The once-humble Danish ‘bread-and-butter’, smørrebrød – simple or complex but invariably mouth-watering – has been transformed into a masterpiece even high profile restaurants are looking to gladly offer to clientele. Neither sandwich, nor burger, it is rather a compact yet tasty meal eaten with a knife and fork, and never out of your hands. Ready to give it a try?
Launched a year ago, Smørrebrød Kyiv is a conceptual two-storey venue serving iconic Scandinavian recipes with a modern twist. Nestled between hectic Khreschatyk and quiet Horodetskoho, the restaurant’s black façade and sign featuring a deer will definitely catch your eye. Weather permitting; a small summer terrace welcomes you for a drink and chat with friends outdoors.
Cast Off Lines
Once inside, it’s like we are aboard a ship due to sea-themed accents prevailing in a creative interior that uses natural unpolished materials – wood, stone, iron, and concrete. The cosy though rugged design dexterously combines Nordic and Ukrainian folk elements, including bast mats on the benches, cargo blocks on the ceiling, ash-gray walls inspired by a ‘khata-mazanka’ (a traditional Ukrainian mud-hut), a rope-knit chandelier resembling a spider web, and bell-shaped pendant lamps. Massive door handles made of melted spoons are relevant to the theme and impressive. A gigantic, aptly tarnished mirror with the restaurant’s logo adorns the bar zone on the ground floor.
What strikes me most is a large solid stone sink with heavy, rusty taps placed outside the two bathrooms on the top floor. The restrooms – no segregation on board! – are as humorously and smartly decorated with toilet papers stacks – a strategic stockpile for those ‘on heavy seas’.
Rite of Passage
The menu centres on a variety of smørrebrød numbering up to 20 and boasting multiple ingredients. We select two specialties to tantalise our palates. A visual feast, the first option comes with slices of mildly salted soft matjes herring, well-balanced with neutral boiled potatoes, sour cream, and sweet baked curry apples. A pickled cucumber adds a freshness to this explosion of tastes. The second version will surely be a favourite for tartare connoisseurs: the finely ground veal crowned with a raw egg yolk has a tender flavour enhanced with salty hike caviar, tarragon, and thin crispy potato chips.
In both cases, components are beautifully arranged on a piece of delicious rye whole-wheat bread tailormade for Smørrebrød.
We continue indulging with a bowl of light but nourishing creamy fish soup. Its appetising yellow colour blended with bright greens and wedges of magenta-coloured watermelon radishes makes for an amazing rainbow palette. The salmon balls have a distinct fishy taste with a savoury richness. Chef Denis says they smoke the mackerel for the broth themselves as well as produce spruce oil that imparts a piquant note to the dish.
We still have room for filet mignon cooked to perfection with a succulent juicy medium rare core. I like the way the accompanying potatoes are cooked – though a sweetish puree, they nevertheless preserve a pleasantly hard texture, garnished with dill and curry.
Following the Scandinavian culinary ‘farm-to-table’ philosophy, Smørrebrød uses only the freshest local products. “As our space is limited, we have a small kitchen, which means we can’t and won’t store food for days. Every meal is freshly prepared,” says Iryna Lebed, the restaurant’s owner and inspiration.
Liqueurs and Cocktails
Smørrebrød’s drinks deserve special mention. You won’t find strong spirits here. Instead, you will enjoy an assortment of homemade fruit liqueurs (nalewkas) and exclusive cocktails infused on these liqueurs and pre-mixed in a stand-alone lab. We watch the server as he brings a Bloody Mary in a custom-made can and pours out the contents in a handmade glass. The cocktail has an unusual aroma of dill vodka with spicy notes, lemon freshness, and a lingering aftertaste. Boulevardier is a sour-sweet original beverage concocted of bourbon, red vermouth, and Campari. Its bouquet always acquires new tones, as the drink is kept in a barrel that is regularly refilled.
Another two shots of cherry rum and rye bread brandy – a worthy alternative to dessert – and we call it quits.
Every dish, drink, and set can be packed in lovely boxes and taken away. In addition, the restaurant provides breakfasts all day long. No reservations are accepted – it’s first come first served with Smørrebrød!
|Smørrebrød with maatjesharing, potato, half sour pickle, baked curry apple||95 UAH|
|Smørrebrød with veal tartare, pike caviar, tarragon||185 UAH|
|Fish soup with salmon, mackerel, vegetables||115 UAH|
|Fillet mignon, mashed potatoes, green onion, demi-glace sauce||220 UAH|
|Bloody Mary||120 UAH|
|Boulevardier in a Barrel||145 UAH|
|Rye bread brandy||59 UAH|
|Cherry rum||59 UAH|
Arkhitektora Horodetskoho 4
Open: 08.00 – 23.00 (Sunday – Thursday), 08.00 – 01.00 (Friday and Saturday)
+ 38 044 337 0031
Make sure you try
Smørrebrød with guacamole, fried romaine, poached egg 125 UAH
Green beans, sweet chili sauce 95 UAH
The What’s On Checklist
|WO Rating||5 Star|