Pastis is an anis-flavored liqueur and aperitif from France, but it is also French style “fine dining” bistro in Helsinki.
Pastis was opened in April 2013 by restaurant Muru celebrity chef owners. Similar concept but focus in French kitchen. Always available a la carte dishes in changing list are mussels, snails, sausages, fish and meat from France. On Fridays and Saturdays you can also enjoy fresh oysters for 5€ each or 12€, if you take 3.
Tables are located on two levels in small dining rooms but you could also try to pop in for a look if there is room by the bar counter. Reservations are for 2 1/2 hours which is just enough to eat three couse dinner. This is nowadays typical custome for popular “gourmet” bistros.
Started the dinner with Pastis, of course, Ricard. First hesitated a little bit to order ice cold aperitif, because if was freezing outside, around -13C degrees.
For starters we ordered Roquefort gratinated Bourgogne snails in pastis butter and Smoked mackerel, cucumber and fennel salad, marinated red onion.
Usually you get snails in snail pan where all snails are in small cups but Pastis served them in small open pan. Taste of Roquefort was perfect because if it would had dominated, starter would have been to salty. Mackarel was served with toast instead of brioche, as we asked it too be without lactose.
For main courses ordered only available fish portion Catch of the day Antiboise. Fish, “Cliff sole” was accompanied by tomato-based sauce/stew and by one of the 3 side dishes, Mixed salad with sherry vinegar, which had to be ordered separately. Also ordered large portion of Mussels á la Pastis with curry and Truffle salted french fries for side dish.
Fish was fried in oil and the level of maturity was perfect. It was a pity that it was over-salted. Mussels were smaller than you usually see, which was good as the big ones are chewy. About 10 had already came loose from the shells. Salt in fish and mussels under the broth were minor grievances, but took one quarter point out of the Food scores.
Dinner had to be ended with Calvados Domfrontains which is mix of apple and at least 30% pear. Had only tasted apple Calvados earlier and noticed that pear makes the flavor softer. Also ordered one House chocolate, which was truffle.
Restaurant or bistro Pastis is refreshing piece of French kitchen in Helsinki. Concept, which might by expanded to another locations, is French from decor to music. Chansons sang by Edith Piaf and check in a nice tin were the frosting for the French dinner.
Wines come mainly from France, of course, but it would be convenient to list also those which are available in glasses. Asked recommendations for wines for dishes ordered. Pinot Noir for snails was good choice but white wine for salty macarel not so felicitous. Riesling Vignoble d’E, Domaine Ostertag from Alsace for both main courses was excellent choice.
Extra + for overall grade comes from the well planned and implemented French concept.
REVIEW: FOOD 4-/5 – SERVICE 4/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4+/5