Lundenwic in Covent Garden
Lundenwic is one of those cafes: unapologetically photogenic, all clean lines and understated Nordic design influences. Everything from the neat rows of pastries to the platters of colourful salads is as pretty as a picture. It’s utterly on trend, as you expect from the duo behind artisan scotch egg company Scotchtails.
So we’re surprised when our lunch there gets off to a slightly rocky start with a pair of salads. The first is an oriental medley of chili and sesame-covered long-stem broccoli, which is sadly lacking any real punch or cohesion. It’s nice enough, but it feels rather like a collection of disparate ingredients placed together on the same plate. The other, a mixture of nectarines, green beans and feta cheese, is more unified but the fruit isn’t quite ripe, throwing the trio of sweet, savoury and salty out of balance.
The rest of the menu has no such issues though. A hefty looking slice of sweet potato and golden beetroot quiche proves surprisingly dainty in texture. It’s sweet without being too syrupy, and the rich, earthy flavours work perfectly together. The bottom has lost a little of its crisp, but it’s still far from the soggy pastry you’ll find on offer from many of Lundenwic’s rivals.
Things get even better as we tuck into an apricot and custard pastry. The apricots have a good tang to them at first bite, before giving way into a delicious burst of floral muscat flavours. The custard does its job well, providing a bit of sweetness to offset the fruit and a creamy mouthfeel that stops the whole thing from being too dry. Special credit must also go to the pastry which, with its beautifully crisp, buttery texture, feels like so much more than a vehicle for the fillings. A flourless chocolate cake is similarly delicious, its texture utterly indulgent, more akin to a brownie than a traditional cake.
Both are washed down with an impeccable cappuccino. Any cafe worth its salt in an area like this needs to be able to deliver top-notch coffee, and Lundenwic is certainly capable of that. A yielding but not insubstantial foam gives way to a medium-strength shot of nutty coffee below. It’s a gentle option for those that don’t like their cappuccinos too bold and potent. A cold-pressed watermelon juice is similarly subtle. Flavoured with just a little touch of mint, it’s the perfect balm for a hot summer’s day.
In a market as demanding as Covent Garden, it’s easy to forget that Lundenwic has only been open for a short while. Some small teething problems are to be expected and, with the track record of its founders, it should only be a matter of time before those issues are dealt with. Besides, if a few average salads are all they have to worry about, the future is bright for this generally delicious little slice of nordic simplicity.★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Aleksandra Rozanska
For further information about Lundenwic, 45 Aldwych London WC2B 4DW, visit here.