The popular new wave of Scandinavian cuisine may have hit the shores of Finland comparatively recently, but with restaurants like Luomo, Helsinki clearly deserves its place on the gastronome’s travel radar.
The décor is minimalist but warm, in a cool, bright room overlooking the Finnish capital’s market square and harbour.
As usual in Scandinavia, service is smiling, knowledgeable and relaxed, while prices are surprisingly reasonable for what can be an expensive city – especially so when you opt for the wine pairing menu.
The real star of the show, however, is the food. From sensational breads and butters to clever amuses bouches, technical brilliance to deftness of touch, it delivers on every level. A salmon soup was way better than it sounded, while the ‘Potato field’ took the noble tuber to a whole new level.
Ruby red beef was knockout, but even this committed carnivore would have opted for my wife’s sensational mushroom risotto. They used puntalette pasta instead of classic arborio rice, while prime mushroom season meant it had a Finnish forest floor of musky, earthy depth.
A milk chocolate, lemon and licorice soup was bizarre but brilliant while ‘strawberry and milk’ was Nesquik from the gods.
It may not yet have the fame of NOMA, but Luomo is moving culinary Helsinki ever closer to Copenhagen.
Katariinankatu 1, 2nd floor, 00170 Helsinki. T: +358 (0)9 135 7287 http://www.luomo.fi/