The Bargeriet is hidden away on a once little visited street at the back of Covent Garden, between Floral Street and Long Acre. In fact blink and you will miss Rose Street and that would be a tragedy. However tune in to your senses and the smell of fresh baking and cinnamon will lead you to The Bargeriet.
Bargeriet literarily means bakery in Swedish and that is exactly what it is, a Swedish bakery with a tiny cafe. The space is beautifully designed and comfortably seats 8 people; but such is the demand for seats in this hidden gem that most visitors happily squidge together to make room for a couple more people so that everyone has a chance to enjoy the delicacies and perhaps even make a few new friends along the way. Actually this is essentially what it is to “fika” – getting together with your friends to have a coffee and cake. Yes the Swedes take their coffee breaks so seriously that they have a verb for it.
The bakery offers a range of traditional Swedish cakes, biscuits and savoury sandwiches. A stack of freshly baked cinnamon buns has centre place in the window and is steadily refreshed throughout the day. There are mazarin – a sweet almond tart, vanilla hearts – a sweet pastry with a vanilla cream filling, coconut pyramids, chocolate balls and Hallongrottor – raspberry caves, just to name a few of the delicacies on offer. Visit the Bargeriet during Lent and you will have the opportunity to try the Swedish Semlor cake, this is a cardamom-spiced wheat bun filled with almond paste and topped with whipped cream (the description may not do it justice, but the numbers certainly tell a tale – the Swedes get through 40 million of these little cakes a year in the run up to Easter and local newspapers run features comparing and evaluating the Selmor cakes produced by the local bakeries).
Daniel and Sven-Gunnar also bake their own bread and crispbread, which are fantastic and the cafe offers a selection of traditional Swedish open sandwiches such as Swedish meatballs with home-made beetroot salad; smoked salmon, anchovies, onions, eggs and fresh dill; and prawn salad.
Bakers (and owners) Daniel Karlsson and Sven-Gunnar Appelgren earned their stripes working in an impressive list of prestigious restaurants both here and in Sweden before opening the Bargariet. In fact they have the well deserved reputation of being two of the most sought after bakers in the city. With an ever increasing number of cafes and restaurants opting to buy in their food from larger suppliers it is refreshing to find a cafe that bakes on the premise and takes so much pride in everything it does. Not only are Daniel and Sven-Gunnar introducing the British to the delights of Swedish baking and reminding us that there is no substitute for freshly baked goods, they are also encouraging us to break down our natural reserve and “fika”.
20 Rose Street (off Long Acre)
Footnotes and credits: This is an independent review. The author visited as a regular customer and paid for their fika. Image is care of the Bargeriet website.