Saturday, 10 October 2015

Dining and w(h)ining in (vegetarian) Helsinki: Silvoplee

Having heard about me going vegetarian for a month Silvoplee, a vegetarian restaurant located in Hakaniemi, Helsinki, invited me over for lunch.

Overall atmosphere is fresh and bright, though somewhat canteen-like. There's a smoothie bar downstairs which sells ridiculously adorable raw cakes (you have to try the mocha caramel!).

Oh, and wines, ciders, beers, coffee and variety of teas - all organic.

Founded in 1999 Silvoplee has always been a trailblazer in its field. It's clearly found its place and clientele: the moment they open the doors for lunch there's a queue. Something has clearly happened in the almost 20 years(!) since my own vegetarian phase. Back then the vegetarians were scrawny, dreadlock-sporting, hemp tunic-wearing angry conscious youngsters with idealistic fire burning in their eyes; with answer to absolutely everything (yes, I was one of them....) but this lot looks so... normal. 

Something else has happened since my vegetarian days: these days the food is actually good. Popularity of vegetarianism grows rapidly and this reflects on the quality of the food on offer in restaurants today.

Silvoplee's considerable buffet consists of variety of salads, sprouts, fruits and hot dishes. Options at salad buffet are interesting and packed with taste. They sure know how to use their herbs and spices here and they're not afraid to do it. Inspiration has been drawn from all over the world.  I especially loved fennel, apple and broccoli salad and black lentil salad with pomegranate seeds.

Silvoplee is a veritable smörgås bord for those only munching on raw food, too. More than half of everything is raw food and everything, down to the pasta, is gluten-free, too.

Another reason I've not been a huge fan of vegetarian options is the fact that they're often smothered in cheese, the only thing I don't eat. None of that here, though - a huge relief.

Knowing the staff, I've heard of a story of a woman who came over and kept going around the buffet island several times with a quizzical look on her face. When the staff offered to help the poor lost-looking soul she demanded to know "where they keep the chicken". Well, being a vegetarian restaurant they don't have any chicken - instead you can satisfy your craving for protein with tofu or tempeh.  Tomatoey tofu stew was wonderfully comforting but my absolute favourite of the whole buffet was Indian style tempeh stew.

The meal is priced by the weight (€22,30/ kg), so if you're careless, you might be in for a nasty surprise. Most of the ingredients are organic and when ever possible, locally sources, so the meal is definitely worth its weigh in gold. 

I'll let you in on a little secret I doubt I'd ever hear myself say: I'm going to go back there, even after October's over. Just because it was that good!

Should you be in the market for more vegetarian restaurants in Helsinki, do also check my blog posts on Soi Soi and Levant!




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