Gaijin is a Japanese word for an “outsider” or “foreigner” . After being an “outsider” for more than 8 years in Helsinki and being a huge Asian food and culture lover, visiting restaurant GAIJIN was more than exciting! I have been to some of the best Asian restaurants in Europe such as Yauatcha in London and in US such as Katana Robata and Matsuhisa (LA) but I must admit that Gaijin impressed me so much. It can easily meet the standards of such high level as the other three mentioned restaurants.
GAIJIN was an idea which was born when Tomi Björck and Matti Wikberg worked together at another famous restaurant Chez Dominique and were driven with the same vision of opening a restaurant that would serve North Asian food in the heart of the city, inspired by their trips to China, Korea, Japan and also Sydney and New York. All of those have influenced Gaijin’s menu. There is as well a book titled Gaijin with the photos and stories from those trips and I must say that after flipping only through a couple of pages, I was so inspired by it and felt like I couldn’t wait to start tasting the food that chefs have prepared for us on that day.
Our culinary trip started with some very special sake which is a rare find in Helsinki and I must say that Gaijin has a great variety of sakes, so you’re more than welcome to test them at the Gaijin’c cocktail lounge without any reservation. Also, Gaijin is a fine dinning restaurant BUT without the stiffness or dress code of one. You can just relax with your family, friends or have a romantic date instead.
We were presented with lots of small bites/ snacks and I must say that every single dish that was brought in front of us was pure perfection on a plate. There was NO boring food, just a brilliant and innovative take on Asian kitchen which I love so much. We were presented amazing dishes, from a prime raw fish ( tuna tataki, prawn cracker and salmon sashimi), dumplings (pumpkin shu mai, kale & caramel gyoza) , meat ( beef tartar, marbled beef tataki) to mouthwatering buns ( pork belly and soft shell crab ) over to my ultimate favourite, eel and truffle nigiri to the most crispiest and tender squid tempura and baby back pork ribs! We’ve finished our dinner with a masterfully decorated plate, selection of their 4 delicious desserts Tsukiji choco being my favourite one. 🙂
Overall feeling was more than I have expected to ever experience in Helsinki and I went home happy and in awe of an amazing food trip that I have just witnessed only a few blocks away from my doorstep.
If you ever visit Helsinki or are planning a trip there in a near future, MAKE SURE to stop by Gaijin, you won’t regret it!
*This post was made in collaboration with BW restaurants/ Gaijin but all of the opinions are my own!
*Special thank you to Kata of BW restaurants for this amazing opportunity and experience.
*All of the images were shot by: Natali K.photography