolk, shallots and cornichons.
You’re looking to discover causal Nordic cuisine – and want a large variety so as to really explore.