Danish-born restauranteur Soren Jessen opened Ekte Nordic Kitchen in London in 2018. Ekte, meaning genuine or real in Norwegian, offers a varied Nordic menu with each dish taking inspiration from the Northern hemisphere. Nordic Watchlist were lucky enough to be able to ask Soren some questions about the restaurant, his favourite dishes and drinks and any plans to open a further restaurant.
How would you describe Nordic food for those who have not experienced the joys yet?
I would say Nordic food is best described as simple, healthy food with strong flavours. We use a full range of meats, fish and vegetables and then pair that with a wide variety of cooking techniques to ensure maximum taste.
When I visited I absolutely loved the Nuet Negroni. Do you have a favourite Ekte cocktail?
Like you I’m a big fan of the Nuet negroni but my favourite is probably the Nordic sangria. You don’t really associate sangria with the Nordic region but I think that’s what makes it work. It’s different but it’s great.
The restaurant certainly seemed popular when I visited back in January – were you nervous about how well received a Nordic restaurant would be in London?
A little yes, but at the same time no if that makes sense. I was confident that people would enjoy the food, the challenge was getting them to try it. We’re lucky that most people seem to want to come back!
Is having a sustainable menu important to you?
Yes, very much so. Where possible we source our ingredients locally and in season and then add our Nordic spin. We preserve, pickle, marinate, smoke and cure so we do everything possible to avoid waste.
Do you have any plans to expand outside of London? We need Nordic food in the north!
I would absolutely love to open another Ekte and I am always looking at options. It would need to be the right location but I certainly wouldn’t rule out that location being in the north! Who knows what the future holds.
What can we expect to see on the menu over the coming months? Any exciting new dishes planned for Summer?
I have plenty in mind actually. Spinach and wild garlic soup, Danish beef burger on sourdough toast, gravadlax and mustard dill sauce, smoked fallow deer and plenty more. I like to refresh the menu so customers can come back and try new dishes.
I am particularly excited about our big terrace and outdoor bar which I think is the ideal spot for long lunches or early evening cocktails.
Want to try some Nordic cuisine? Then head on over to Ekte Nordic Kitchen’s website to book a table – www.ektelondon.co.uk
Interview by Marc Harries & all images supplied by Ekte