June 3, 2012 by yc
Crystal Clear Wonderwater in Kiasma
By YC Felin
Amidst strutting high heels and flashing sunglasses, the bright smiles are back on the previously grim faces. Feel the pulsating summer beat of Helsinki. Liberated from the thick heavy coats and somber colors of winter, the locals are going poco loco!
Wearing high heels can be tiresome, so it is time for refreshments. Daniela’s little boy Noa decides not to go to kindergarten today, and I meet the trio at the modern art museum Kiasma to test their new design menu. The Wonderwater Café, located in the Café Kiasma, is a temporary design project that visualizes the use of water for restaurant visitors by highlighting the amount of water used in the dishes. The project was launched the first time in the Beijing Design Week 2011 and after Helsinki it will be continued in the London Design Festival. A combination of the water footprint awareness and good food? I say yes.
Little Noa is hungry and the waitress recommends the reindeer wrap. Noa, usually a happy eater of all sorts, doesn’t care for the wrap. Daniela promises to take him to the Subway later and orders a traditional Finnish pastry, butter eye bun, for him. The butter eye bun is not freshly baked, which is not surprising as local bakeries are near extinction. Nowadays people are used to buying their bread in plastic bags from supermarkets and the freshly baked items are actually thawed-and-sold. Misty-eyed Daniela recalls the mornings in Brazil where the tantalizing scents from the local bakeries reclaimed the streets while I feel nostalgic remembering the wobbly and crispy egg tarts in Hong Kong.
The arrival of our dishes returns us back to here and now. Daniela has Saltimbocca alla Romana (19,5 EUR) with portobello ravioli and veal tenderloin. My dishes are two appetizers: smoked vendace (6,5 EUR) and fresh asparagus with pistachio polenta (6,5 EUR). Daniela is somewhat satisfied with the veal, which is slightly chewy, but the ravioli, those tasty little pockets, surprises us all. Daniela keeps raving that it is the best ravioli she has ever had. The dish would work well with just ravioli and the sauce, leaving out the veal.
Saltimbocca alla Romana – parma ham and sage rolled in veal tenderloin accompanied by portobello ravioli and white wine sauce
Happy with my fresh asparagus and a perfectly poached egg, I fall in love with the pistachio polenta, which I could have eaten a whole plateful of. The vendace are tender with a strong smoky flavor and they are accompanied with vegetable crisps that are clearly ready bought, I’m guessing the brand Terra Mediterranean. Craving for something sweet I have the rhubarb compote and toffee ice cream with meringue (4,5 EUR). The taste of licorice accentuates the meringue nicely, have to remember to try this at home.
Fresh asparagus, tarragon, poached egg and fried pistachio polenta
Juicy rhubarb compote, toffee ice cream sprinkled with sour licorice meringue
The Café Kiasma has modern and fun interior design, with big windows letting in the precious sunlight and painting the view of busy Mannerheim Street. With lots of space to navigate, the café is a nice stop for families. The only problem is the long counter that traps the restaurant staff away from the diners. The barrier confuses the visitors even though there is a sign that says “Table service.” For example, we are sitting right in front of three staff members, trying to catch their eyes to ask them to heat up Liam’s food, but the counter makes an invisible wall between the staff and us.
After the meal we return to the menu to learn how much water we consumed. The veal with ravioli has the biggest footprint, 1577 liters. The rhubarb and ice cream use 150 liters and vendace 240 liters, though for the vendace itself the footprint is zero. It is hard to grasp the amount of water used, so we are more interested in the original locations of the ingredients. I never knew that Israel exports cinnamon or that asparagus comes from Peru.
The funniest thing is that the dish with the second lowest footprint on the menu is the sweet and sour coconut soup that uses only 175 liters. Another good reason to have soup more often in the daily diet: healthier body and a cleaner conscience.
Great location, inspiring space.
Several baby seats to choose from. Two of them are Star Trek-themed, designed by Stefan Lindroos.
A comfortable nursing table for babies next to the coat racks.
The restaurant staff reacts slowly as they are behind the counter a lot.
No kids’ menu.
One comment on “Crystal Clear Wonderwater in Kiasma”
Leave a Reply