To be honest, when I heard from my friends in advertising, about a pop up Finnish restaurant incorporating Finnish food and design as a part of the London Design Festival I wasn’t overly interested. What do I know about Finnish cuisine? No alot. What do I know about Finnish design? Even less than not alot.
To pass the time I had a look at their website, and I have to say the images of their food and dining space looked pretty cool. Ok, so now I was interested, time to make a booking. What! Booked out! That’s right, every dinner slot had been taken during the restaurants 2 week stint. Whatever. It’d be full of advertising people pretending to be designers anyway. Pfff.
I was lucky to get an invite (thanks to S) and I was impressed with their minimalist yet detailed setup. On the approach to the transformed warehouse, lights from image projectors escape out of the front door, which gives one the feeling of turning up to a rave, minus the muffled throbbing bass.
As stated on their website, “HEL YES! is a temporary restaurant and exhibition imagined and realised by a creative team of Finnish designers and food visionaries; led by Antto Melasniemi together with Mia Wallenius and Klaus Haapaniemi. HEL YES! will be unveiled 15 September 2010 in a former depot in East London. For 14 days it will serve as a melting pot of people and ideas during London Design Festival.”
The cocktail I had to start involved two glasses; one with strong clear alcohol which I think was an infused vodka with fresh thyme sticking out of the top. The other with beetroot juice which acted like a cleansing chaser. It worked, I liked it.
25€ for three courses. I had the sea bass tartare with archipelago bread. This worked well, good quality fish, dark bread and baby raddish.
For main I had the Lamb neck, which had been slow cooked to perfection, sitting on top of a stewed vegetables. Vegetables cooked perfectly and the right amount of sauce. Again liked it alot.
I had the liquorice crème brûlée for dessert, which was more of a custard with a very mild hint of liquorice, still delicious.
We were fortunate enough to be able to bring our own wine thanks to S’s wine connections (Paul Bara Champagne 2004 Rose & Remoissenet Pere & Fils 1978 Volny) both went very well with the food. The wine list at HEL YES! is short and simple with enjoyable wines however has hefty mark ups. An £8.70 bottle retail was £25 at the table.
In short, loved it. Great food, space and atmosphere. If only there were more of these in London.
LONDONEWCASTLE DEPOT, 1-3 WENLOCK ROAD, N1 7SL
15.9. – 3.10.2010