One of my favourite sections on the blog besides my weekly outfits and mumblings is this one, “Visit Helsinki”! If you’re new to my blog, then you might not be familiar with these posts which are a mini guide to (mostly) Helsinki’s restaurants’ scene, presenting you my new and old favourite spots in town, places to stay at such as hotels like Kamp, places to check out etc.
As a big foodie, somebody who loves finding out new restaurants and trying out the new dishes I was very happy to come across Tokyostreet.org. A friend of mine has recommended them to me about a year ago, but I’ve been a bit lazy to go to the actual restaurant so I got caught up in making orders via food delivery services. I must admit that I was never that big fan of noodles… In fact, nothing could beat a great bowl of spaghetti with a long cooked tomato sauce and some fresh herbs. I know that Japanese noodles and Italian spaghetti are two different things but when you simplify it, they’re both egg noodles and can easily taste like “nothing”, unless a person who’s preparing the dish has put a lot of love, vision and skills into the dish. That’s when “just” the egg noodles become one of the best dishes I ever ate.
Tokyostreet.org have possibly the shortest menu I’ve seen in town but every single dish is ridiculously delicious that it’s almost a crime that they’re preparing that good and affordable melas only 5 min walk from my apartment. If you ask me on any day what do I feel like eating for lunch, answer would be: noodles or sushi! Tokyostreet.org can be found in one of my favourite areas in the city, Hietalahti’s Market Hall and is ran by a lovely SloPan couple! Slo – standing for Slovenian and Pan for Japanese. 😀
Ray and Haruka are modest, heartwarming souls of Tokyostreet.org that make hundreds of people (well fed) happy on daily basis. At their little restaurant you don’t have to worry about the ingredients which are being used or count your calories, this is not your regular “Chinese/Thai/ noodle whatever takeaway”. These lovely people are making their own noodles, sourcing all of the produce hormone free, local, organic whenever possible and some of the products such as their wild garlic pesto and olive oil are made by the family and friends.
Esp. for this post, I have interviewed Ray and Haruka, so read on if you want to find out more about this gem on Helsinki’s, always growing food scene.
When and why did you open a restaurant in Helsinki? What are your “ties” to Helsinki?
We have opened in June 2016. As we have two school age kids and we wanted to provide the best possible education for children we have decided to move to Finland. This was our first priority. We are both coming from different backgrounds however we are both passionate about healthy eating and benefits of healthy cooking. With visiting local restaurants we realize that it’s extremely difficult to find quality food, prepared with quality ingredients and that price/quality ratio is very poor. And then we noticed that there is a vacant space available in Hietalahti market hall and decided to open a small Japanese restaurant with very different concept: Cooking from scratch with organic ingredients wherever possible and/or with the highest quality ingredients available on the market.
Slovenia and Japan? Very exotic mix – how does this show in the food that you cook/ serve at Tokyostreet.org?
Some customers saying that we have best of both lol, tasty and healthy Japanese food prepared by Japanese and excellent customer service, Slovenia is generally known for truly high restaurant service standards.
What is your vision for Tokyostreet.org? How do you see it grow/ change in the future?
We would like to add new things in our menu and remain devoted to honest home style cooking which dramatically reduce fat, calories, cholesterol, and sodium without sacrificing taste or texture. We are planning to open more kitchens only in Finland and Germany and offer the food through home delivery networks like Wolt and Foodora as it’s too expensive to open new restaurants with sitting places in high street locations, so more and more people will have opportunity to taste our food. We will continue to cook for vegetarians, vegans and for people with gluten allergies.
Tell me some specifics about your restaurant (some special things which separate you from other restaurants).
As already said before, we are doing our best to use natural and organic ingredients, for instance for all our cooking we are using organic and hand harvested salt from Salt pans Piran which is used in numerous high-class restaurants around the world, for instance world-famous British chef Jamie Oliver is using the same salt. We are buying organic oils from people we know and trust, for instance we are buying home-made extra virgin olive oil or pumpkin oil produced by our friend and it’s quality has nothing to do with the oils sold in supermarkets. Our noodles are usually hand made by ourselves or we buying them freshly made every morning from our supplier we trust using organic flours only. In our vegan special menu we are using our own wild garlic pesto – very special and expensive ingredients which you simply cannot find in another restaurant.
How do you like Helsinki food scene? Do you think that it’s changing into better or is it still “dull”?
We have noticed slight changes in Helsinki food scene comparing last year, however it still seems to be “light years” behind Berlin for example.
How and can the smaller restaurants survive the competition with the bigger/ fancier restaurants or endless buffets all over the city?
We are surviving thanks to our returning customers which are coming back regularly and even bringing us their friends.
*Thank you Tokyostreet.org for making this collaboration possible!
*Food styling help and visual guidance thanks to my friend Joseph, find him on Instagram @youssef_jose
*Photography by Natali K.photography