I think it has finally happened: my home for 30 years, Helsinki, has become somewhat of a stranger to me. I just realized it when browsing all the new restaurants have popped up this year. The city is changing, and I am not keeping up with that change. Perhaps I have become a bit of a Swede, thinking that Stockholm is the place for foodies. However, Helsinki seems to be giving Stockholm a run for its money. As I am still editing my Midsummer pictures, I thought I would instead share some of the new places I have listed as must-visits for the fall (many restaurants in Helsinki close for the summer). I have not tried them yet, but I will. If you have some experiences, please share! Baskeri & Basso, or BasBas, is one of the hottest bistros in town. It is a bit false to say that it is new, as it has been operating already for a year. However, it is still pulling people like it opened yesterday. It is really hard getting a table there on a weekend. They only open up for reservations like one month before, so there is always a rush of people waiting to book. For me, the most intriguing factor here is the natural wine selection. The list features bottles from large and known producers to super small family wineries. I am just aching to go and visit there.
Restaurant OX reminds me a lot of the trend that is going on in Stockholm. Or perhaps what was going on in Stockholm a few years ago: casual, semi-fine dining, focusing on good ingredients and small wineries. The words artisan and hand made are used to an extent that makes me a bit nauseous. However I will tame myself from being judgmental before I have tried it out. The owners of the restaurant are the same that are behind one of my favorite wine bars, VinVin. So OX is definitely going on my to-do list for the fall when we come to Helsinki again. I actually just made a reservation.
Konepaja Bruno is a new music venue, creative space and flea market in Kallio. It is just screaming the word hipster in every aspect. Food-wise it is a good place to go for some street gastro as food trucks congregate there over the summer. The venue has been built in an old machine factory, so it is light and spacious – a prime product of brooklynization. A must try, even if I am slightly allergic to this kid of places. If the food is good, I can ignore everything else.
The old docks at Katajanokka are starting to fill up with new bars and restaurants. Finally I say, as the location is right next to the center, and the old red brick buildings make fabulous spaces for shops and cafes. Not to mention that the terraces there are facing the evening sun. Holiday and Bar Chaperon Rouge are the new kids on the block.
Holiday Bar is a fun and colorful restaurant right next to the docks. Looking at the pictures it looks like something out of the carribean. Mmmm.. with the weather being hot and sunny right now, I am definitely in the mood for it. Looking at the wine list, I can immediately see a few interesting sparklers: a Cremant de Limoux (7€/glass) and Champagne Andre Clouet (12€/glass). That is a great start! The wine list continues with some interesting whites: Albarinho from Rias Baixas, Loire Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling from Mosel. Prices range from ~40 to 70€ a bottle (7€-8€ a glass). The list of reds is quite boring with some merlot and shiraz, but then there is a separate section for natural wines that catches my eye. The food-menu looks, unfortunately, very fishy. So this is not a place for dinner with M. However, I am looking forward to popping by for a glass or two of wine.
Le Petit Chaperon Rouge is a wine bar with a warm heart. It is named after the owners little dog, who occasionally also hangs around at the bar. I must admit, that when I started writing this post, I had not yet visited. But an opportunity presented itself to have a loo yesterday. So we went for an evening stroll and glass of wine on the terrace. The list by the glass was ok. Ambitious with four sparklings, but nothing out of the ordinary with five whites and five reds. I think there was a few different rosés as well. The staff strangely did not seem to know that much about wine. Or at least it seemed that we knew more. Perhaps it was the B-team working over Midsummer. So I am not yet convinced that Chaperon Rouge will become a normal hangout. I still find VinVin and Latva Bar significantly better for winelovers. But Chaperon Rouge is located right next to the Johan and Nyström concept store, so I am sure we will visit again. At least on warm summer evenings when the terrace gets a lot of sun.
There you go, some tips for new places with wine in Helsinki. No guarantees on the quality as I have not visited them myself yet, but I will. And perhaps these serve as good tips for those who want to try out something new.