Lundenwic

For a treat lunch, I stopped at Lundenwic where I’d been meaning to go to since they opened. Lundenwic are a compact food and specialty coffee shop in the heart of Aldwych from the founders of Scotchtails, Oliver Hiam and Dominic Hamdy. As the name might reveal, its opening was inspired by a trip to Copenhagen – like me, they honour the aesthetics of the Nordic cafés and small restaurants they visited. This certainly explains why this eatery is a barista’s heaven with, of course, the best coffee beans around – yes, Workshop espresso blends and other guest coffees. Indeed, Lundenwic takes its coffee as seriously as its food, particularly as Stan Przemek – previously of Flat White, Milk Bar and TAP Coffee – as been appointed as head of coffee.

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For me, their website immediately attracted me to this eatery – with beautiful and colourful photographs of grains and vegetables. These aesthetic attractions continue inside. Lundenwic is one of those cafes that is unapologetically photogenic with clean lines and understated Nordic design influences. It’s very Skandi minimalist chic, with a focus on simplicity, functionality and the use of natural light. Everything – from the neat rows of pastries to the platters of colourful salads – is as pretty as a picture. It’s utterly on trend and almost like a more stylish and certainly yummier trip to Ikea. Although dwarfed by the historic theatres and hotels of Aldwych, this narrow café, with its narrow bar, is well designed and is the height of Nordic chic.

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Offering a contemporary take-away menu of healthy breakfasts, lunch-time sandwiches and toasties and best of all, fresh salads, a lunch-time trip was in order. Setting up the kitchen at Lundenwic is Matt Shea, who comes via B.O.B’s Lobster and Salon Brixton. The range of healthy salads (Regular, £6 and Large, £8) on offer was impressive and catered to all sorts of “free” diets – including dairy-free and gluten-free options. I had a Mixed Salad Box: Freekah, Chickpea, Parlsey and Mint; Shredded Broccoli, Almond, Red Currant and Mint Lemon Dressing; Mango, Lime, Chilli and Sesame Oil; and Roast Sweet Potato and Pomegranate Molasses. The highlight for me was the unusual shredded broccoli which gave it a grainy texture. This was perfectly offset by the salty and smoky nuts, which were well balanced with the sweet dried currants and the very generous herb seasoning. Indeed, the herbs was so finely cut that this salad resembled a kind of tabbouleh. The mango was slightly unnecessary, but certainly satisfied my curiosity regarding mangoes in savoury salads.

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Lundenwic’s promise of creative, honest and healthy food proved to be correct and there was certainly an emphasis on provenance and the use of high-quality, locally sourced ingredients. I’m tempted to return to try their inventive and seasonal Porridge menu (£3.90), including Fig, Chia Seeds and Agave, especially as I hear they serve nut milk from Mae + Harvey. And its one of “About Time” magazine’s top London porridges (http://www.abouttimemagazine.co.uk/food/best-breakfast-in-london-porridge-guide/).  Even more me is the coyo bowl and their Bonsoy Workshop latte, which I couldn’t resist. A stone’s throw away from the courts, and sandwiched between the Waldorf and the Delauney, it’s the perfect spot for a litigator’s lunch or a cup of speciality Workshop coffee.

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Ludenwic, 45 Aldwych, London, WC2B 4DR

Website: http://www.lundenwic.com/

Rating: *****

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