At the beginning of the new millenium Helsinki was celebrating its 450th birthday, and was also the European Capital of Culture. To mark this special year the city initiated a project called the HelsinkiMenu, with the aims of increasing global awareness of Finnish cuisine, introducing the world to the high quality of locally sourced ingredients, and to highlight the expertise of Helsinki’s chefs. The project was an unqualified success, so much so that it lead to the creation of the ‘Taste of Finland‘ brand which has sought to emulate that success by introducing the concept to 10 other towns and cities, and has also created a provincial version in four provinces.
The HelsinkiMenu is offered by 16 very different restaurants in the city, with each one creating a distinctive menu that highlights their own particular speciality. Typically, the menu will have either one or two starters, a main course, and a dessert, with the restaurant’s resident wine expert giving wine recommendations for each course.
The HelsinkiMenu may feature fish from the thousand lakes, berries, mushrooms and game from the forests as well as special produce from small farms. In essence, the idea is to provide diners with a chance to experience the tastes and flavours from throughout Finland in one city.
Examples of main courses currently offered are:
- Reindeer noisettes with a chanterelle sauce and rosemary potatoes
- Braised neck of lamb with Café de Paris butter
- Pan-fried perch, spring vegetables and browned butter
- Slow-braised entrecôte of veal, potato tartlet and port wine sauce
- Grilled reindeer fawn with smoked bacon sauce and root vegetable-potato dumplings
- Herb gratinated fillet of organic lamb with goat cheese flavoured cauliflower purée
- Pork ribs with pork rillette and onion vinaigrette
- Pike in a muré sauce, with new potatoes and shrimp sauce
- Tender braised goose breast with rowanberries
Fly Inn Restaurant Deli – Helsinki Airport
Hotel Arthur – Vuorikatu 19
Ravintola Baker’s – Mannerheimintie 12
Ravintola Carelia – Mannerheimintie 56
Ravintola Graniittilinna – Säästöpankinranta 6
Ravintola Grotesk – Ludviginkatu 10
Ravintola Havis – Etelärantaa 16
Ravintola Kellarikrouvi & Fabian – Pohjoinen Makasiinikatu 6
Ravintola Kuu – Töölönkatu 27
Ravintola KuuKuu – Restaurant KuuKuu
Ravintola Lasipalatsi – Mannerheimintie 22 – 24
Ravintola Macu – Mannerheimintie 50
Ravintola Nokka – Kanavaranta 7
Ravintola Seurasaari – Seurasaari (open 1.5.-30.9.)
Ravintola Sundmans Krog – Eteläranta 16
Ravintola Suomenlinnan Panimo – Suomenlinna c 1
You’ll find full details of all the HelsinkiMenu restaurants, and indeed all the other participating restaurants throughout Finland at the Taste of Finland site.