We had a lovely dinner with friends one night before Easter. It was a fine Wednesday evening and we were set to meet at restaurant KIILA in the center of Helsinki. You cannot get more central if you think of the shopping possibilities. The Forum Mall and Stockmann’s, the best department store ever, are there within 100 meters. There are also plenty of other restaurants and bars close by in case you wish to continue your evening after dinner. One of my favourite restaurants, Kosmos, an old-timer from the 30’s is next door.
Well, we were set to have a meal at six at KIILA to try their dinner buffet. I’d never been there and the company was partly new too. Friends, colleagues and new acquaintances. Exciting! And fun! The restaurant is fairly new, and it is perfect for lunch, dinner and after work drinks and coffee. The facility has been in restaurant use earlier – it has been restaurant La Societe de Cochon owned by our foremost Michelin star chef Hans Välimäki, and Restaurant Kolme Seppää. It is not a fine-dining restaurant but a very fine one anyhow. This is also a place where the Finnish Master Chef competitors cooked on one occasion , and it looks as if directly from an interior design magazine (shiny tiles, design furniture).
We were set to enjoy the Wednesday evening buffet – salad and starter table, make-your-own-hamburger table and a table weighing down with ice-cream, cookies, marshmallows and every kind of candy you can think of. You really need to have self-control to eat there! One of my friends was contemplating whether or not to take her children there. I would not date to it but then again she has well-behaved children.
First, we set to try the starter and salad table. The idea was ‘make you own salad’ – lettuce, various kinds of greens and veggies, tomatoes, cucumber, corn, fresh pineapple and honey-dew melon, salmon, chicken, tuna, feta cheese, Cheddar type cheese, bean salad, a mix of Caesar salad…. tortillas, tacos and taco sauce and noodles. A plateful, another full plate…
After the salads it was time to try the make-your-own-hamburger stand. With bellies half full we set to discover what the cooks had to offer next. The roast beef was just out of the oven, bloody and delicious thin slices. There were chicken steaks and hamburgers to choose from, giant tomato slices, pickled cucumber and lettuce – all this to be wrapped in bread buns if you wanted. I’d started my low-carb diet the week before and I was extremely happy to enjoy the dinner with no bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. I made some allowances when it came to desert.
The conversation changed from work to holidays, between Finnish Lapland, Greece, Florida and Helsinki, weddings, spouses and children, entertainment and what not. We spent a good three or four hours enjoying the company, food and atmosphere. There were other parties there too, of all ages and every kind of setup you could think of. I think there was a teenage birthday party behind our table, come colleagues for after work dinner, romantic couples, girls’ night out tables and so on.
If you want to check out KIILA go to www.ravintolakiila.fi . This is only in Finnish, sorry! I checked the menu afterwards and it sound good and includes dishes for children. It looks as if it was hand written and has catchy headings – things with fins (fish), things with wings (poultry). There is even a great quotation by George Bernard Shaw “There is no sincerer love than love of food” (be it no credit is given to Mr Shaw). The restaurant is also on Facebook.