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Concept to Watch: Finland

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Social Eating, Mediterranean Style
Next to the boutique Hotel Klaus K in central Helsinki is Boulevard Social, a chic yet relaxed and easy-going bistro style restaurant. Boulevard Social was opened in the spring of 2012 and has become a popular spot for the Helsinki city crowd. The chef duo Tomi Björck and Matti Wikberg is well known in Helsinki for running two modern Asian restaurants – Gaijin (North Asian) and Farang (Southeast Asian). Their third restaurant concept, Boulevard Social, focuses on Mediterranean food. The menu is a combination of flavours from Greece, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco and other Mediterranean countries. Dishes are small and it is designed for sharing. Tables are close to each other, further inspiring the guests to a social meal. There are two set menus: Social Tasting Menu (€64) and Menu Boulevard (€59) each consisting of 7-8 dishes. Examples of small dishes are Prawn Cocktail Marocco, Mini Lamb Burger, Fried Squid with Lemon Aioli, Tanquer Style Salmon Cevice, Javiers Foi Paté and Pork Belly Golden Spices. Boulevard Social is renowned for serving good cocktails to be enjoyed in the bar or on the outside terrace. www.boulevardsocial.fi
All Nordic Theme in Mini Sized Restaurant
Nordic flavours and ingredients are in focus at the mini sized restaurant Spis in Helsinki. Restaurateurs Jani Kinanen and Jaakko Kinnunen run this restaurant devoted to using ingredients from the Nordic region. The Nordic theme is also mirrored in the interior design. The word Spis has a food related meaning in all Nordic languages, for example it means ‘eat’ in Danish and in Sweden, ‘smaklig spis’ means ‘bon appetit’. The compact menu – two starters, three main courses, two desserts – showcases simple regional ingredients in complex dishes. To a large extent, the food is based on regionally grown vegetables. In summer months, the vegetables are fresh and during the colder season they use more root vegetables and preserved vegetables. A three course meal ranges from €41-50 per person, excluding beverages. The drink menu includes Nordic beers from micro-breweries and a selection of artisan wines. The food menu is seasonal and changes 10 times a year and the same applies to the wine list. The presentation of the food in Spis is very important and great effort is made to match a new dish with the ideal plate, which often requires a new plate to be brought in. Sometimes the owners are involved in the actual design of the new plates and tableware. Keeping the operations small scale is part of the concept. A maximum of 18 guests at a time allow the restaurateurs to truly focus on delivering an experience to each guest. www.spis.fi
Premium Pizza in Casual Atmosphere

is one of Finland’s most famous chefs and food visionaries. He is the creative initiative taker of numerous projects combining food, design and culture, for example the pop up restaurant Hel Yes! serving Finnish cuisine and design at the and later on in Stockholm. In the heart of his Helsinki, he opened Putte’s Bar & Pizza in 2011. This was his third restaurant in Helsinki; the other two are Kuurna and Ateljé Finne. Putte’s Pizza & Bar serves premium thin crust pizzas, Italian style. The pizza menu is quite compact and changes with the seasons – a clear contrast to the common pizzerias’ long lists of choices – currently including Margherita, Putte di Mare, Salami, Funghi and Quattro Formaggi plus one daily special. Prices range from €10-16; prices are lower for lunch specials. Pizzas are complemented with salads, soups during lunch, desserts and a full assortment of beverages including beers, cocktails and a selection of Italian and American wines. The atmosphere and service is casual and relaxed, the interior is modern and minimalistic with lots of art and photography. Below the restaurant is The Cellar – a lively bar and club with DJs playing music every night, attracting the party crowd until early morning. Capacity is 80 persons upstairs and 60 downstairs. www.puttes.fi