Monday, 25 November 2013

Dining and w(h)ining in Helsinki: Skiffer

Our restaurant club has lost yet another member to Rovaniemi. Luckily there are airlines and train companies that make visits back to the Real World a lot more efficient that, say, teleporting and magic carpet rides. But when an impromptu visit like that falls into your lap on Monday night of all the nights, that opens a whole new can of worms. Where of all the restaurants you've been dying to try will you go? And where can you even get a table the same day without a reservation? And which ones of them are even open on Mondays? Surprisingly many restaurants tend to be closed, you see.

In the search of gourmet pizza (rumoured to be among the absolute best in town) we ended in Skiffer at the trendy neighbourhood of Erottaja. In its trendy minimalism the industrial decor won the companion over immediately. In yours truly that set off a hipster alarm. To the eyes of someone living in the establised and traditional neighbourhood of Töölö the staff (very minimalist too) seemed suspiciously...well, hipster. The impression was not helped by the fact that in the Skiffer language they have their own world for pizza named so after the island restaurant they have in the summer in Liuskasaari in front of Helsinki: liuska.

The menu too was (wait for it) minimalist. There's the snäki of the day, some bread (such as pan con artisokka), the salad of the day and 7 different sorts of liuskas. I probably don't have to elaborate whether Fantasia of 4 toppings of your own choice was on the menu (that would be a resounding no). 

Though... while the menu (like the rest of the restaurant) might be all about less is more, that's one thing I'll never be. Remember that epic trip to Hanko where I couldn't settle for just one (or two or three) pasta? Yeah. Well, have I learnt anything since? Well, even if I have, moderation isn't that: not being able to decide, we decided to have three pizzas (sorry, liuskas). An endeavour that was as massive as the size of these babies.

The companion was puzzled by the combinations, especially goat cheese-strawberry-pine nut one - the most popular item on the menu by the way. As recommended by the waiter we went for Surf & Turf (fresh chorizo, crayfish and chilli) and then for Fisherman's Friend (fried European cisco, smoked salmon, fennel and poached egg) and then for Tomppa (banana, chilli and bacon) , seeing how that met all my criteria: sounds weird and has bacon in it.

Baked in the stone oven of the tiny open kitchen the liuskas had a delightfully thin and crispy crust, though it was so thin and dry it was bordering on too thin (yes Wallis Simpson, a woman might never be too thin but a pizza sure can). Tomato sauce and cheese were nothing special, but a cheese phobe like me reveled in the fact that like with proper Italian pizzas, there wasn't too much of cheese.

Chorizo in Surf & Turf was good, but we couldn't really taste the crayfish. Coriander was a nice addition though.

Fisherman's Friend echoed delightfully all things and flavours Finnish, though the fennel was so very bland. Smoked salmon also made it very salty.

The companion found Tomppa simply too weird. I on the other hand fell instantly in love with the way the saltiness of the bacon worked with the sweetness of the bananas.

Wine list is thought through with emphasis on organic wines. The beer menu also boats some lesser known treats such as this clean and crisp Rosita from Spain.

The prices range between €14 and €17, so they do cost more than your average pizza. Owing to the creative combinations and quality ingredients though they are a far cry from those average pizzas. Service was quick, friendly (in that minimalist way, obviously!) and knowledgeable. Töölö approves!




No comments :

Post a comment