Helsinki may seem to be out of reach from the culinary world but the city do boast six restaurants with one Michelin stars. Postres is one of them. The two founders Samuli Wirgentius Vesa Parviainen wanted to start a restaurant back in 2006 specialising in desserts and named it Postres, the Spanish word for dessert. At that time Helsinki was not ready for a dessert only restaurant so Scandinavian influenced savoury dishes were offered as well. It took only two years before the Michelin guide awarded Postres its Michelin star which it still holds.
Postres is conveniently located along the Esplanade in central Helsinki, a stone throw away from the flagship stores of Finnish design heavyweights Marrimekko and Iittala. The interior is light and classy without being stuffy. We arrived for an early dinner in the calm dining room with capacity for around 40-50 people. The two male waiters looked more relaxed than us after a long day of walking around the city.
We had the 5 course tasting menu which interestingly was not a fixed selection of dishes. The guest is given the freedom to choose a combination of starters, mains and desserts from the à la carte menu. The sweet tooth inside me was very tempted to do three desserts but I went for one starter, two mains and two desserts in the end. My two friends had two starters, two mains and one dessert which meant that I had my first dessert while they had their last main course. I like the flexibility but it also creates weird dynamics at the table.
Being served rye bread in a restaurant is the kind of comfort that one usually experiences in a Scandinavian restaurant. Heavier and more hearty it is a nice break from the standard white bread.
Something crispy, something fishy, something greasy. I quite liked that. Flavours were well balanced. Though I think I would prefer something lighter than mayo since the salmon already has some weight.
My friends had this wonderful starter of Hay-smoked Scallop. The unity of all components had a surprisingly fresh lightness. I think the green liquid was dill emulsion while the oyster mayonnaise is barely visible behind the scallop.
I had a more weighty starter which was very good as well. Flavours were more pronounced in this dish. The shredded beef was well-flavoured with a salty edge. I really liked the creamy watercress emulsion which went very well with the beef.
I can’t recall when I had sweetbread last time so I had no expectations of how it would be. On the plate it looks like a regular firm piece of meat. That’s where the similarities stops. The texture is very soft and has no resemblance to meat at all. Flavour-wise I would say that it bear very little flavour on its own but is rather influenced by the sauce. The celeriac purée was a bit too salty but otherwise the other components were well executed.
thymus glands. A bit salty celeriac puree.
I can’t fault the pigeon. Just perfectly cooked. With it a can of jerusalem artichokes in artichoke cream prepared and sealed in-house was served. This was my favourite among the mains.
When in season rhubarb is one of the most wonderful ingredients in desserts. Some of the best desserts I’ve had this year involved rhubarb (see the one I had atBerners Tavern). Here it came with strawberry crisps, “tutti frutti” meringue and ice cream. Flavours were light and fresh. I didn’t quite get the tutti frutti meringue since they didn’t add much to the dish I felt other than colour. It looked a bit gimmicky.
What usually belongs to the breakfast table the yoghurt and musli made a surprising entry just before our last dessert. Yoghurt and musli can’t go wrong no matter how you turn and twist it. There is however a difference between good and very good musli. A light creamy yoghurt with a selection of roasted sweet covered nuts although simple, made me happy.
I suppose we saved the best for the end. This classic dessert that has been around at Postres since 2006. It’s basically a Tarte Tatin, a very well made one. Vanilla ice cream tops the cake surrounded by caramel sauce. The exterior of the brioche-like cake is crispy. Every cut into the cake is a spoonful of rich sweetness. I almost think that more ice cream is needed to balance off the richness from the fairly big cake. Neither of us could barely finish the heavy cake but it was very good indeed.
The meal ended with a ice pop waking up memories from childhood.
The overall experience at Postres was positive. The interior, service and food all gave a clean impression. The staff were mostly out of sight but when needed they were there. There was one small awkward moment when one of the chefs helped carrying out the food but disappeared as quickly as he appeared. I thought he would explain the dish like most chefs when they come to the table. The food was excellent and beautifully plated. Flavours were well-balanced and light. While dessert was the original focus Postres’ starters and mains were equally good. The experience was above my expectations and when in Helsinki I can recommend a visit.
For more photos from Postres, please visit my Flickr set.
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