When I was a kid growing up in Helsinki, going out to restaurants was something of a special occasion. There was nothing very innovative at that time. Or maybe there was, but most of the places I remember (stood outside the window drooling in) were finer with white table cloths, smooth lighting and nicely dressed staff. Food was traditional: pepper steak or salmon fillet with creamy mashed potatoes and some cooked greens. Kuu (the Moon in finnish) is one of these places. A finer neighborhood restaurant focusing on traditional Nordic dishes and produce. Its still there in the same corner I remember. Last week, my childhood friend and sommelier, Iisa, invited me to visit, as she was working there for the night.
Kuu is not the place to go to experience new, innovative or cutting-edge cuisine but they do offer very well prepared food. Looking at other reviews, the food seems to continuosuly get praise for being perfectly prepared. Service is also very nice and flexible. For example, M didn’t find anything on the menu that he liked among the starters, so they very nicely offered to make the beetroot and blue cheese risotto from the mains into a starter sized dish. I opted for the goat cheese salad with almond vinegarette. We were almost equally pleased with the food but I would say that the risotto probably was a bit sharper. From the mains we enjoyed the lovely reindeer as well as the garlicky lamb. Both dishes perfectly executed. Actually we were too full for dessert but still managed to share the vanilla ice cream with berries – simple but good.
And now for the part that interests most of the follower of this blog, the wines. We started the meal with a glass of Pierre Gimonnet 2006 Cuvée Fleuron. I really like the toasty style of the house, and I must say their newer vintages have been very drinkable already now. I have previously sampled the 2008 and that also seems to be peaking early. Staff impressed with fantastic wine pairings. Ok, I am complementing a friend, but so what, she is a great sommelier. I had some Sancerre (Sauvignon Blanc) with my goats cheese salad and M went completely rogue by going for a lightly oaked Chardonnay from Jura. If you ask M, he is a bit of an ABC-person (Antyhign But Chardonnay), but the wine and the pairing with the beetroot risotto was excellent. We are starting to think that his complicated relationship with Chardonnay is due to drinking only poor Chardonnay in the past. I think he was already googling where to find a bottle in Sweden. With the mains we tried out a Rioja and a new (for us) interesting grape variety from Italy, Magliocco. As with the starters, the pairings were excellent. The wine list by the glass is not huge but carefully selected, so I suggest to check how the kitchen has thought about the matching.
All in all a great place and what fun to take a stroll down memory lane. There is a good reason Kuu is older than I am and I find it great that they continue true to their roots. What I may say is that to be a neighborhood restaurant it may be a bit on the pricey side to come every week, but for the quality its worth the small investment.