Monday, February 18, 2013

Chef & Sommelier - A little culinary gem in Helsinki


The restaurant itself is located in a very intimate house in the Eira district of Helsinki and seats about 20-25.  It is nicely decorated and comfortable on the inside.
The customer service is outstanding, the Sommelier Johan is full of knowledge and ready to please while Sasu, the main Chef, is energetic and excited to spread knowledge of all his organic specialties. He will actually come out from the kitchen and explain all the dishes (where he picked the herbs, who caught the fish, etc.)  This restaurant blew my mind from my previous expectations of Finnish restaurants.  They have service nailed.  Having coming from a culinary mecca such as the San Francisco Bay Area, my expectations are usually pretty high and this place delivers the goods.  I haven’t even mentioned the food, which is also outstanding.

chef-sommelier-ctThey have a fixed price menu which is currently priced reasonably for a restaurant of this caliber.  They let you pick from 3 to 7 dishes depending on what you feel like, you can pick anything on their seasonal menu which changes 4 times a year.  Everything is fresh and organic and made with care.  I haven’t really had a dish I did not  like there.  Their wine menu, while priced a bit high, did have some nice selections from all over Europe.  I think it would be nice however, if they tossed in some California or Oregon wines to mix it up a bit.  I really look forward to every visit here which is more of a dining experience than just a dinner out.
Every time we have eaten here, we spent 2.5 – 3 hours which is quite nice if you like really taking time to savor the dishes and enjoy the surroundings.  So, if you are a local Finn, expat like myself, or tourist coming to visit Helsinki, please make a visit to this wonderful little restaurant.  You will not be disappointed.  For weekend reservations, I would recommend calling them at least 1-2 months in advance.

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