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“Off the beaten path”
Review of Ask

Ask
Ranked #32 of 1,522 Restaurants in Helsinki
Certificate of Excellence
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: After-hours, Reservations
Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Level 6 Contributor
239 reviews
111 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“Off the beaten path”
Reviewed 18 November 2013

This restaurant was a little difficult to locate. We walked to the restaurant from our hotel and walked right past it. The signage is not very good. However, the food is very good. The restaurant is on the smaller scale and very intimate. The one thing that we did not care for is that at this restaurant the chef selects your courses. I am very picky and for the price you are paying, I was a little taken back by this. We did tell our waitress what we did not want and she did not bring out those courses but I’m not sure how that went over in the kitchen. If you like different types of food and do not mind not selecting your own courses, I would recommend you try this restaurant.

  • Visited September 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank KarenM1_10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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201 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Traditional) first
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • Finnish first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Japanese first
  • Norwegian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Helsinki, Finland
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Good meal, but at price”
Reviewed 16 November 2013

We had a dinner together with another couple a week ago. The atmosphere is nice and the atmosphere quite cosy and intimate.

The restaurant offers either a five (or four?) or eight meal trear, and the various dishes are on the menu. You just choose the number of dishes you have and the main course - the rest will follow at kitchen's discretion. Would have been nice to know that this is the case as we spent some time on choosing the meals. Also, would have been nice to check allergies or any dislikings.

The service was good, but not excellent. A slight scent of arrogance came through though at times, for example not explaining the concept in detail when we ordered the food. The owners are Swedish speaking though and we were served in Finnish, so this could explain part of the issue.

We took the wine package and the wines were good. The stories attached to the wines were quite nice first, but started to sound very similar (and one even a bit pathetic).

Certainly not the best value for money in Helsinki. Despite the food being quite good, the prices are a bit excessive.

In the absense of more personal and attentive service, I doubt there will be many regulars, so by 2015 when the have ridden the tide, there will be something new in the premises.

  • Visited November 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Mixu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
North Vancouver, Canada
Level 1 Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Best Meal Experience”
Reviewed 5 October 2013

I don't make the claim of "best meal ever" lightly but this one truly deserves it. The last meal that got that title held it for about 10 years. If you want tons of selection, cheap food or huge plates then this restaurant is not for you. However, what I did have was a fabulous 4 course meal selected by the chef made from local ingredients. The day I was there, there were only 8 items on the menu and I assume this is standard. You can choose the 8 courses or 4 courses. If you choose the 8 course meal then you get everything on the menu. If you choose the 4 course option then the chef chooses what you get. They also throw in some amuse bouches in between. Every round was simply amazing and I will go back for sure.

  • Visited October 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Stefan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
9 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Designer dishes leave you hungry”
Reviewed 25 August 2013

Food is great, presented beautifully and the service is fantastic. We did the four course tasting plus the wine pairings which cost us each EUR105. Despite the delicious and creative dishes I must admit that I was disappointed by the portions for the price. I recognize that Helsinki itself is expensive but I left feeling like I had filled up on bread instead of the delicious food. This is a fun one-off event for a foodie but I probably would not return given the price tag for the portions.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Canadian_Abroad416
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level 3 Contributor
20 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
“Foodie Fun”
Reviewed 14 August 2013

Ask was about a year old at the time of writing, so it's not featured in the Rough Guide or other tourist maps and things you're given as you wander around Helsinki. The restaurant seems almost to encourage that understated status - you'd really want to know where it is because there's no signage on the exterior of No. 8 Vironkatu (a turn left off Mariankatu, which you'll pick up just past the Presidential Palace at the end of the market square).

First things first - this is a funfair ride, so you have to give yourself up to the experience. You get a four or eight course tasting menu for your 55 or 85 Euro respectively. Asking what was on the menu when I called, I was told 'We don't know - chef's still down at the market'. If you think that response is a good thing, you'll love Ask. For another 50 (or 80) Euro, you can buy into the wine selection to accompany the menu. That's pricey, even by Finnish standards, but having gone through the wines I'd say it was reasonable value for money.

One of our table of two doesn't do fish or game I explained when I booked. No problem, they told us and we chatted about what she does like. We pitched and were sat at a table for two at the back (great - the other one was near the door, which was open to a chilly, rainy August evening) in the almost starkly minimalist restaurant - tiny, with a total of 26 covers. Drinks? A Vodka Martini ordered, only to find that we were in the grip of the Organically Minded. No Martini although we could have a vodka and some wholesome fruit juices. Right, then - we'll take the organic champagne from Vertus instead, which was lovely.

