What are the odds that while visiting middle of North Europe, Helsinki, you get to experience the charm and romance of Paris? It is possible at restaurant Pastis! Authentic Parisian vibe, delicious food and coziness of the restaurant’s decor could be easily misplaced with any place in Montmartre for instance. Our sweet hostes Camilla told us that there are many Pastis named restaurants in Europe ( in US too, for example in NYC ) but there is only one Pastis in Helsinki and it’s a must visit place.
I’ve been writing about Pastis previously here and here and am equally excited to present you their newest Fall/ Winter a-la-carte menu! By far, it’s one of the most interesting menus I’ve come across in a while. Pastis def. takes your culinary experience on a whole new level by offering some ingredients and dishes which can’t be found in any other restaurant here. Besides the main chef who’s also an owner of Pastis, there are two other chefs in the kitchen, all three equally driven by love for French food, culture and will to bring the best of “little Paris” experience in the middle of Helsinki. Besides travelling throuhout France, they also source a lot of inspiration from french cook books. All of this effort has resulted in incredibly delicious dishes which we had a privilege to test, so let me present you:
*Caramelised beetroot with deep fried Camembert cheese and macadamia nuts
It’s a cheese lovers heaven!!! Warm, deep fried, cheesy, melting perfection of rich taste which came “full rounded” when paired with the sweetness of caramelised beetroot and crunchy nuttiness of macadamia nuts! It was an instant love!
*Marinated Baltic herring & shrimp with creme fraiche and apple pure
If 1st starter was a cheese lovers heaven, then this was def. a fish/ raw fish lovers heaven! Fresh baltic herring sliced and beautifully plated with shrimps and carrots. Creme fraiche and apple pure were a perfect addition to balance this great cold starter. Sour & salty taste of baltic herring and shrimp def. needed that apple pure which gives them a nice dose of sweetness while creme fraiche makes it all smooth and well combined.
*Gratinated pike perch quenelles with broccolini and saffron veloute
Gnocchi like pike perch quenelles with mild and not overpowering saffron veloute worked wonderfully together with shrimps and brocollini. This main course reminded me a lot of Bouchon bistro and restaurant in LA which I used to visit frequently and ate only the best of French dishes.
As you all might now by now, I’m a huge fish lover and there’s not much “mystery” or “brainstorming” when it comes to fish dishes, they’re either tasteless and nothing special or then quite the opposite, some of the best and tastes fish dishes ever and this one was absolutely that, unpretentious but perfectly envisioned meal that has delivered in making my hedonist belly satisfied. 🙂
Perfect side dish to this were roasted brussel sprouts with kale and pine nuts. It’s got to be my most favourite side dish ever! YUM!
*Rabbit leg with pumpkin souffle and tarragon-ginger sauce
Upon trying this dish, my friend said that it give out bit of yellow curry “vibe” but instead it was a richness of tarragon – ginger sauce and full bodied taste of rabbit that made it a hearty main course which worked perfectly with pumpkin souffle that was reminding of a “sweet&creamy” mashed potato. 🙂
Rabbit meat was cooked to tender perfection while the tarragon-ginger sauce was the crown of this dish that has binded all of the ingredients together. Pumpkin seeds and sweet pea greens were a perfect final touch which added a crunchy and dense bite to this “in season” dish.
If it wasn’t already an amazing gastronomy walk up until the desserts, I was super excited to try two new desserts because : a) you still can’t find a great tasting macaroon in my city and b) use of ABSINTH in a dessert is something “unheard” of in my restaurant experiences in Helsinki.
*Cherry gran macaron with pistachio creme
Me and my daughter shared this “bad boy” and had it “gone in 60 seconds” thanks to it being the best macaroon in town with the delicious and cherry jam/ compote like topping and crunchy meringue pieces. I can’t describe you how big satisfaction this dessert was to my sweet tooth cravings.
*Absinth marinated plums & yoghurt panacotta with meringue crumbles and dry raspberry flakes
Innovative, interesting, unexpected and a soul food of a dessert! Absinth and plums sourness was perfectly balanced by the sweetness of panacotta and meringue crumbles. I was so impressed!
When a restaurant that could easily live on their “old fame” or just on it’s name still impresses and is keeping up with all of the competition ( if not even setting some new standards ) on Helsinki’s food scene, it’s def. worth paying them a visit and get introduced to best of the best of French cuisine in the Little Paris of North Europe!
*This post was made in collaboration with Pastis Helsinki, all of the opinions are my own.
*Thank you to Miss Camila for making this collaboration possible!
*Photography by: Natali K. photography