Hi all, welcome to Foodie Madness, a new bi-weekly section of Journey Wonders where we’ll explore one of my biggest passions in the world: Eating yummy food. But not just any kind of food.
You see, I am a firm believer that the weirder the better and that’s why this month of January I decided to try at least one new dish every week or so.
From sea urchins to bull’s balls, here’s a recap of the best eats I had in Helsinki and Tallinn. Are you ready for the Foodie Madness? Bring out your forks and start drooling now!
Foodie Madness #01: My birthday sea urchin foodie madness
For my 25th birthday, my friend Camille surprised me with a visit to one of Helisnki’s best restaurants for meat-lovers like me: The one and only Grotesk (I promise you that it’s name has nothing to do with the English meaning of the word).
Inside, she arranged for us to have a tasting of every single one of the starters and a couple of the main dishes. “All this meat just for me? You’re the best!!!!” As you can imagine, it’s one of my top 5 Birthday dinners ever, especially because of that tasty Angus beef.
Highlights of the day? Sea Urchin, 14 days dry-aged Black Angus sirloin, Finnish fish roe.
Weight gained so far: 2 kilos/4 pounds.
Foodie Madness #02: A Moroccan brunch? Yes please!
Next morning, while still recovering from the amazing food and wine of the previous day, we went to Sandro, a Moroccan themed restaurant located in the Kallio neighborhood of Helsinki, home of hippies and bohemians (plus the occasional annoying hipster).
Inside we were invited for a Moroccan traditional brunch buffet which brought back flashbacks of my amazing time at Chefchaouen and the similar food I had there. Having a mint tea sure helped against the cold Finnish winter!
Highlights of the day? Baklava, black bread with Humus, Moroccan beet salad, shots of juice.
Weight gained so far: 4 kilos/9 pounds.
Foodie Madness #03: The Hawaiian-Finnish Connection
During the night, we got an invitation for dinner at this interesting restaurant founded by a Hawaiian expat who married a Finnish woman and who has made Helsinki his home. At his restaurant, Hoku, he managed to bring the exquisite tastes of Hawaii while using organic and local products.
The owner, was so kind to us that he made sure we tried every single item of the menu, from starters to desserts while also including the succulent 7 main dishes. I haven’t been to Hawaii yet but after this night’s dinner I simply cannot wait to book those plane tickets!
Highlights of the day? Oxtail Adobo, Chicken Katsu, Snow Crab Croquets, Beef neck.
Weight gained so far: 7 kilos/15 pounds.
Foodie Madness #04: Saumon and seafood galore
This time our foodie madness took place between Helsinki and Tallinn during our ferry ride with Tallink Silja Oy. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “Raphael…ferry food is usually plain and bad” and that’s why we were both pleasantly surprised by the incredible organic quality of the food there.
Can you imagine a buffet with unlimited seafood, red meat, vegetables, bread, cheese, desserts plus all you can drink beer and wine? Trust me when I say that the ferry lunch buffet still remains one of the highlights of our epic journey to Estonia.
Highlights of the day? Smoked saumon, confit duck, kefir ice cream, unlimited red wine.
Weight gained so far: 8.5 kilos/19 pounds
Foodie Madness #05: What? Are those really the balls of a bull?
For our first dinner at Tallinn, we went outside of the city walls to visit Umami, a very kitschy restaurant that servers both international and local food with an unique twist (I mean, come on, Bull’s Balls?). What I loved the most about Umami is that they even have an open kitchen so costumers can actually see how their food is made.
And yes, as you can imagine, we travel photographers felt the urge to stay there and keep shooting photo after photo of those unique words of art, especially the amazing dessert called the Bird’s Milk which contains blackcurrant and kefir ice cream.
Highlights of the day? Hake, Bull’s Balls, Mackerel, Bird’s Milk.
Weight gained so far: 9.5 kilos/21 pounds.
Foodie Madness #06: The quirkiest beer ever and the Leib bread
Leib is both a restaurant located within Tallinn’s city walls and also a special kind of bread that people from Estonia love to eat. The restaurant, located on a place that was once the Scottish Club of Tallinn serves the best traditional Estonian food that is grown both locally and organically.
They also serve what I think it’s one of the quirkiest beers I’ve ever seen, I mean, look at this grumpy Estonian? Ain’t he cool or what?. The decoration of the place really matches the delicious food and of course, lighting is more than perfect for those foodie madness photos!
Highlights of the day? Mushroom ragout, pork cheek, pan pardue, cured duck salad.
Weight gained so far: 11 kilos/24 pounds.
Foodie Madness #07: The eggs Benedict Arnold at the shoe store
And finally, the last brunch of this foodie madness took place at Sfaar, an unique restaurant slash shoe store located near the port of Tallinn. Here we enjoyed some traditional breakfast plates mixed with an unique Estonian flavor.
Food, shoes, wine and selfies sure made for an amazing combination and yes, I was definitely not expecting to enjoy the Eggs Benedict Arnold as much as I did. How come this awesomeness hasn’t reached Mexico yet? I want to to eat them every single day!
Highlights of the day? Eggs Benedict Arnold, Porridge with bacon, Orange Smoothie, Fried Cheese, Steak.
Weight gained so far: 12 kilos/26 pounds.
From wanderlust to hungerlust and beyond
So there you have it folks, the best 7 restaurants of Helsinki and Tallinn. Be sure to grab a bite or two next time you visit those two cities and stay tuned for my upcoming articles about the amazing time I had there. Now, if you excuse, it’s time for me to grab a train to Lapland and chase those perky Northern Lights.
Until next time my friends!
Disclaimer: All the restaurants mentioned in the article sponsored our food and drinks. As you already know, all opinions are 100% honest and my own. I mean, just take a look at my food photos, doesn’t it all look yummy and tasty?