Fresh treats on rye with a Scandinavian accent
The team behind The Nest and The Cannery recently launched a new concept — Rye & Co — to bring Nordic eating to the fore. Chef Freddy Raoult has given the food a distinct Scandinavian accent but influences range from France to Asia.
Guests are welcomed into a cozy dining space in the newly opened Xintiandi Plaza, fitted with wood-panelled floors and simple furnishings in dark tones.
The French chef, with his 12 years of cooking experience in Finland, takes a back-to-basics approach, reflecting straightforward Scandinavian sensibilities and focusing on a fresh and straight-forward all-day dining concept. Everything is made in-house and his creations start with a simple idea — to serve up typical Nordic formulas, all day breakfast and healthy sets, balanced, healthy and reasonably priced.
He said the idea behind Nordic cuisine is about sourcing local products. “Nordic food is all about using simple, honest, local food attractively presented with little waste, but the techniques can be influenced from everywhere. You can feel the freshness and cleanness in our food items as I work with some of the best suppliers I can find in China,” Raoult said.
The menu is like “everybody’s cafe for any time of the day.” Especially at the weekend, Rye & Co is packed for its delightful offerings.
Everything on the menu looks appealing but never turn down the Smorrebrod selection — the traditional Danish open-faced sandwich on rye bread. They aren’t just slices of bread piled with toppings but there are secret recipes behind them and the balanced complex flavors and textures felt right after one bite.
Raoult has elaborate and creative variations. I’ve tasted two version Beef (42 yuan) and Tempura (42 yuan).
They use slightly sweet molasses bread with a hint of licorice, topped with beef tartare mixed with fresh horseradish, watercress, scallions, sorrel and dill mayo. Sorrel is a green leafy plant used to add acidity.
For the Tempura Smorrebrod, rye bread is used as a base, topped with tempura halibut and vegetables, and again, a mix of green vegetables and pickles and the delicious tartar sauce are layered on.
These are not only delicious with plenty of local produce and healthy ingredients but also an art form pleasing to the eye. It might soon be the hottest new trend in lunch.
I also loved the Skagen toast (78 yuan) — a typical Swedish dish. Served on buttery sourdough, generous steamed Icelandic shrimps seasoned with sour cream, horseradish, shallot, scalions garnished with salmon roe and a mixture of herbs make a sophisticated all-day meal.
For the evenings, the chef adds a few different options such as Seaweed squid risotto (58 yuan) and White asparagus spaghetti (68 yuan) according to ingredients available on the day.
There are a few by-glass options for wine and they are keen on choosing organic, natural wines.
The casual atmosphere is comforting and friendly and has drawn a devoted following for its reasonable prices.
Opening hours: 10:30am-9pm
Address: 6/F, Xintiandi Plaza, 333 Huaihai Rd M.
Average price: 120 yuan