We will be the first to confess that we are no experts when it comes to Scandinavian and/or Nordic cuisine. For us, the extent of our knowledge comes from IKEA catalogs and our Swedish friends who make Kanelbullar and Glögg when they host Christmas parties each year. So when we heard that Lausanne was welcoming its first Nordic-inspired restaurant, we were curious to know whether the hygge culture could be successfully transplanted to this city. And after our weekend brunch we can confidently say…friends, go get your hygge on at Äta.
Äta meaning “to eat”, is beautifully minimalist and cozy at the same time. The restaurant is divided into two sections: the rapid takeaway where passersby can stop in for a healthy lunch, or a coffee and kannebulle to go, and the sit-down side where clients can enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, fika, and brunch on the weekends.
We were lucky enough to snag a table at their first brunch serving last weekend and were delightfully surprised by the number of unrecognizable options on the menu. We couldn’t pronounce what we ordered–in fact, we couldn’t pronounce most of the menu…and we loved that. How often are you surprised or intrigued by restaurant offerings here in Lausanne?
We tried a bit of everything. And we even brought a Nordic friend along to help guide our review. After much discussion fit between mouthfuls of smoked salmon, cinnamon rolls, granola & yogurt, poached eggs, and sweet and savory pancakes, we came to the consensus that 1) the food was delicious & innovative and 2) it is a more of a “nod to the north” than purely Nordic cuisine. But this is not surprising; even the name on the menu is a playful fusion of Swedish and French: äta’ble (à table).
And now the part everyone is waiting for…THE KANNEBULLE.
While we found the much-discussed cinnamon rolls quite delicious (they aren’t too sweet, which we appreciate, the texturized crumble and powdered sugar on top was such a nice surprise, and this time they were straight out of the oven which makes all the difference), they were missing the traditional and typically Nordic addition: the taste of cardamom. With this being said, we must say that as far as cinnamon rolls in Lausanne go, Äta has secured a winning spot, and we see many fika afternoons happening at this cozy resto.
We have yet to test the dinner menu, but we’ve heard the offerings (small or large portions available) are also delightfully innovative; salmon from Graubünden, a variety of Smörrebröd (rye bread toast with various toppings), smoked herring, and plenty of vegetarian options accompanied with pickled delicacies.
So whether you’re looking for a casually chic place for your weekday morning coffee, an inventive and original lunch or dinner, a cozy spot to settle in with a book and pastry on a rainy afternoon, or a vibrant and bustling brunch spot filled with delightful dishes you can’t pronounce–Äta is a space welcoming everyone to their table.
They are inviting us all to dip a toe (or fork?) in the proverbial Nordic waters and explore a world of new tastes. The only question is, are you up for the journey? If you’ve tried it, let us know what you think about Äta!