Where would you expect to find a Swedish woodland-themed pop-up bar in London; complete with fog, leaf-embossed toilet seats and sauna-style blankets to keep you from the (inside) winter cold? Brick Lane, of course...
Rekorderlig celebrated the launch of their new Winter Cider, which comes hot or cold (we much preferred it steamy!) with a wintery ode to native Sweden, bringing east London its very own festive Scandinavian sanctuary.
Any cider worthy of dragging half a forest indoors, not to mention the woodchip scattered on the “soil” under foot and the atmospheric mist which conjured up memories of a summer spent festivalling (we had to restrain ourselves from lighting a cigarette on several occasions, oh for the early noughties!), surely requires a decent soundtrack.
It seemed fitting then that our foliaged fantasyland was the setting for elfin popette, Faye Hamlin, who is the front-lady of Swedish pop group FAYE, alongside Johan Cederberg and Victor Holmberg. Faye is a fitting mixture of dramatic, icy cheekbones and an earthy, cold sense of humour. The crowd, perched on stump-like stools huddled around steaming tankards of cinnamon-infused cider, were charmed out of their seats by hypnotic vocals and fittingly mystical synths. They didn’t even appear slightly traumatised by the lyrical crimes, the most serious of which being the rhyming of “trouble” and “bubble”.
New single, ‘Breathe Out’ (the scene of said crime) was a highlight, carried by her enthusiastic vocals, that has a genuine emotion, often absent from Swedish pop offerings. ‘Mad Dog’ had a playful, sexy ‘80s feel to it and almost made up for the previous literary felony, with the perfectly fitting line, “Catch me like a leaf falling to the ground, I want to settle down...” well at least it matched the decor.
Back at the bar, the Winter Cider was flexing its bubbly muscles, morphing itself into a range of tasty cocktails, from a mojito-style mix of rum, mint, sugar and cider to a take on a Tom Collins, minus the soda - extra the cider.
No Swedish soiree is complete without a meatball (the ball behind IKEA’s continued success; why else would any sane adult go through such an ordeal in the name of thrifty lighting?) and the traditional tapas on offer: Swedish meatballs, cheese croquettes topped with cloudberry chutney and elk sausage rolls. All made tastier by the smell of fresh pine needles.
Rekorderlig’s winter forest is a welcome seasonal escape from the usual trendy Shoreditch haunts; atmosphere and reasonably priced cocktails are sure to draw in the east-end darlings. This pop-up winter scene is running from October 26th to November 6th, an early start to the mulled-cider season. Our only question is, what are they going to do with all those firs? Christmas tree anyone?
Remember don’t smoke, it’s still illegal, even if they do confuse you by bringing the outdoors in...
Words by Kate O’Sullivan
Photos by Tom McNeilage