The four course menu, which most around us took that night, was brought out by the chef owner himself, with the efficient service from the waitress limited to explaining (at some length) and pouring the wine, clearing plates and offering bread. Each course was introduced, again at length. This is all part of the performance and the best thing to do is sit back and enjoy it. Order your main and they'll do the rest. If you're frustrated by the limitation, don't play - you'll just end up frustrated and muttering. If you're willing to give it all up and go along with the game, fling yourself in with a whoop.

An amuse bouche, a vegetable stock foam with herbs. Delicate, surprising and fun but served with clunky wooden spoons that somehow didn't suit the precision of the dish. And now we have a green salad, little leaves and flowers sprinkled on a cut glass dish with little dabs of a rich, creamy dressing and a spray of elderflower dressing pumped by chef as he chatted then sprayed over the collection. Our first wine, German and surprisingly dry for all that. The combination was sensational. One flower was a little camphorous, something medicinal in there, a hint of coal tar. What was it? Yarrow, of course. Of course.

The second course, a Riesling (if memory serves) - again, complex and drier than expected - accompanying, was 'egg, roots and buckwheat'. We're playing, of course, it's altogether more complex. A moment of fear from the fussy eater opposite as an egg yolk is spied sitting on top of the rich and meaty-tasting (but no meat involved) buckwheat porridge. She don't like runny eggs. But no, the sunset-orange yolk was cooked to perfection, just firm and yet tender and yielding. The roots, painfully young (it was a guilty vegetarian pleasure, a little like eating veggy veal. We were giggling about the idea that hard-core vegetarians would be demoing outside this place within the year about cruelty to young beets), were tender and their little sprigs crisp and salty - a parsnip and carrot (both the size of a delicate lady's little finger) along with a tiny beet and some crispy wisps of green and a drizzle of oil finished off the tiny dish. It was grin-inducing perfection, a variety of flavours and textures that absorbed and entertained.

You'd almost ask for the Curly-Wurly at this point.

A pause, some conversation. The rain started to come down hard and, finally, the front door was closed against the chill. The main - chicken (rooster, in fact) was served across from me as a result of our chat on the phone. I had the wild duck. It was so wild I got a nice crunch of lead shot as proof. Introduced as wild duck, chanterelle and kale, the dish was a set of pink slices of rich duck breast cooked on the bone and served off, laid on a mild mustardy bed with fried kale and dabs of wild buckthorn. The plate could have been warmer, tell the truth. The rooster was perfection, served to the same accompaniments which didn't quite serve the lighter meat as well. However, a burned butter was poured over the chicken rather than the red jus with the duck and both were glorious. A Puligny Montrachet (organic, natch) with the chicken and a chilled French red - a Beaujolais as I remember, it was all becoming a bit of a procession of things by this point and I'm not quite pretentious enough to spoil a meal by taking notes - were both a welcome change from the German stuff and both were complex, fine wines that sat perfectly with the food.

We're happy and thoroughly relaxed by now, sitting back and chatting about the food. Because yes, it is all about the food. A wee dish of beetroot snow and red berries appears before little tulips of dessert wine appear followed by a dish of warm, crispy waffles surrounded by bilberries and sorrel leaves and topped with a scoop (chef allows himself a flourish by now as he serves it) of burned butter ice cream. Smashing - absolutely smashing.

Coffee (the filter system is introduced, the one time in a night of long introductions when I wanted to switch the patter off), Panamanian and organic of course. The cups are 1950s vintage Arabia porcelain. Fine, but don't feel you have to tell us that, dear. By now the intros are wearing thin. The receipt for your bill tonight is printed on handmade organic paper using squid ink from outer Carpathia. Sorry, wandered into over-introduction reverie there. Petits fours - a meringue, a little cream with a berry (a rare misstep, the cream was floury) and a tiny warm chocolate liquorice cake, the size of a thumbnail and reminiscent for some reason of one of Pierre Gagnaire's crazy little ginger biscuit with salt topping moments. A Finnish apple brandy for me and the evening rounded off by a walk home through the drizzle. I went to the toilet and came back to the brandy, thankfully missing its introduction.

If you're going to Helsinki, book this restaurant. Pay the price. Go with the flow, sit back and enjoy the theatre. It's worth every penny and every second. They could pare back the introductions a tad, perhaps. But that's just cavilling - we had no complaints at all really. An altogether remarkable meal.

  • Visited August 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
5 Thank AlexanderMcNabb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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