Ole & Steen is a Danish bakery chain with a couple of branches in London, and I went there earlier today to… catch up with a friend over some coffee. The brownie was just a happy coincidence.
Ok, so that’s not the whole truth. For sure, I made the plans to hang out with my friend, and am glad I did, and that was unrelated to the brownie selection. When we’d settled on Ole & Steen I may have looked up the menu online and uttered the phrase “Three brownie options! My cup runneth over!” But that’s all, I swear. Largely just a convenient coincidence.
I have been to Denmark exactly once (not counting transit) and my major memory of Copenhagen (which is where I went, in case it wasn’t clear from context) is that everything was delicious but really very expensive. Ole & Steen maintains that deliciousness but brings the cost down to London prices, and how often is that considered better value? Their coffee is pretty good and I’ve enjoyed their sandwiches before, but somehow I don’t think I’ve had the chance to try any of their cakes!
There were three possibilities: chocolate, walnut, or a pack of “brownie bites” which I think are also walnut. As you may be able to tell from the picture, I went for walnut (another great nut to have with chocolate).
Fun-ish anecdote: my friend and I arrived at roughly the same time. I had to potter around for a minute to find a place to park my bike. By the time I got into the lagkagehuset, my friend had ordered his tea and a brownie of his own and was sitting down upstairs. By the time I got upstairs, he had inhaled the brownie. It was apparently just that good.
Will I agree?
Taste: Ok. This might be it. This might be the one. I bit into this and experienced what can only be described as an intense rush of pleasure. It is perfectly sweet, not sickly. It’s chocolatey without the chocolate overpowering anything. There’s even a hint of the walnut taste binding it all together. I’m gonna do it. I’m giving this 10/10
Texture: We’re continuing the tour de force. Sometimes I can bite into a brownie and immediately know what end of the texture scale it’s gonna end up on, and I knew that this one was perfect brownie texture. It’s soft, melt-in-the-mouth, superbly moist, neither dry not too chewy. The walnuts add just the right amount of solid texture to each bite. The most impressive thing for me? You can see that this is an edge piece, but there’s no discernible change in that perfect base. 10/10
Presentation: It has that great cross-section that I look for, but even enamoured of this brownie as I am, I have to admit it doesn’t look special. Some walnut pieces on top of a perfectly fine brownie. 3/5
Value: Arguably, if I compared this to the average cost of Danish brownies it should get a strong full marks, but that’d be taking the mick a bit. This was £2.90, but for that I got to eat in Ole & Steen’s very pleasant setting and enjoy a delicious coffee alongside it. Given the previously discussed VAT rules around eating brownies indoors as opposed to outdoors, I suspect it is technically more-or-less the same price as the best value food market brownies, and so I think it should comparably get 8/10
Fudge Factor: The friend who I met at Ole & Steen obviously reads this blog occasionally, and bluntly describes this section as “the some bullshit section”. Maybe he’s right. But he thought that Ole & Steen’s brownies were so good that he couldn’t stop eating it once he started. He wasn’t wrong either. This brownie is a top brownie, and once again I intend to reward the fact that I went in expecting nothing and ended up with something incredible. 5/5
Overall Total: 36
Should I Buy And Eat This Brownie?
I like Ole & Steen a lot: it’s not exactly a hidden gem, but it does cater to a lot of the things I like in life: good coffee, delicious brownies, Scandic bread/cheese/meat combinations. A selfish man would try to keep it on the down-low so that it doesn’t become too popular and too busy to visit. But I’m not that selfish. This takes the crown (as of writing) for Best Brownie, and you should go and enjoy it as soon as you can. Especially if you’re in Denmark, where I hope it’s as good!
It is an exciting time in my life: not only am I about to change projects and spend most of the week working in Leicester, but I’ve found out today I will be moving house in the next three months!