Salutorget is located at the begining of Pohjois Esplanadi, kind of Helsinki's 'Champs Elysées.
The place itself looks very good, settle in an old bank the classic building offers the restaurant an impressive reception room.
The menu stays affordable, but we are here in a place where you need to book ahead and where the service tries its best to reach some high standarts.
For the menu we went for a safe choice, the Chef's menu. As we assumed, with his own menu the chef has to show his best, this offer being as his offer to attract new comer.
So here was the menu straight from the card:
|Lobster soup with saffron cream|
|Arctic Charr served with its crayfish risotto|
|Caramel Crème Brülée with rhum marinated cranberries|
(Note the small spelling mistake on 'crème brûlée')
The menu was suggesting a C'est la Vie! Muscat, Viognier with this menu, advice that we followed.
The wine was served on front of you, with the waiter judgement for the quantity, not with a annoying deciliter used in so many places in Finland. This was a plus, but I felt a bit embarrassed to be served such a glass of wine for 8,70€...but this may explain why the waiters don't even propose you to taste the wine. Anyway the wine was decent, not a 'piquette'.
The lobster was served! And a small detail regarding the esthetic. We were expecting to see something a bit thicker and still on its surface. Instead we found a soup a small bit too liquid and foamy on its top, as if it was just mixed in our plate in a hurry. But it tasted really good, the lobster, the safran and the other spices were there, in a nice mix where not any flavor is too strong to cover the other. Chef, work on the presentation of your soup now.
The main dish then took time to be served. That is usually the opposite which happen in many places in Finland, where the dishes are served to quickly but this time it was maybe a bit too much waiting time.
Anyway the fish was served and...it was a true disappointment. The fish itself was a tiny bit too raw, and the crayfish risotto tasted exactly the same than the lobster soup!
It was good, but for the chef's menu not a positive surprise.
And finally the dessert. Honestly it was really good, but somehow the texture of the crème brûlée was a small bit too creamy and the top of the 'brûléé' was obviously missing either suger or time on the grill as the characteristic sound of the spoon breaking the crust of sugar did not happen.
Don't misunderstand us, Salutorget is a nice place, but we were definitely expecting something more impressive. Few other details also put this dinner on the down side, like seeing the waiters in the back poring the end of some bottle of wine in some other half empty bottle of the same, and the fact that waiter did not mind going for a smoke in the middle of your service and coming back serving you with a strong tobacco breath...it kind of kill apetite.
But dear reader, if you even exist, if you go to Salutorget pay a visit to the toilets, build in the former safe of the bank. Maybe some of the coolest toilets in Helsinki.
And totally another story is their Afternoon Tea, that rocks! The service at the bar, where The Afternoon Tea is served, is probably the best in the whole Helsinki. But that deserves it's own story.