Given that London – as we all know – is the great melting pot of our times, it supports very few European restaurants that fall outside the known and usual French and Italian models. Even Spain – with its diverse regions and cuisines – has few outposts aiming much above the tapas bar level. (And as to Germany’) It’s pleasing to note, then, the success in recent years of Lundums (the Danish restaurant in South Kensington) and of the Swedish Glas.
The new setting for Glas is very different. Moved from its ‘small and percussive’ premises – as noted in an excellent guide we often use – by Borough Market, it now sits above Islington’s Antiques Market on the former site of Lola’s. It is light, lofty and well-spaced, and – for those well-disposed to Scandinavian-style understatement – possibly quite romantic.
On the culinary front, the main attraction is that the menu is different without being scary (herring excepted, obviously). One of the four breads offered, for example, is a very good home-made ryebread: Ryvita, eat your heart out. Starters, too, have rarity value. Sometimes that’s all they have: beer-battered beetroot with walnuts and thyme foam, for example, was just rather odd. A venison carpaccio, however, with a mushroom pannacotta (more a mousse) was a delicious dish, with a good range of tastes and textures (especially if you count the berries and nuts which seem to garnish almost everything).
Main courses such as laxpudding – a lasagne-like layering of salmon and potatoes – tend to fall in the solid-but-enjoyable category, and puddings likewise. A chocolate fondant with white chocolate tasted a little less exciting than it sounded, but the espresso was pretty good.
Service is friendly, and prices reasonable. Glas, we hope, will soon grow to fill its more expansive new premises.