Have you heard about the newest addition to Helsinki’s food scene? WILD, located in the center of Helsinki, offers a peek into the taste of Finnish wilderness. How about some reindeer heart, vinegar extracted in a log, cep toffee or spruce flavored buns?
The vegan-friendly restaurant and café WILD offers handpicked, seasonal, wild Finnish food, which is quite trendy at the moment. Many restaurants combine wild food in their menus, mushroom and wild herb picking courses are popular and people are becoming more and more interested in local food and a sustainable lifestyle.
WILD’s food is not just wild but involves carefully selected flavor combinations that are exotic even to the Finns. Every dish has some kind of a wild twist. The greatest and most surprising thing about WILD is that you can experience fine dining at reasonable prices, every day.
WILD's Edgar Reppanen and Jouni Toivanen Photo: Natalia Tolmatsova
Food experts behind WILD are bursting with new ideas
The masterminds behind WILD are Michelin star chef Jouni Toivanen, inventor of the Harvest Calendar Samuli Karjula, Edgar Reppanen, a chef known from restaurant Grön, and café manager Kati Dolkart. Toivanen and Karjula are always creating something novel. These men are known for their egg-centric fast food restaurant EGG in Helsinki. They recently developed, together with Jalotofu, a vegan alternative for the egg. Vegg has almost the same nutritional values as an egg and it is already sold in select grocery stores. You can read more about Vegg from here (in Finnish). This fall, they are also publishing a book, which will include seasonal food recipes for kids.
Your next lunch is a "Ramen" bowl in Finnish style
Food spoilage is the biggest problem in the restaurant business, and WILD aims to tackle it head-on. WILD’s lunch, which is served from Monday to Saturday, is centered around a broth. The base for the broth is made from the skin of a coffee bean, which would otherwise go to waste. Spices for the broth come from Finnish nature: spruce, wild herbs, and mushrooms. Toivanen describes the lunch as a Finnish take on the “Ramen” bowl.
This lunch bowl consists of broth, seasonal vegetables, such as kohlrabi, carrots or pickled cucumber, and proteins like reindeer heart, forest mushrooms, wild duck or wild fish. The dish is topped with a quality egg and some sprouts to finish. They also offer a vegan alternative. WILD also serves breakfast dishes such as sandwiches and porridge.
Finnish food with a wild twist
WILD’s ingredients come from small producers. For example, their mushrooms and berries are handpicked by Toivanen and Reppanen. All items offered in the restaurant and café are essential Finnish products, such as Karelian pasties and buns, but with a wild twist. One of the specialties is chocolate with larvae.
Later this autumn, the restaurant and café will offer dinners in TRE’s premises. Meals are built around changing themes, such as the Baltic Sea, the forest, and hunting. These intimate dinners will include several courses and drinks, costing 150 euros. You can buy tickets to the dinners directly on WILD’s website, here.
The beers served at WILD are curated by Pien, a beer shop specializing in small breweries. Wines are chosen by Soil Wine Room. WILD’s coffee comes from Good Life Coffee, a small roastery in Helsinki. WILD also offers homemade juices, drinks, and candies.
WILD restaurant and café is open Monday–Friday 8.30–19.00, Saturday 11.00–18.00. You can find it from the TRE concept store, Mikonkatu 6. You can check the lunch menu and the latest news from WILD's Facebook page, here.
Text: Vilma Heimonen
Photos: WILD & Natalia Tolmatsova (White Trash Disease)