The Handbook
The Handbook


By | 31st August 2010

Fans of the BBC’s Great British Waste Menu will love Hel YES, the new temporary restaurant from The Finnish Institute that’s popping up in N1 for two weeks during September’s London Design Festival.

The 120 cover restaurant, bar and exhibition space has the idea of foraging at its core. It’s the brainchild of executive chef, Antto Melasniemi, known for his Helsinki concept restaurants, Atelje Finne and Kuurma and the Cat & Mutton gastropub here in Broadway Market.

“I’m interested in food as a social phenomenon and as language. Rather than being a very technical chef, I enjoy working with conceptual ideas and performances related to eating and restaurants, as well as collaborating with friends from different fields,” he explains.

With the popularity of Trina Hahnemann’s The Nordic Diet and Copenhagen’s Noma being crowned World’s Best Restaurant in this Year’s S. Pellegrino Restaurant, Scandinavian cuisine is already big news.

A daily changing menu will feature ­Spruce cured beef with foraged herbs, Salmon with rye sauce and greens and Liquorice crème brûlée. Other Finnish favourites include Archipelago bread made from wheat bran, rye flour and grounded malt and Cinnamon buns or ‘korvapuustit.’

Melasniemi and his guest chefs will use a combination of key Finnish ingredients such as fish roe, game and preserved plants together with daily ingredients sourced by a team of hunters and gatherers from around London.

Together with London based designers, Mia Wallenius, Klaus Haapaniemi and Linda Bergroth, he has created an open kitchen with a long counter lined with the day’s ingredients.

Guests will dine in a campsite-like formation in the shape of a circle with canopy style tents on the edges of the main area created from cashmere shawls. Tables by Linda Bergroth have been crafted from aspen trees sustainably thinned from a forest near Helsinki and Artek ‘403’ chairs are an homage to celebrated Finnish architect and ‘Father of Modernism,’ Alvar Aalto.

And if you really want to enter into the spirit of things, there are additional long common tables – perfect for getting to know your fellow diners.

Even the tableware has been ‘foraged’. Mismatched Littala plates have been acquired via barter deals where owners were invited to trade their crockery and dinner party tales for a complimentary meal at the new restaurant. So much better than popping down to Ikea!