Snaps + Rye – Danish Smorgasbord in Notting Hill:
I have long wanted to visit Copenhagen, so I was rather pleased to be invited along to the contemporary Danish restaurant Snaps + Rye on the Golborne Road in West London to try my hand at making a Smørrebrød (or Smorgasbord as the English would say) with the opportunity for the best contender, to win a trip to Copenhagen. I have to tell you now, that sadly the prize wasn’t to be mine, however, I made a jolly good go of it and enjoyed myself enormously in the process.
Smørrebrød simply means bread and butter, it usually consists of a piece of buttered rye, which is dark and dense in texture. Rye bread is like pizza to the Danes and is hugely important to their culture. It is served with a variety of toppings, traditionally this would be fish, or cold meats and pickles, but the Smørrebrød has been updated and now anything goes!
Now no Smørrebrød would be complete without a shot of snaps, which is a strong a clear, fiery traditional Scandinavian alcoholic drink with a vodka base, which is typically drunk throughout a meal to enliven the pallet. I am told it’s very important in Denmark when drinking Snaps to say ‘Saol’ (cheers), drink and make eye contact with every person before and after drinking.
Snaps and Rye was opened in 2014 by Danish-English husband and wife team Kell and Jaqueline Skött. It is a traditional Danish restaurant serving ‘proper’ Nordic cuisine focusing on produce and provenance. They make everything from scratch using fresh, sustainable and top quality ingredients.
They have created a very Nordic, airy style restaurant with simple clean furnishings and a wonderfully friendly atmosphere, in one of the hippest streets in West London. In Denmark, they have a word that cannot be translated directly into English, which is ‘Hygge’. Kell describes it as “where all your senses are evoked by just feeling good. Good company, friends, candlelights it’s a time and place where you have no worries, you are just really content.”
So with that in mind we started the evening with an introduction by Kell to the Danish cuisine and we tried some excellent Snifters which are smaller Smørrebrød, they were piled high with beautifully fresh ingredients which included pickled herring, salmon, roast veal and pork meat ball, radish, pickled cucumber and fresh herbs along with three different Snaps to try, which varied in strength and flavour, each leaving a wonderful warming spicy taste in the mouth and kicking off the taste buds.
After getting some inspiration and taste of the real thing from the professionals, we were given a huge array of splendid ingredients in order to create our own Snifters/Smørrebrøds.
Surrounded by a seriously competitive group of woman all vying for the first prize we set to work. I have to say I was rather surprised and proud of my final creation, plus it tasted absolutely delicious, but the winning Smørrebrød went to the lovely Zahra who was sitting next to me, who made hers look exceptionally gorgeous, and earned her trip to Copenhagen
An evening in Snaps + Rye has only inspired me more to take a trip to Denmark just as soon as I possibly can, but luckily with a fabulous restaurant like this in the neighbourhood which serves fine Danish food and snaps in a ‘Hygge’ environment I haven’t got far to go to experience an authentic slice of Danish life.
Definitely check it out if you can.
Snaps + Rye is open for breakfast, brunch and lunch every Tuesday to Sunday. Dinner Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening.
93 Golborne Road, Notting Hill W10 5NL
020 8964 3004
Thank you to Snaps + Rye and VistDenmark for a great evening!