Restaurant review: SPIS – hidden gem in Kasarmikatu

20 10 2019

Restaurant SPIS is small 18-seat Nordic restaurant in Kasarminkatu, Helsinki. SPIS serves pure Nordic food, therefore it is excellent place to dine, if want to get familiar with local dishes. Visited first time SPIS already in 2015 when it was selected as restaurant of the year. Since then it has been able to keep high standards when it comes to cuisine and service.

Enjoyed Short Tasting Menu because dinner started already at 17.30. Prices vary from 50-57€ depending on ingredients. Vegan menu is also available, which is not yet so typical for fine dining bistros. But this is quite natural for SPIS, as main ingredients used are vegetables.

 

First surprises were “crackers” in two forms, which started the dinner. Had already ordered glass of champagne, which had tiny bubbles and was refreshing.

First dishes were soup and sortiment of local veggies. Tasty and well prepared.

Then restaurant served scallop with cucumber, which paired perfectly with each other. Then it was time to melt food with sorbet.

Main dish was enough big to make you full and now the wine was red.

Two desserts finalized the dinner.

Restaurant is located in Kasarmikatu and when it is closed, it easy to bypass it without noticing.

Pairing wines can be also ordered with the price of 34€. For digestive ordered Helsinki Applejack  which is a spirit produced from the best Finnish apples. Today in Finland there are several distilleries producing famous gins, whiskies and other excellent spirits and The Helsinki Distilling Company is one of them.

SPIS is one of the best Nordic food restaurants in Helsinki. Food served is well prepared, creative and tasty. And I really appreciate that restaurant is willing to prepare all snacks between the dishes.

Service has always been one of the strengths of restaurant. Chef”s bring some of the dishes to tables, which makes the dining more intimate.

Can warmly recommend SPIS!

REVIEW: FOOD 5-/5 – SERVICE 4,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE 5-/5

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HELSINKI APPLEJACK

 

 





Restaurant review: SPIS

10 12 2016

Restaurant SPIS is small 18-seat Nordic restaurant in Kasarminkatu, Helsinki. It is open only in the evenings. Because restaurant is tiny and very popular, during weekens you have to choose to dine at 0530/06.00PM or 0830PM. From Tuesday to Thursday dining starts between 0600-0800PM without time limit. And then and at “night shift” you can order Long Tasting Menu with six courses. However, with snacks and greetings from kitchen, you get over 10 plates front of you.

Enjoyed Short Tasting Menu with 4 courses. Price varies from 50-57€ depending on ingredients. Vegan menu is also available, which is not yet so typical for fine dining bistros. But this is quite natural for SPIS, as main ingredients used are vegetables.

 

First surprise were crackers, which started the dinner. Had already ordered glass of champagne, bubbly and fresh.

Second snack were vegetable greetings from the kitchen, yellow root and spiced cucumber, so simple but always delicious.

And third snack was even more interesting and scrumptious, “spaghetti” with cloudberries. Creative way to combine ingredients, which you may not use together in your own kitchen.



After 3 apetizers kitchen brought first dish, starter, which name I do not unfortunately remember any more. First picture below tells more. As menu do not describe what it includes, post should be written quite soon after dining. Now it has gone three weeks.

Second dish was pike perch with two ways with onions. Pleasantly soft and tasty fish and sweet onions paired well with each other.

And third dish, second main course, was braised pork with fennel. Excellent mixture of salty meat and slightly sweet vegetable!



Before desserts we were served cup of cloudberry soup. This led perfectly to sweeter world of SPIS dishes.

First dessert was greetings from the kitchen, kind of apple crumble.

And fourth dish and actual dessert was cake, which melted in the mouth.

You can combine food with recommened wines with price of 36€, which we did. Because SPIS uses lot’s of vegetables and way of using spices is Nordic, also the wines are light.

With starter we were served sauvignon blanc, which unfortunately not, is my favourite wine.

For vegan version next two wines would have been orange wine, totally new experience, but after first glass changed it to stronger red wine from Italy, which was served with pork. Orange wine is produced from different white wine grapes, which have spent some maceration time in contact with the grape skins, giving the wine an orange color.

Must say that as a friend of full bodied red wines, would next time order a bottle of ripasso or something similar.

 

After asking for check, restaurant always serves final culinary pieces, some sweets on huge Lego brick

SPIS is one of the best Nordic food restaurants in Helsinki. Food served is well prepared, creative and tasty. And I really appreciate that restaurants goes through the trouble of preparing all snacks between the dishes.

Service has always been one of the strengths of restaurant. Chef”s bring some of the dishes to tables, which makes the dining more intimate. However, this time it was sort of difficult to hear what waitresses explained to us.

