The Era of the Neighborhood Bistro

Someone just mentioned the other day, that most restaurants that pop up these days are the same: cozy and simple with a focus on local produce and/or vegetables. It’s the era of the neighborhood bistro. Small cafes and tobacco-shops are converted into trendy cafes and wine bars with specialty coffee, organic wines and brunch. The answer to my friend’s comment was that I actually don’t mind – this is the type of restaurant I prefer (as long as they do what they do well). Sidney’s is a perfect example of a place I would really love to have around the corner from where we live: fresh menu complemented with a good list of wines, both classic and nature, with a green footprint.

Sidney’s is in Vallila, a district in Helsinki that is fairly trendy, but a bit off from the hot spots of gentrification. It is on the edge of an area called “wood-Vallila”, a small villa area right in the middle of the concrete jungle. For a while there, one could think one is in a small town in the countryside. Wood-Vallila has beautiful pastel colored wooden houses with white picket fences and green gardens. And now they have Sidney’s, which fits perfectly with the neighborhood vibe.

We came visiting last Sunday around brunch time. The space is fresh and colorful: blue walls, pink tables and some nice vintage details. I can just imagine how cozy it is in the winter. It’s summer now and hot outside, so the small sidewalk terrace was packed, and it was empty inside. We could pick whichever table we wanted.

Our visit started off with a glass of bubbly from Emilia, Italy, and a fresh white wine from Thessaloniki, Greece. There was another bubbly by the glass, but it was a Prosecco (I stay away from Proseccos), and a fantastic Champagne, Georges Laval, but it was only by the bottle. The bubbly from Emilia was a nature wine and a bit heavy for the weather, but the Kamara Pure Nimbus from Greece was perfect, a real gem and awesome for when it’s hot.

We also sampled the other wines on the list: Menade Nosso Verdejo, Giol Rosato Vespa (rose wine) and Giol Pinot Grigio. All were good choices for by the glass wines. The Giols were very easy drinking, suitable for anyone, even the rookies when it comes to wine in general and nature wine in specific, and the Verdojo and the already mentioned Kamara Nimbus a bit more complex and great for those who are slightly more wine interested. Especially the Kamara was wonderful with food. It was a bit too hot for red wines, but we sampled all the open bottles nevertheless. And it was worth it, as the Foradori Lezer (100% Teroldego from Italy) was superb. This is an interesting wine actually, made in an odd, uterus-shaped amphorae (panciuta). In addition, there are three to four more reds and whites by the bottle. Prices ranged from 7 to 13 € a glass and the most expensive bottle was the Champagne at 125€ (not too bad for a Laval).

Looking at the wine-list overall, I would say it’s more interesting than average; worth making the trip from the center of Helsinki to Vallila. All wines served at Sidney’s are either organic, biodynamic or nature wines; and they also include wines from smaller wine areas and countries, like Greece and Serbia. The wines are imported by one of the owners of the place, who is also behind superb wine bar and bistro, Wino.

The food at Sidney’s is simple bistro fare. It was Sunday day time, so we went for the brunch with grilled sandwiches (Croque Monsieur and mushroom), summer vegetable salad, potatoes and poached egg. The list had some other interesting dishes, like the mussels in white wine sauce, but we had been out the previous evening, so we felt like some proper comfort food. 20€ for the brunch is not the cheapest in town, but for it you do get something really fresh, tasty and well prepared so it’s definitely worth the money.

Sidney’s also has some beers and simple cocktails on the list. They serve Helsinki Distillery Dry Gin (which is awesome), Aperol spritz and Negronis. The beer that I found most interesting was the Ice Beaver Ales from Estonia.

All in all, Sidney’s is a perfect combination of tasty food, interesting wines and a friendly atmosphere. And not to mention very reasonable prices. If I would like around the corner, you could probably find me quite often sitting at the bar. The only thing missing is a good coffee, but maybe that will come. They have the Helsinki Coffee Roastery just around the corner.

A big thank you to Sidney’s for inviting us. And thank you to our hand-model who was friendly, knowledgeable and posed patiently for all my pictures.

Address: Suvannontie 18, 00510 Helsinki

xx Soile

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Welcome to Sidney’s
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Cozy sofas and bright colored tables
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The bar
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Fun details in the deco
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Welcome drinks: Italian sparkling wines
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Brunch plate with grilled mushroom sandwich, summer salad and poached egg
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Light rose from Italy
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Light Italian Teroldego was one of our favorites

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