Sipping a Nordic take on a Negroni, on a rooftop in Belgravia above a Japanese lifestyle shop, eating a piece of imported “Moose” salami with some crunchy moss, while listening to some Ethiopian Afrobeat, I realised quite how special Eldr was going to be. It is above Pantechnicon, the Nordic/Japanese design centre just round the corner from The Berkeley. It is akin to having dinner inside the belly of a Monocle subscriber.
It also has a new team in charge - led by friendly Finnish chef Jenny Warner, previously of nearby posh pub The Thomas Cubbitt. Staff are friendly, smiley and assured. The starters standout are the signature “smørrebrød” sandwiches (consider it a smaller, bread-ier and more focused smorgasbord). Cocktails are devised this season by East London Liquor Company’s resident cocktail viking Siggi Sigurdsson: expect akvavit, birch sap, cloudberry and the occasional spot of pickled brine, all blended with strong liquor around a chunk of ice that resembles a ship-sinking glacier.
The drinks pair perfectly with an adventurous, idea-packed menu. Venison croquettes dotted with lingonberry were a trio of crispy flavour grenades bursting with Bambi. Atlantic shrimp, poached trout with charred leek was pretty, wispy and moreish. My grilled lamb leg steak, herb salad, seaweed butter was all the better for being accompanied by grilled broccoli with buckwheat dressing and a glass of organic, centuries’ old Cinsault from Santa Cruz. My companion’s ruby coloured lamp rump with roasted parsnip was akin to a refined Nordic take on a pub lunch. Deserts were knockout: the meringue topping of the Yorkshire rhubarb looked like a dropped roof tile but tasted phenomenal. The chocolate, blood orange, almond cake (complete with a swirling Mr Whippy style topping) went all too quickly.
As the weather warms, this is an experience that is simply going to get even better as further floors open up - there is a pop up space, a Café Kitsuné (featuring an ex-Claridge's pastry chef) and a Japanese restaurant all within the same building. But on the covered rooftop of Eldr, snuggled beneath blankets under a heater, with another Scandi-style Old fashioned on the way and a remix of Marlena Shaw playing through the speakers, this is somewhere really special.