What is Nordic cuisine? It is delicious fresh food with lots of vegetables, good service, pleasant athmosphere and Nordic/Finnish background music!
Restaurant Spis is cozy 18-seat Nordic, maybe the smallest fine dining restaurant in Helsinki. It is open only in the evenings from Tuesday to Saturday. Because of the size and popularity, you have to choose to dine early at 0530PM/0600PM or to eat at later table setting at 0830PM. Spis serves two tasting menus, there is no separate a la carte list available.
Visited first time Spis over a year ago and experience was impressive. Restaurant got 13,25 points which is as good achievement as this years leaders have been able to get. Or maybe we have been more picky this year?
Dinner started with snacks; several of them which differentiate Spis from many bistros in Helsinki.
First we were served crispbread with sauerkraut mayonnaise. After crispbread we were served root fireworks! You started from right with potato, carrot, striperoot and ended up to turnip. Not sure if striperoot is right translation for raitajuuri, but it is like beetroot. Each Finnish delicacy, which were eaten with fingers, included right seasoning or herb. Forget potato chips and peanuts, offer this type of snacks also at home.
Greeting from kitchen, which was brought to the table by one of the chef’s, was vorschmack with sour cream. Good example of Finnish traditional food but prepared totally different way than usually. Minced meat was not so salty and greasy as it usually is and taste of anchovis was in balance.
For starter we got vitamin bomb which included beetroot and yellowroot. As snacks alread included one relative root you really have chance to try many Finnish fresh and good tasting roots.
First warm main course was salmon with dried carrots and carrot spaghetti. Salmon was almost raw but it was not at the same time. Probably it had been steamed as it was so soft but there was no frying or roasting marks. Carrots had been first dried for 6 hours and then boiled. Prepared that way sweetness of carrots came to prominence and complimented salty (not too much) salmon well.
Between main courses we got apple sorbets, nice way to clean the mouth.
Spis served for second warm main course lamb ribs with potatoes. Best part of this portion was French red wine which paired perfectly with lamb. Unfortunately meat was too greasy for us and potatoes reminded too much of those you can get from frozen food lockers. But the sauce was scrumptious and it saved a lot.
Intermediate dessert consisted of pear cake and meringue. Auts, it was so yammy you could have continued eating for ever. But as you might guess, portions are not so big…
Actual dessert was silver toffee ice-cream which made you hesitate thought you had when eating previous dessert. This one you could continue to eat forever…. Silver toffee (hopeatoffee) used to be favourite candy in the childhood and now you can again get it from the supermarkets, excellent! Using silver toffee in dessert is big proof that you are eating in a genuine Nordic/Finnish restaurant as this type of toffee is available only in Finland.
Spis also takes care of food allergies, therefore one dessert was sorbet.
Dinner ended up with tea and espresso. But as you are able to taste Ålvados which is calvados from Åland you have to do it. Take a look at the bottle, there is glass apple inside. And with dessert drinks still some sweets. Great way to end the dinner.
Restaurant Spis would have earned 5- for food if the lamb would not have been so greasy (most people would have liked it that way). Service was professional; contents of portions were explained well and suggestions for wines were one of the most succesful so far.
The food itself is excellent and probably one the healthiest you can eat at the restaurants. Background music was mainly new Finnish and Swedish sounds which is also quite unique.
REVIEW: FOOD 4,5/5 – SERVICE 4,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5
And last but not least, take a look at Marimekko Unikko towels in the restroom! If we are not in THE Nordic restaurant, then where? SPIS is now new leader with 13,50 points!