Ole & Steen Bakery, Victoria Nova: A slice of Danish in London

The fifth Ole & Steen Bakery to open in London since the brand made its UK debut a year ago is located on the doorstep of one of Britain’s busiest railway stations.

“What’s going on in Victoria is fantastic,” says Ole & Steen UK operations director Ally Gordon when British Baker visits the brand’s venue at the Victoria Nova food complex. “Victoria is the second-biggest rail hub in the country, there is so much going on around here.

“When the landlords approached us we were new to the UK and we had a good look at the scheme. We want to be in places that are going to grow. Everything is here for us.”

Ole & Steen is part of the Lagkagehuset bakery business, which was founded by Ole Kristoffersen and Steen Skallbaek and has more than 50 sites in its native Denmark.

Further sites are set to open on London’s Wigmore Street and High Street Kensington at the start of this year, while Ole & Steen’s first location outside the capital will open in Oxford in March.

Gordon says expansion into the UK was fuelled by a desire to champion unique products from the Danish range, products that he says consumers have fallen in love with. “The Cinnamon Social, essentially a Danish pastry with custard, cinnamon and vanilla icing, is our best-seller by a very long way. We sell this by the piece and by the plank. It has been so popular that we’ve developed our own box for customers to take away with them.”

While the Social is typically baked in-store, some of the brand’s breads and ryes are produced at the company’s bakery in Park Royal. “The beauty of that is that we have flown all our best bakers over from Denmark, who now live in the UK,” adds Gordon. “One of the bakers brought over the sourdough starter in his suitcase, which is used in all of our breads.”

The bakery’s equipment includes a stone oven, a prover and a rotating oven. 

“Lots of people expect us to have sophisticated equipment, but everything is made by hand and we believe in old-fashioned ways of doing things,” says Gordon. “We leave our prep rooms exposed to let people see what we are doing.”

The fixtures and fittings were designed by Karen Gert Simonsen who works for Danish interior design firm Space Copenhagen. “It is a very simple Danish design; there are not lots of pictures around, or clutter. We let the products do the talking.”

Ole & Steen Bakery, Victoria, London

Who: Ally Gordon, UK operations director of Ole & Steen Bakery. He has been with the company since July 2015 and helped set up all five sites in the UK. He has previously undertaken director roles with Jamie’s Italian restaurant chain.

What: The launch of Ole & Steen’s fifth site at the Nova complex in Victoria, London. The 4,000sq ft site serves Danish pastries, sandwiches and cakes.

Where: Nova South, 1 Sir Simon Milton Square, London, SW1E 5DJ.

When: The bakery opened for business in October 2017.

Why: “Victoria is the second-biggest rail hub in the country, everything is here for us. We want to be in places that are going to grow and we want to grow with them.”

Location: “We’ve had a fantastic welcome and I believe our sites have their own personality. What’s going on in Victoria is fantastic.”

Online ordering: “We have made it super simple. You can pick up or, if you are within a five-minute radius of the bakery, we can deliver.”

Seating: “We’ve gone with lots of neutral colours and put in comfortable seats as we want to create a relaxed atmosphere. We don’t want to be hectic for our customers.”

Ticket machine: “We’ve got a ticket machine, which is a bit unusual in the UK, where you get a ticket when you come in, meaning you can take your time.”

Prep rooms: “We purposefully leave our prep rooms exposed to let people see what we are doing. We let the products do the talking.”

Cinnamon Social: "We are the only bakery in the UK to make the Socials. We’ve developed our own box for customers to take away with them.”

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