Take a step into the wild north with Sydney’s latest trend; Nordic dining.
Australia is renowned for its multiculturalism, our music, our fashion, and our food arrive in our country from all corners of the globe. It is easy to step into any of our great cities and experience the taste of many countries and places that you have never visited.
But what about the landscapes of Scandinavia?
Amidst the plethora of Thai shops, Chinese restaurants, and Lebanese cuisine a new culture has come to our shores; Nordic dining.
Although still a relatively niche market Nordic restaurants and bars have begun their slow integration into our already overflowing industry of foreign food.
Three of these Scandinavian havens have made their way to Sydney, and all of them are already developing a cult following.
As of today we have Norsk Dor, which is a Viking-themed restaurant and bar on Pitt Street. The low dining-hall styled restaurant sends you back to the time of pillages and seafaring, but with the deliciousness of modern-day Sydney.
As one satisfied customer by the name of Priscilla, put it on ‘Dimmi.com.au’, “Loved this place. Good atmosphere and nice decor. Delicious food full of flavour. Great staff, friendly, knowledgeable and gave us great advice as to how much and what to order. The venison was cooked to perfection and I tried the duck too which was packed with flavours. Delicious! Highly recommend it!”
Then we also have Sven’s Viking Pizza out of Coogee, which is a curious combination of Swedish toppings on the classic Italian dish. The fun of this place comes from its menu; where every dish is named after a god or member of Nordic mythology.
Some interesting bites include, ‘YGGDRASIL- The World Tree’, which features garlic and chilli marinated king prawns, crispy pancetta, roma tomatoes, and chèvre. As well as ‘RAGNAROK- Judgement Day’, but this end-of-the-world slice offers Spanish chorizo, pepperoni, smoked ham, and spicy red chilli crème.
Lastly we have Nordic B, from Newtown, who aren’t kidding when they say, ‘Nordic food and drinks. You name it, we have it!”
This home away from home for the Scandinavian expats of our country boasts the most comphrensive assortment of Nordic drinks you’ve ever seen this far south of the equator.
As Nordic B owner Leif Kivela said, “Most of the food and alcohol we offer is not available anywhere else in Sydney. The only truly Nordic restaurant and bar in Sydney.”
The dimly lit restaurant and bar combination screams its Nordic heritage from the moment you pull open the door.
Exposed plasterboard with green foliage poking through the cracks gives the first impression of a room unfinished. But when combined with the other unadorned white walls, and low hanging lights, Nordic B reveals its charms, and the plasterboard now shows the owner’s Viking-esq connection with the earth.
The ownership of Nordic B is split three ways. “This is a family-company with 3 partners where Leif has most responsibility and myself and Ben less. Ben is not related to us but is a very good friend,” co-owner Mari Jaatinen said.
The little piece of Nordic heaven made its grand opening on the 28th of May this year. Still only a new kid on the busy King Street of Newtown, Kivela and his family fight every day to get more business through their wood-and-glass front doors. As Kivela revealed it took much blood, sweat and tears to get their restaurant open in the first place, and since then has been a rollercoaster of emotions to run.
Of Finnish and Swedish background, Australian born Kivela has always wanted to set up his house of Nordic delights in progressive Newtown.
“I grew up with and love Nordic food and alcohol. I also love Newtown and thought it to be a good spot for something like this as people there are quite sophisticated and open minded to new things,” Kivela said.
And it seems that has proven true for the trio, with many people of Nordic origin or influence coming to taste a little bit of their culture.
“My most favourite thing is to see and chat to people. Almost everyone who comes there has some kind of connection to some of the Nordic countries, either they just love the food and drinks, or they have family from there,” Jaatinen said.
And the food is truly something to be tasted yourself.
The Swedish meatballs are particularly delectable, and lovingly homemade as the menu states: “Grand moms favourite recipe made from a mix of pork and beef. Pick from our three fabulous options, served with rosemary gravy and lingonberry jam.”
The Danish lima beans on rye are also a dish that fills and delights, as even the small entrée portion on dark rye bread beats any hunger pains you may have.
But none of this even compares to the drinks menu at Nordic B, which was meant to be Nordic Bar, but shortened due to council regulation issues. Even if the bar is hidden in the name, it sure isn’t hidden in the restaurant itself.
Particularly memorable was the ‘Lemon Icicle’; a refreshing cocktail made with real lemon juice, Aalborg porse schnapps, vodka and lemonade. This drink will certainly make you feel like you’ve left the warmth of Sydney for the cold delights of Iceland or Norway. Another icy treat is ‘Sex on the Snow’, another cocktail of vodka, peach schnapps, cranberry juice, and orange juice.
Overall Nordic B is a home for people of all cultures to try and taste their piece of the cold north, as well as for those who miss their home.
“Of course I love working in this place, when it’s Nordic, it is like a part of you… [There’s] a lot of stories, and of course I love to spread the knowledge about the rumours and truths about the Nordic’s alcohol consumption and weird habits,” said Jaatinen.
So step out into our great city and grab a piece of authentic Nordic culture wherever you can; they’re ready to welcome you with open arms.