Some changes in wines and overall grade would have been 5-.

REVIEW: FOOD 5-/5 – SERVICE 4,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5

 

http://spis.fi/





SPIS – Restaurant of the Year 2015 in Finland!

10 02 2015
Snacks at Spis

Snacks at Spis

10th February 2015: The Finnish Gastronomic Society has nominated restaurant SPIS as the Restaurant of the Year 2015!
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“The tiny Helsinki based 18 seating restaurant is specialized on healthy Nordic cuisine. It stands out with the way its food is being prepared and how the chefs appraise the freshest Nordic ingredients. The menu of SPIS is based around vegetables, but they also offer at least one fish and meat entré.”
Sweets on Lego

Sweets on Lego

What a coincidence, we dined at SPIS last Saturday on 7th February not knowing of about this nomination. Congratulations to SPIS, it has earned the reward! Read our review Restaurant review: SPIS – genuine Nordic cuisine | Reijosfood.
Spis dining room

Spis dining room





Restaurant review: SPIS – genuine Nordic cuisine

8 02 2015

What is Nordic cuisine? It is delicious fresh food with lots of vegetables in different forms. Food is not ruined with strong spices and therefore the original flavor of food ingredients is the main thing.

Spis - reijosfood.com

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.

Interesting detail are walls, which seem to be under renovation, but they are not. Walls just reflect the simplification of the decor.

Dinner started again with snacks; several of them, which really differentiate Spis from many “gourmet” bistros in Helsinki. We had 4 dish menu but got about 10 plates to be enjoyed during the dinner.

First we were served small tasty toast. With champagne perfect finger food.

Champagne at Spis - reijosfood.com

After toast we were served root fireworks! From right potato, yellow root, horseradish and lastly striperoot. 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, if you can prepare them!

image

The came greetings from the kitchen, which was warm potato soup. Kitchen also prepared special edition of the greeting because of cream in the soup. Carrots in different forms were warmly welcomed surprise.

Potato soup at Spis - reijosfood.com

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And only now actual dinner started!

For starter kitchen served portion, which was called Cabbage and Mustard. Sounds simple but combination of brioche flavored with mustard paired with cabbage perfectly.

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First warm main course was salmon with root salad. Salmon was almost raw, but it was not at the same time. It had been cooked or steamed at 42C degrees, which made it soft. Spoon would have been enough to take care of it.

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Between main courses we got sorbets, nice way to clean the mouth and prepare stomach for meat.

Spis served for second warm main course Pressed lamb which had been first cooked for 3 days and then roasted. Below lamb was vorschmack and some beetroots. Heavenly experience, must say!

image

Intermediate dessert consisted of Västerbotten cheese sorbet and Blackcurrant sorbet, which did not include milk products. Västerbotten cheese is famous Swedish cheese, which suits well for main courses but suits in this case for dessert as well.

Although it is a question of 4 dish dinner, Spis serves two desserts.

image

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Sweet dessert consisted of cake, which melted in the mouth and ice-cream. More please!

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Dinner ended up with tea and espresso. But as you are able to taste Ålvados, which is calvados from Åland, you have to try it. And with dessert drinks still some sweets served on huge Lego block. Great way to end the dinner.

imageimage

Restaurant Spis earns full points for food. Service is professional; contents of portions were explained well and suggestions for wines were one of the most succesful so far.

With starter we were served white wine produced from chenin blanc grapes. With salmon wine menu included Chablis, of course made from chardonnay grapes by Chateau de Beru and with lamb red wine from cabernet franc grapes produced by small Italian winery marco sara.

imageimage

To summarize, the food is excellent and probably one the healthiest you can eat at the restaurants. Spis also takes care of food allergies with skill although there is only tasting menu’s available.

If you are looking for great Finnish/Nordic food experience, try Spis.

REVIEW: FOOD 5-/5 – SERVICE 4,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5

SPIS | Nordic restaurant





Guide Michelin: Bib Gourmand designated restaurants in Helsinki

14 03 2014

What is Bib Gourmand restaurant?

The Bib Gourmand designation denotes good cuisine at a reasonable price in a variety of comfort categories. Defined as “Inspectors’ Favorites for Good Value,” Bib Gourmand restaurants offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (tax and gratuity not included), and are often of most value to a city’s residents, who regularly dine in neighborhood restaurants” (source: Guide Michelin)

Restaurants with Bib Gourmand designation 2014 in Helsinki are:

Boulevard Social http://boulevardsocial.fi/en/ (NEW!)

Not visited

Farang https://reijosfood.com/?s=Farang

Farang - reijosfood.comFarang - reijosfood.com

Gaijin https://reijosfood.com/?s=Gaijin

Gaijin Mussels - reijosfood.comChicken at Gaijin - reijosfood.com

Emo https://reijosfood.com/?s=Emo (NEW!)

