This blog post was updated on October 30, 2018.
London probably isn’t the first place that springs to mind when you think about traditional Norwegian-style smoked salmon, but entrepreneur Ole Martin Hansen, proprietor of Hansen & Lydersen, is hoping that the salmon passing through his small smokehouse in the north London area of Stoke Newington tastes so irresistible that it’ll be on the tip of your tongue next time you think about having some quality smoked salmon.
Indeed, Ole’s neighbourhood of Stoke Newington is these days more known for its “Stokie” cross section of hipsters and “yummy mummies” along with its low key but fashionable restaurants than it is for the area’s fish products (however delicious they may be).
Some of Stoke Newington’s trendsetting restaurants serve Ole’s salmon. Beyond the local dining scene, a number of celebrated London restaurants – including a few Michelin starred sensations such as Viajante, especially popular establishments like the Albion, and top sushi bars along the lines of Sake No Hana – also receive their salmon hand delivered from Ole. You can see a list of some of the restaurants serving Hansen & Lydersen smoked salmon at the Hansen & Lydersen website.
It’s not just restaurants though. Most Hansen & Lydersen customers, be they in London or across the globe, are just members of the public who know a quality artisan creation when they see – or in this case taste – one. Home delivery service via internet or phone works on an on demand basis, with sides of salmon made to order.
So what makes Hansen & Lydersen’s fish so special? Smoking a salmon seems to be a pretty simple process of just a few basic steps. However smoking high quality salmon that’s to die for takes years of experience and a nuanced, almost innate, understanding of the traditions behind the process.
Norwegian born Hansen has been running his London smokehouse for only a few years. However, the method yielding such delicately textured and flavoured product is that of his grandfather, Lyder-Nilsen Lydersen, and dates back almost a century to the early 1920s. Hansen & Lydersen salmon never sits in plastic and it’s not pumped with chemicals or dyes to extend the shelf life. It is smoked within 48 hours of being alive and is smoked using an old family mix of beech and juniper before being hand wrapped in paper. And if the salmon’s destination is in London, there’s a very good chance your smoked salmon will be hand delivered fresh out of the kiln by Ole, who smoked it himself just like his grandfather taught him how.
Image Credit: Chris Osburn (Author)