Food / Lifestyle

An Oasis of Calm in Covent Garden

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In the hustle and bustle of Covent Garden, the Nordic Bakery gives shoppers a refuge for fika, peace and quiet


Alexander Brett

As “Scandi Cool” reaches new heights across the UK, Nordic cuisine has never been more popular, and staff at the Seven Dials branch of the Nordic Bakery on Neal Street in Covent Garden, the company’s fourth store, have done much to quench both locals’ and tourists’ hunger for all things Nordic since it opened in December last year.

Located amongst the crowded rush of one of the city’s most popular shopping destinations (around thirty two million people visit Seven Dials every year) the bakery aims to be an oasis of calm, as well as an ideal spot for indulging in the increasingly popular Swedish concept of “fika” (meeting up for a coffee and chat).

The minute you come through the door you are hit by just how much care has been taken to ensure your surroundings emit complete tranquillity: moss green tiles, reminiscent of Scandinavia’s pine forests, have been combined with sky-grey walls and an expansive natural pine wall even covers one side of the café to create a fully “biophillic” feel (one which connects people to nature) that has been embraced by designers worldwide as a means of reducing stress.


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To reaffirm their calming surroundings, silence in the Nordic Bakery is golden. Studies conducted by the Finnish Tourist Board’s “Silence Please” campaign has found that two minutes of silence a day is more relaxing than listening to music, and that silence not only helps the brain to grow and replenish cells, but also allows for individual reflection and gives time to consider profound thoughts in an imaginative way. By injecting the findings of these Nordic studies into their Nordic corner of Covent Garden, the bakery’s staff aim to give both regulars and passers-by a refuge from the torrent of London’s constant rush.

But far from feeling sterilised, the silence and cleanliness of the café is hip and cool- the kind of place you might expect to see Borgen’s Katrine Fønsmark tapping out her latest article. And the bakery’s stylish furniture, by Nordic designers Alvar Aalto, Kaj Franck and Ilmari Tapiovaara, is only complimented by the clean simplicity of its food.

“Far from feeling sterilised, the silence and cleanliness of the café is hip and cool”

Whether through fika, foraging or baking as a family, food is part of the social fabric of life in the Nordic countries, and the Nordic Bakery will provide you with plenty of it throughout the day: from oven pancakes and berries in the early morning; to salads, sandwiches and creamy potato Karelian pies at lunch time; to Norwegian cardamom “skolebollar”, lingonberry buns and the store’s renowned cinnamon buns for all-day fika with friends, work colleagues or family.

So next time you need a break from relentless rounds of shopping, the Nordic Bakery is waiting nearby to calm you down with a strong coffee, a warm bun and a friendly smile.


 

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