Hygge: we’ve all heard about the Scandinavian concept of cosiness currently taking the world by storm. But how does it translate to food? Well, at 26 Grains – a homely café hidden from the crowds in a quiet square off Covent Garden – hygge means porridge. Founder Alex Hely-Hutchinson, whose love of the Danish lifestyle stems from a year studying abroad in Copenhagen, started out in 2014 with a pop-up at Old Street Station before joining like-minded ventures such as The Wild Food Café in Neal’s Yard.
Admittedly the remit has grown to include offerings other than pre-soaked, slow-cooked oats: rye bread comes topped with the likes of beetroot hummus, walnuts, spinach and alfalfa sprouts; and savoury bowls include brown rice accompanied by coconut chickpea stew, kale and aubergine pickle. But warming bowls of porridge – made up of grains, spices and fresh ingredients – remain the calling card. My personal favourite? Almond-milk oats, butter, hazelnuts, cinnamon, coconut-palm sugar and apple (pictured, top). And the best part: it can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
26 Grains, 1 Neal’s Yard, London, WC2H 9DP
Photo: Chloë Ashby