Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Dining and w(h)ining in Helsinki: Twisted street kitchen

Though lately I've been eating out in proper restaurants and even in ones recommended in Michelin guide, it has been a joy to discover places that offer serious value for money for a lot less money, offering interesting culinary expeditions all over the world. Travelling is a fine hobby and probably the best thing about is sampling the local cuisine - preferably on the streets. The appreciation of the ingredients and a true love of food is something one truly tastes. 

So it has been great finding places such as Fafa's which take Middle Eastern street food classics such as falafels and kebabs to a whole new level (their marketing really is right: one of the best falafels I've ever eaten). Another joint that apparently does the same for sandwiches is Street Gastro that was just opened at Sofiankatu. Based on the rave reviews I can't wait to try them! And for Asian street food there's Twisted street kitchen - a tiny place that was opened on Fredrikinkatu 3 months ago.

You know how sometimes you meet new people and you immediately find a common language? That's what happened here. Literally. Surprisingly though in an Asian restaurant in Finland that language was Hebrew. The kal kal kalit- jingle that we were greeted with at the door evoked curiosity and memories. My dining companions for the evening couldn't have been more surprised at the turn communication took. 

The menu isn't very extensive but offers a nice cross section of Thai cuisine. For sides we had adorably aromatic jasmin rice, appropriately gutsy Chow Mein noodles and wasabi-potato salad. Wasabi lent the salad some nice heat, but could have used a bit more seasoning. I found Som Tam papaya salad from Northern Thailand a bit bland for my liking but it was fresh and balanced nicely the spiciness of the other dishes. 

Mussaman gai was, in its spiciness, outstandingly balanced and subtly seductive dish for which star anis brought wonderful depth without being overpowering. Loved it.

But the best was yet to come: the BBQ ribs. Oh. OHHHH. Easily the best ribs I've ever eaten. You know how the sign of good ribs is the way they "practically fall off the bone"? Well, that's what these did. For real. Perfect fattiness and the sauce... ooooh the sauce. I tried  to get the intel on the sauce which they make from scratch (the pineappley sweetness we deciphered ourselves) but I'm afraid the recipe is still very much a secret. Which is probably how it's supposed to be. Apple is one of the core ingredients, that much we were revealed. 

The portions are so generously sized that one dish would easily feed two persons. The service is excellent. Opening hours are a tad tricky in that even during weekends they close at 9pm. The restaurant only seats 8 and doesn't take reservations, but people - get in the queue if you must. Not for me but for those ribs. Well worth it.

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