I’ve always felt an affinity for Scandinavia, despite never visiting any of its countries. This is probably because a lot of people mistake my brothers and me for being Scandinavian (tall, blond, often talking gibberish) and I’ve been on the receiving end of plenty of ‘Swedish milkman’ jokes…usually told by my little brother, which adds another level of weird. Anyway, this is why I jumped at the opportunity to visit KuPP, a Scandi-themed diner whose flagship Paddington branch was offering a bottomless brunch on a day when I was feeling very hungry indeed. It’s time to discover my heritage through the medium of meatballs.
OK, so there aren’t going to be that many meatballs. It even says this on the website. After a pilgrimage to Scandinavia 10 years ago, KuPP founder Steve Cox decided to embrace the effortlessly cool design element of Scandinavia, combine it with their penchant for fresh, healthy produce and wrap it up in a “big British blanket”, creating what is now a spacious, chic restaurant that is as generous with its portion sizes as it is its free-flowing cocktails and beer.
My friend and I take a seat near the floor-to-ceiling windows, which allow natural light to spill over the tastefully selected furniture and neon-lit signs hanging on exposed brickwork behind the bar. It’s Sunday, so we are here to take advantage of their bottomless brunch offer and fill up on as much food and booze as we want within 90 minutes. Skål!
A couple of agreeable Bloody Marys get things off to a good start, the piquant kick preparing our palates for the variety of flavours that are on the sharing boards. There’s Fiske ‘bord’ (fish), KuPP (house, lots of meat) and Veggie (no translation needed, I hope) and we attack them all with equal gusto.
The seafood platter contains a dill-tinged salmon whose saltine bite and tender texture reveals every second of its 48-hour smoking process. The assorted vegetables are tangy and delightful, the cider vinegar and mustard liquor used to pickle them coming through with a potency that will shake off any Saturday-acquired hangover. Two wafers of crisped rye bread serve as ideal rafts on which the panoply of piscatorial delicacies sail, straight into our appreciative maws.
We go for the vegetarian platter next, which is new to KuPP and stands out with its superb mushroom and tarragon tart, whisper-thin pastry encasing a creamy, herbaceous filling. Small globes of roasted beetroot are a fun addition, while the mix of dukkah and avocado remind us that we’re still in London (it being impossible to brunch in the capital sans smashed avo). For those who like their stinky cheeses, there’s plenty to like here, with Swedish Västerbotten and Danish blue cheeses fulfilling the board’s pongy quota.
And on to the meat. The house board groans with home-smoked ham, a slice of chorizo sausage roll that marries crispy pastry with flavoursome minced sausage, and a trio of smoked pork meatballs (well, they had to, didn’t they?) in a thick, rich sauce. The small mound of potted rabbit is excellent, especially swallowed with a bite of the lightly garnished potato salad and with a few slices of sharp cheese to add even more of an edge, this one’s worth coming back for again and again.
We toast the brunch with tankards of Czech Pilsner Krušovice and finish off with a brace of Aquavit Collins, which pairs Linie Aquavit (a traditional Norwegian potato-based caraway spirit) with fresh lemon, bitter lemon and sugar. After bidding the friendly staff adieu, we make our way past the Paddington canal, discussing our favourite dishes and guessing which staff member might be my distant cousin.
With another branch in Exeter, I may very well make a pilgrimage of my own next time I’m in the mood for a Scandinavian; although that’s the attitude that apparently started all this ‘milkman’ banter in the first place…
“Bottomless Brunch includes 90 minutes of unlimited smörgasbord refills alongside a choice of bottomless cocktails or glasses of Czech Pilsner Krušovice. £30 per person, available Saturdays and Sundays between 12noon and 5pm. For every adult enjoying a Bottomless Bord, a child can eat for free from a dedicated kids menu.”
KuPP, Paddington, Unit 53, 5 Merchant Square, Paddington, London, W2 1AS
Tel: +44 (0)1392 531777
The restaurant is a five-minute walk from Edgware Road station and is open seven days a week from 7:00am to 11:30pm Monday to Thursday; from 7:00am to midnight on Friday and from 10:00am to midnight on Saturday and from 10:00am to 10:30pm on Sunday.
Type of Restaurant: Scandinavian-influenced casual diner
“Serving excellent coffees and very moreish, health-conscious cuisine, we’d definitely revisit to this Scandinavian superstar.”
Price Band: Medium
Reviewer’s rating: 7/10
David Harfield is the director of PepperStorm Media and writes about his three passions: food, booze and travel.
Photographs courtesy of KuPP