Places To Eat In London: Snaps & Rye, Westbourne Park
On Tuesday, Kelly and I braved the biting cold to meander our way from Notting Hill Gate, all the way down almost to the very bottom of Portobello Road to find Snaps & Rye, a small Danish restaurant with big accolades we’d both had on our ‘to try’ lists for a while. In the mornings they serve Nordic twists on brunch time classics, at lunchtime a selection of small plate, traditional plates and smörgås open sandwiches, and in the evenings a selection of small plates and snaps cocktails, as well as a £38 (!) chefs tasting menu.
The interiors are elegant, cozy (or am I supposed to say hygge?) and very Danish. While we perused the menu, we settled in with cappuccinos and pots of peppermint tea (they have an excellent list of Tea Pigs brews) served out of beautiful ceramic cups (with beautiful mini carafes and sugar bowls) by Anne Black – they sell a lot of her products in store, and we were both utterly taken by them.
I went for something off of the lunch menu. While I was tempted by the “Star of Golborne” (a breaded sole fillet with prawns, remoulade and a green salad on rye), I was won over at the last minute by the warm Danish liver pâté, served with rye bread, pickled mushrooms, cucumbers and beetroot, with a bit of crispy bacon. You have to be a massive liver and pickle fan to fully appreciate this dish, but I thought it was wonderful. The liver was rich and crumbly, the house rye bread dense and incredibly more-ish. Since discovering them at Lupin’s I’ve been obsessed with pickled mushrooms and they were perfect here; the dish came together beautifully.
I was also tempted from the small plates section by the smoked mackerel with homemade tomato sauce, crispy onions and pickled kale. First: this is very big for a small plate, it would also serve as a fantastic lunch with a side of rye bread on its own! It was a wonderfully balanced plate, with fantastic, clean flavours and a nice balance between the cold smoked mackerel, slightly warm tomato sauce, crispy onions and tender kale.
Kelly chose from the top of the brunch menu (which you can now get until 3pm every day): house-cured var salmon served with impossibly creamy scrambled eggs, more of that delicious rye bread and a pat of butter. This dish was really about making the best of some really great quality ingredients, and it did not disappoint. Skimming further down the brunch menu, I’m rather tempted by the ‘Full Danish’: bacon, liquorice syrup, hogs pudding, spinach, tomatoes, pickled mushroom and bloody viking ketchup.
After your meal, don’t head out just yet as they have a lovely little store by the counter. As well as the aforementioned ceramics, here you can find a few Danish/ Scandi ingredients and products that are a little harder to find elsewhere such as liquorice powder and several different types of snaps. They’ve also got some beautiful Scandinavian candles so you can get your hygge on, and a selection of books on Scandi cooking and culture: I spied one of my cookbook obsessions from late 2017 on the shelves, Nadine Levy Redzepi’s Downtime. If you like the look of your lunch, treat yourself to a copy of this book (I’ll be reviewing it soon!)
You can order them to your table, but if you work in the area it is also worth noting that as well as a counter of delicious looking cakes and pastries there are different smörgås (open sandwiches) on offer every day if you’re looking for a snack on the go. I wish I’d got up from our table to take a look before we’d ordered food, because I might have ended up even more bursting with food than I was, because who could resist these smoked trout smörgås? I’ll be back for one, though, as we both really, really loved Snaps & Rye, and thought it was a lovely little, authentic restaurant to go brunch at, meet friends or enjoy a romantic dinner with a difference.