Palace

Helsinki, Finland

Palace is one of the legends in the Helsinki restaurant scene. It dates back to 1952 (year of summer olympics held ín Helsinki) and is first Finnish restaurant to receive a Michelin star. Palace received second star this summer so I was really looking forward to my first visit in two-star restaurant.

You could sense from the very beginning that evening is going to be an experience. I started evening with a house negroni (16 euros with Tanqueray 10 and two different vermouths). Unlike many other fine dining restaurants, Palace has their menu available online so we knew what to expect from it. Palace has version numbering for the menus, which I enjoy having background in software engineering. Now they are serving menu 21.2. You have also a cheat sheet at the table, which makes it easier to follow and remember what you are actually having.

The menu started with four small starters, served in pairs of two. They were paired with Keller’s riesling. Very first appetizer was one the highlights for me, salted trout with roe and karashi was really good. After these came larger starters, featuring hiramasa (yellowtail kingfish), lobster and the probably the best dish of the evening, caviar with cauliflower and miso. Along these was also the only miss of the evening. I think the grapefruit and pomelo took over the lobster so much that the dish was not on the level of the other ones. With caviar, wine pairing was naturally champagne (Lambardier-Bernier).

More fish & seafood came in mains, first dover sole and then langoustine. Last main was white tail deer served with amazing brioche so you could take each drop of the sauce Périgueux from your plate.

There were also two supplements that you could order for the menu. First scallops with truffle (50 euros) and then a cheese trolley with condiments (25 euros). We skipped the first one but went with the cheese which did not disappoint me. Seven different cheese with interesting condiments was a real treat.

The dessert part of the menu was quite extensive, first two larger ones and then some small bites with also something you would necessary expect to find in two-star place, tiger cake. But don’t get me wrong, fresh from the oven cake was delicious. For dessert wine, there was interesting choice from Romania, ice wine by Liliac & Kracher.

Was it the best food I’ve ever had, definitely not. Was it most interesting restaurant experience ever, I might have to say yes. We stayed there nearly five hours, which really did not feel like overkill in a sense that we would have needed to wait for food much or anything like that. Several little details made it a night to remember. Writing them down here would not do justice, I strongly recommend for you experiencing it yourself. Of course, all this does not come with a small price tag. Menu costs you 210 euros and wine pairing 190. Add there the negroni, cheese, tawny port and a 1986 calvados and you are looking at spending 500 euros for a meal.

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