restaurant ASK

During my travels through Scandinavia, we had a one night stopover in Helsinki, Finland.  So, I asked my concierge at the hotel to help me secure a reservation at Restaurant ASK and she did!!!

It was cold and rainy night as I walked into this beautiful establishment.  Known for their Nordic cuisine and one michelin star, I was welcomed in warmly by the staff and seated in a chair covered with reindeer fur:


The sommelier helped me pick this beautiful glass of white wine with sweet fruity notes from Austria:


The meal started out with a series of snacks.  First up, rice chips with spruce powder, mushroom powder, and buckwheat with a green garlic mayonnaise:


And this beautifully plated group of grilled leeks with yogurt and ask, rice sourdough with mayo, pickled carrot with mayo, tempura smelt:

image  Each bite was wonderful but my favorite parts were the dishes and presentation!

Yogurt with apple vinaigrette and herbs:

image  Just a bite, but so much flavor in this!

To cleanse the palate, boiled buttermilk with leak oil:

image  I had never had boiled buttermilk before but it was delicious!

Homemade bread came by slice and the waitress came often enough.

image  At first, I was disappointed about not getting a basket of bread.  But it was so good, I’m afraid I could have filled up on bread before the meal even started!

First course, herring over sour cream with mustard seeds and birch vinaigrette

image  The herring was so fresh and was really enhanced by all the components on the dish.  Yummy.

This next dish was super creative in my book – potatoes done three ways:

image  Mashed, fried as crisp shoestrings, and a broth made from the skin with herbs of spruce all around.  I loved this!!  So many flavors and textures that I almost forgot it was all one spud!

Smoked Reindeer tartar with ash on top, served alongside ground hazelnuts and hazelnut mayo:

image  This was so good – not gamey at all.  I asked the chef about it and he said it was because they used a young reindeer for the meat.

Poached egg with ramson (green garlic) three ways – puréed, pickled, and as a soup with dried berries and edible flowers:

image  Like the potato done three ways, this was wonderful.  I really appreciated the creative ways the chef was able to turn one component into several that played off each other beautifully.

Poached fish with grilled onion and crispy fish skin in a soup made from all their juices came next:

image  The grilled onion is what makes the flower on the side with the crispy fish skin and the soup was divine.

The final dish was described as “beef and celeriac”.  Sounded simple enough but what I got was not simple at all.  First up was their puréed celeriac with pickled celeriac root with braised oxtail stew:

image  So yummy.  The celeriac puree was like a potato mash and absorbed the juice from the stew beautifully.

And then came marbled cured meat with pickled celeriac and celeriac tea.  You first eat the meat with tweezers and then drink the tea poured into the bowl to collect the remaining flavors!

image  This was so amazing.  LOVED it.

Palate cleanser came next with a sour milk sorbet and birch leaves:


And then dessert!  First, a frozen sorrel mousse with sorrel granita and twigs made of malt

image   Who knew sorrel could be this delicious!

And then quarter sized pancakes with apple jam, brown butter ice cream, pickled spruce shoot, spruce jelly, and spruce caramel drizzled on top!

image  This was served table side by the chef and was absolutely divine.  I love apple jam on pancakes but this took it to a whole new level.  Again using one ingredient in several different ways, the spruce here really made the dish.

Finally, the petit four – caramel fudge with cranberry powder, candied dried carrot with bee pollen, and a hazelnut toffee with licorice and a bean on top:

image  How fun!

What a great meal with an autographed menu to go!


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