|Image credit: Boulevard Social.|
I’m not normally a foodie. I don’t often blog about restaurants and rarely photograph my dinner apart from the odd Instragrammed cocktail. When writing about our Helsinki holiday, however, I’m going to make an exception – apart from the photography: I still feel uncomfortable snapping my supper.
The restaurant scene in Helsinki was a revelation. I worried it might be all rolled herring and meatballs. I was wrong. Inspiration came from all corners of the globe. And the fact that all evening meals were taken within spitting distance of our hotel is another reason to heartily recommend the Klaus K as the place to stay.
The quality and dining experience was so good in the city, it certainly warrants its own blog post so, without further ado, I shall try and whet your appetite. If you really need a photo, have a look at the one above from Boulevard Social’s website: that’ll do nicely…
It describes itself as an ‘urban living room where you can eat, drink and hang out’. Its proximity to the Klaus K is quite remarkable: it can be accessed through a door from the hotel reception or you can walk round the corner and enter the traditional way.
A bar and restaurant, the place was buzzing on the Saturday we arrived with people drinking cocktails at the bar and lots of groups of friends sharing meals. Sharing was the key here and elsewhere on during our stay: food to be tasted and swapped and dipped into.
The inspiration is Peruvian with the ‘nikkei’ tradition mixing it with East Asia and a dollop of Spain.
What did we eat?
We drank mohitos but I should have tried the pisco-based cocktails for a more authentic Peruvian experience. If we had managed a pud, I would have chosen a ginger and lime brûlée or maybe the roasted white chocolate mousse with caramelised banana and toffee ice-cream.
The tables are quite close together but otherwise this was a superb dining extravaganza as we chose the Sunday special tasting menu which was accompanied by sake and three matching wines. Looking at the menu, I had no idea what much of this would taste like but it was extraordinarily good. In fact, I would go as far to say this was one of the best meals I have ever had.What did we eat?
Another Björck and Wikberg offering, next door although the same address as Gaijin. This time the flavours are from Greece, Lebanon, Tunisia and Morocco. A warm, bistro-style room with an emphasis again on sharing and socialising.
What did we eat?
To accompany the meal we had some wonderful Lebanese wine and a couple of cocktails:
Moroccan Flower Power – Absolut vodka, Aperol, grapefruit, elderflower and lemon
Burned Orange Sour – whisky, caramelised orange and lemon
We declined a dessert (what were we thinking?) I’m sure, with some belt loosening, I could have made room for a strawberry and pistachio baklava.
On our final evening, after experiencing another night of great food and warm, friendly service, we tipped the waitress and she brought back our change. We waved the saucer away, thanking her again for her hospitality. She seemed quite astonished and then whispered, “Thank you so much, You see, we don’t have a tipping culture in Finland.”
Having gamely tipped throughout the weekend, Dougie muttered ‘Now you tell me!” and I realised that, despite all my pre-holiday planning, I hadn’t picked up that little nugget of travel advice. I’m sure the staff of these fabulous restaurants are quite delighted about that.