What's the draw
While many of the recent Nordic exports to hit these shores (think Aquavit and Aster) have the trappings of New Nordic cuisine, Borealis is a slightly more approachable variant. The new restaurant from Danish restaurateur Soren Jessen – which follows on from classic city haunt 1 Lombard Street and the recent Ekte Nordic Kitchen at Bloomberg Arcade – is all about open-faced sandwiches at lunch and simple but effective Scandi café food at dinner, served in a breezy room in the Fora workspace in Borough, with a roof terrace on its fifth floor, too.
What to drink
There’s a very decent line-up of gins from distillers across Scandinavia, so we made the most of the chance to sup on a clean-as-a-whistle gin martini with acclaimed Swedish gin Hernö – crisp and zingy on the palate, with the requisite touch lemon oil struck across its surface before the zest was submerged. With mains, we went for a 2015 Ribera del Duero from the not-very-Spanish-sounding Peter Sisseck – with dried blackcurrant notes on the palate and a silky black-olive finish.
What to eat
Just like a sandwich here isn’t what you’d call a sandwich at afternoon tea at the Ritz (here, they’re classic smorrebrod – rich, dense, dark rye bread lightly toasted and topped with classic seasonal Nordic toppings), beef tartare isn’t the beef tartare you know, either. Arriving like a steak haché (or a ‘naked burger, for those of you who didn’t holiday in northern France as a kid), its lightly grilled exterior gives way to pillowy red raw steak, its age immediately evident through the big umami punch of its lightly rendered fat, and offset by the tang of pickled onion slices and curried pickles, the earthy acidity of cubed beetroot and a cured egg atop a piece of toast. We loved a salad of purple new potato, pickled cucumber and sweetcorn resting in a lip-smacking buttermilk dressing and crisp dried shallots, while for main we couldn’t fault more aged beef, this time a gamey smoked and pan-fried sirloin, in a sticky pan jus made with a salad of more beets and dill in a beer vinegar – a slightly too tempting offer for hungry coworkers upstairs.
Mains from £13, wine from £4.50 by the glass. Fora, 180 Borough High Street, SE1 1LB; borealislondon.co.uk.