Bites: Alternatives to Baltic

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Indy Lifestyle Online

The Borough, Scandelicious, 165 High Street, Aldeburgh, Suffolk (01728 452880). Daily 9am-4pm (winter Mon-Sat 10am-3pm). An unusual outpost of Scandinavian food, now scaled down to a café and takeaway so that the owner can sell her gravadlax, home-spiced herrings, and peeled prawns with dill, chives and sour cream) at Borough Market in London as well as in the chic Suffolk resort. There you can eat meatballs on beetroot salad (£3.75), and herrings spiced, salted with dill or with sweet mustard sauce, all on rye bread for £3.45.Danish and Swedish pastries for afters.

Lundum, 119 Old Brompton Road, London SW7 (020-7373 7774). Mon-Sat lunch and dinner, Sun brunch. Cherished by Danes for dishing up at lunchtimes and especially on the Sunday buffet table, food that makes them homesick. And for its Danish interpretation of modern European cooking in the evenings (stroganoff, cured duck), this is an all-round pleasing restaurant. It's at lunchtime that you'll find herrings – marinaded, spicy, with sweet and sour, dill or curry sauces for £3.25-£5.25, with traditional garnishes of capers, onions, cucumber and tomato, and black bread. There is also gravadlax, smoked eel, prawn and salt-beef open sandwiches; meatballs, fish platters and salads. Drink aquavit with herring, wine with dinner. Set lunch is £12.50 for two courses, Sunday-lunch buffet is £15.50; dinner £17-£25 without wine.

Nordic, 25 Newman Street, London W1 (020-7631 3174). Mon-Fri 12-11pm, Sat 6-11pm. Claims to be London's first Scandinavian bar and restaurant; it's certainly the newest. All the drinks – akvavits, vodkas, liqueurs and beers – come from the region. Lunchtime and evenings there's a smorgasbord for £11.50; seafood salads, smoked reindeer, Jansson's Temptation (potato, onion and anchovy bake) and pytt y panna – potato, bacon, egg – are also available during the day before staff concentrate on cocktails like Apple Danish and shooters such as Dancing Queen. Nordic is ice cool in an ironic way.

Wòdka, 12 St Alban's Grove, London W8 (020-7937 6513). Mon-Fri lunch and dinner, Sat, Sun dinner. Jan Woroniecki's precursor to Baltic, the only modish Polish restaurant in town, offers the likes of smoked eel with roast beetroot, potato and horseradish, blinis, leniwe cheese and herb dumplings, all done with a light touch, in the glamorous surroundings of a stylishly pared-down, tiled and panelled former dairy. Main courses might be poached salt beef and vegetables, or golabki – cabbage leaves filled with pork and wild rice with cranberry sauce. £20-£25 for three courses. The fabulous range of vodkas takes the breath away.