A couple friday’s ago we went to Hel Yes! which is a pop up restaurant commissioned and produced by the Finnish Institute in London for London Design week. The design of the restaurant was amazing, but for a food focused blog I feel I’ve talked about design enough this week.
The reason I wanted to mention it was of course because of the food! The menu was very small (being a pop up restaurant the kitchen was tiny with three chefs and I can’t imagine they could accommodate a massive choice). Starters were either beetroot with sour cream, something with anchovies, or Ox tongue. I went for the Ox tongue. I remember growing up in the Canadian prairies in the local supermarket they use to sell what must have been cow tongue. It was absolutely disgusting sitting there on a pink foam plate and wrapped in cellophane. As I sat there waiting for my dish I kept thinking about those grotesque giant tongues. However, I also remembered that the buffalo in the prairies were also wiped out for their prized tongues. Fields of the dead animals would be left with just their tongues removed (sort of similar to the atrocities surrounding shark fin soup these days I suppose). There must be something to it. I was presented with a very tender light brown round (why did they leave it round?!) portion of meat served with greens, cabbage and a vinaigrette. It was very melt in the mouth tender, and quite delicate. However, as I ate it I have to admit I was slightly grossed out and even though it was fine I just can’t get over the thought of eating tongue.
My main was much tamer being a wild mushroom hash. My fiancee got lambs neck as he doesn’t eat mushrooms and I forget what the third option was but it was also something he wasn’t interested in so he was stuck with the neck. He was pretty much freaking out over it and it arrived kind of looking like a slice of neck (long and thin). However, it too was good having been slow cooked to perfection.
We left with some new found meat knowledge, and an appreciation of Finland food and design. It was also pretty special being there and being part of the restaurant experience. The designers did an excellent job making you feel like you were part of something new, exciting and special.
The little book that you got to keep included quite a few recipes from cabbage rolls to bread (no tongue). It’s not the usual type of food that I would cook, but the mood may strike me some day.
Images from the Hel Yes! Magazine
From the page with the Karelian Hot Pot Recipe
Decor: Exciting and trendy Food: Simple but well executed with a heavy focus on little used meats Price: GBP 22 for two courses which is about expected Good For: Well, it’s not good for much as it’s no longer open but if they do it again next year I would recommend it!
Originally from the prairies and now in Montreal, I love exploring new places, eating great food and modern design. I'm mom of two wild things and paper and cake make me happy.
Photographing your cutie family would make me very happy.