Halibut at Emo - reijosfood.comVendaces at Emo - reijosfood.com

PureBistro https://reijosfood.com/?s=PureBistro

PureBistro - reijosfood.comPureBistro - reijosfood.com

You can find reviews of these restaurants at reijosfood.com via links.

Amazing that first three restaurants are owned by same chef’s, Tomi Björk and Matti Wiberg. They have just opened 4th restaurant Bronda, which will be reviewed by Restaurant and Wine epicure (reijosfood) in April. Maybe next year it will be designated as Bib Gourmand restaurant?

Emo and PureBistro are partly owned by Michelin star restaurant chef’s; Emo is little sister for Olo and PureBistro for Luomo.

Grotesk and Solna lost their Bib Gourmand designations.

Conclusion: 

Would say that at least 3 of the designated restaurants have earned to be on the list; Emo, Farang and PureBistro. Now that Michelin Guide have chosen 3 “ethnic” kitchens, Yume could replace Gaijin. But as it is owned by Kämp Group not by chef’s, it might be obstacle. There are also some other restaurants which could be designated like Copas y Tapas, Meche or Spis, see reviews at reijosfood.com.





Restaurant reviews in Helsinki 2013 – breakthrough of “gourmet” bistros

10 01 2014

SPIS - reijosfood.comRestaurant Muru - reijosfood.com

Year 2013 ended up too soon. Did not have time to visit all those restaurants had planned. Anyway, breakthrough of “gourmet” bistros highlighted the year.

Bistros are relaxed, unformal dining spots with decent service and food.

In Helsinki, there has been established during couple of last years “gourmet” bistros, which compete with unique decoration, good service and well designed, delicious dishes. They also have short a la carte list and one or to menu alternatives. We could call some of these bistros restaurants, but part of them do not use that naming.

Example of “gourmet” food can be found from picture below which is taken at Spis. Whole portion consists of fresh vegetables but also of fish, which is uniquely prepared.

Salmon at Spies - reijosfood.com

As we were not able to visit all “gourmet” bistros in Helsinki, results were as follows:

1. Spis 13,50

2. Gastrobar Emo and Grotesk Winebar 13,25

3. Glogatan 4,  Meche and Muru 13,00

4. Farang  12,75

From these restaurants I would say Spis, Gastrobar Emo, Grotesk Winebar, Meche and Muru are so called “gourmet” bistros. Add also PureBistro which got 12,50 points and we can really call year 2013 “year of bistros”. 4 of the restaurants above have link to Michelin star restaurants, can you guess how?

Glogatan 4 is more restaurant than bistro and Farang serves asian gourmet kitchen, which you can not miss.

How Spis differs from other “gourmet” bistros? It serves greetings from kitchen between courses which others do not. That is one reason why it took the first place this year. It also has longer menus than others (full review at reijosfood.com)

Snacks - reijosfood.com

Why Grotesk Winebar succeeded although it is quite new? It serves rare delicacies which you do not get in other bistros. It also provides professional wine pairings with dishes (full review at reijosfood.com)

Quail - reijosfood.com

Why Gastrobar Emo earned 2nd place although it is one of the newest restaurants in Helsinki? It is partly owned by Pekka Terävä who owns Michelin star restaurant Olo. Olo might be the next 2 Michelin star restaurant as Chez Dominique closed down it’ doors.  (full review of Emo at reijosfood.com)

Halibut at Emo - reijosfood.com

Year 2012 results can be found from blog page Restaurant reviews – rankings.

Year 2014 will continue with review of “gourmet” bistro or tapas bar Goce which was opened in November 2013. We also might visit some of the most prestigious restaurants although “gourmet” bistros have modified restaurant field a lot.

Thanks for following my blog, commenting posts and liking at least some of them!





Restaurant review: SPIS – pure Nordic cuisine

1 12 2013

Spies - reijosfood.com

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.

Crisbread - reijosfood.comSnacks - reijosfood.com

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.

Vorschmack - reijosfood.com

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.

Starter at Spis - reijosfood.com

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.

Salmon at Spies - reijosfood.com

Between main courses we got apple sorbets, nice way to clean the mouth.

Sorbet  - reijosfood.com

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.

Lamb - reijosfood.com

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…

Sorbet - reijosfood.com

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.

Silver toffee - reijosfood.com

Gittasorbet - reijosfood.com?

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.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Ålvados - reijosfood.com

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!

Marimekko Unikko - reijosfood. com

http://spis.fi/

https://reijosfood.com/2012/08/10/restaurant-review-spis/








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