Melbourne is home to a small but thriving Scandinavian community. Here are a few spots where you can get a dose of their culture and cuisine.
The Swedish Church
A community centre based in historic Toorak House since 1956, The Swedish Church has a chapel, a small cafe and a shop that offers a vast range of Swedish delicacies, from Swedish coffee and deer-horn salt, to fish balls, salted licorice, and more traditional items such as cheese, sausage and pastries. The Swedish Church is also home to the Scandinavian Choir of Melbourne, a mixed group representing the musical culture of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
Rehearsals are held Monday nights at 7.30pm, and it performs on the first Sunday of every month during the service at the Swedish Church of Melbourne.
In 2014, chef and ex-Mexican-cuisine aficionado, Matti Fallon, teamed up with Swede Thomas Kiltorp to open duNord. The restaurant’s clean, Nordic lines, with an emphasis on blonde wood, make this the perfect setting for a range of dishes that cover the entire Scandinavian region. Everything from smoked venison to smoked eel is on the menu, with salmon, berries, pickles, wild mushrooms, dry-aged mutton and traditional Scandinavian flavours – such as bergamot, juniper, elderflower – all making an appearance.
367 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
(03) 9642 0052
The heart of Danish culture and cuisine in Melbourne is located in Little Bourke Street, where Restaurant Dansk offers seasonal contemporary Danish cuisine created by top Danish chef, Bente Grysbæk. With pale-oak floorboards and exposed beams, the building is a showcase for Danish design skill as well as food. The menu includes a herring platter; lamb sirloin with braised witlof; cured ocean trout; and Applemousse with ymerdrys (sweet rye crumbs). The Dansk Bar features Danish cider, spirits and beer (and for a snack, Danish street hotdogs).
Level 3, 428 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
(03) 9600 4477
Peter Santos at Psbikes boasts a diverse range of imported Scandinavian bikes. They include commuter bikes, the Larry Vs Harry Bullitt cargo bike (“The F1 of cargo bikes” according to Peter) and the Christiana range of box cargo bikes, which received the Danish Design Classic Award (given to Lego, Georg Jensen, Wegener and Arne Jacobsen among others) in 2011.
5/201 Hyde Street, Yarraville
(02) 9687 7042
As a Finnish-born fashion and textiles brand founded in 1951, Marimekko sure has a tale to tell. So much so, that a film featured at this year’s Scandinavian Film Festival, Armi Alive, is dedicated to sharing the story of its founder, Armi Raita. Today, Marimekko stands as a global leader in the pursuit to make fashion sustainable. Colourful, vibrant and rich in heritage, Marimekko is worth a visit for some Finnish, art-inspired clothes, homewares and accessories.
Shop 3, 576 Chapel Street, South Yarra
(03) 9804 7213
Level 1, Shop 143, 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
(03) 9663 1695
20th Century Scandinavia
If you’ve ever wondered why Nordic furniture is renowned the world over, pop in to the showroom at 20th Century Scandinavia for an instant education. Specialising in original mid-century Danish, Swedish and Norwegian furniture, this family run business has new shipments arriving from Denmark every eight-to-10 weeks, with restored pieces going on sale weekly.
79 Lygon Street, East Brunswick
(03) 9387 2664
Ikea Food Market
Many of us have spent an afternoon trying to put together a bookcase from Ikea. But a slightly less known – and far more straightforward – aspect of its range is the Swedish Food Market. The restaurant might limit itself to Swedish meatballs, but the market is much more adventurous, offering elk-shaped pasta, Paj Ost (cheese pie), a wide range of smoked and frozen salmon, marinated sprat fillets, tangkorn (seaweed topping) and knäckebröd, a hard crisp bread that goes great with the numerous varieties of semi-hard cheeses on offer.
The Scandinavian Film Festival runs from Thursday July 9 to Sunday July 26 at the Palace Cinema Como and Palace Brighton Bay. Tickets are available at scandinavianfilmfestival.com.