In the past couple of years there has been a rise in the popularity of Nordic cuisine, particularly after Rene Redzepi’s Copenhagen-based Noma, topped the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list (now holds second place.)
As Noma’s menu shows there is certainly more to Scandinavian cuisine than meatballs and herrings – although these dishes are certainly still Nordic classics.
Now more pub operators are embracing Nordic influences on their menus with dishes such as gravadlax featuring on seafood sharing platters or served with smoked salmon as a starter and Danish inspired open sandwiches also making a more regular appearance.
A few pub operators have decided to embrace the Nordic theme thoroughly. Northern Lights in Brighton, East Sussex, has a drinks list full of Scandinavian-produced spirits and beers and fruity ciders.
The menu features classics such as pickled herring and Smorgasbords of bite size versions of hot and cold sandwiches with fillings including gravadlax salmon and cream cheese spiced with dill and meatball and cheese melt.
Also on offer is a Scandinavian meat and cheese selection; traditional Swedish meatballs and Stegt flæsk - a Danish classic of crispy pork belly served with rich parsley sauce, savoy and red cabbage, caramelised apple and a choice of new potatoes or mash.
At the Harcourt Inn, in Marylebone, London, dishes include meatballs in cream sauce and Swedish beef stew, both served with mash & lingonberries.
At the Salt Bar in Macclesfield, Yorkshire, which recently featured on Russell Norman’s BBC 2’s Restaurant Man series four types of meatballs are offered. Snacks include grilled Jarlsberg on toast.
Of course you can just use Nordic inspiration to create specific dishes for your pub’s menu.
At the Royal Oak at Brookland in Kent head chef Warren Tyson is bringing a little rustic Scandinavian flair into his kitchen – he’s giving a Sunday roast staple the hay smoke treatment.
Whole carcasses of Romney Marsh lamb are delivered by a farmer from within a 10-mile radius of the pub, together with hay bales. Half an hour of smoking later and the subtle flavour that is left conjures up sun-drenched meadows.
At Orchid Group’s Pizza Kitchen Bars special pizzas have included one featuring Swedish meatballs offered as part of a promotion with Swedish cider Kopperberg.