Uudenmaakatu is one of those busy streets in Helsinki center that have a nice collection of restaurants. Restaurant Penny has just opened here, a daughter restaurant of Trattoria Sogno in Töölö.
The owners, Pia and Mikko Olanterä, took their key members of staff to New York to test the waters. They ended up deciding that an East coast style eatery would be a welcome addition to Helsinki, but with a Finnish twist.
They have now created this small 25 seat restaurant on Uudenmaakatu 13 with a short menu of locally produced high quality raw materials. The result is a short selection of starters, mains and deserts that are based on the season and the choice of their chefs.
The evening that we were there, my wife and I tested two thirds of the menu. Our starters were roasted cauliflower and goat cheese mousse, for her, and pork cheek with horseradish, for me. This warm cauliflower dish on a bed of beetroot colored rice and cheese mouse was delicious. I would have liked to taste more but my wife demanded that her dish be left in peace. The pork cheek was also a fine starter with a combination of meat and crunchy onion and horseradish. In enjoyed a clean-tasting glass of their beer (Klisch?) and my wife enjoyed a glass of their house dry white wine.
Our main courses were the fried sea bass with duchesse potatoes and a creamy vegetable root sauce for me and gnocchis with sage and crisp wild cep mushrooms for her. Again, it looked good and tasted really good!
We skipped deserts although we could see that the rest of the customers were enjoying them… lucky folks.
This is a small intimate place with friendly and professional waiters and excellent chefs. The price for two guests with a beer and wine is around 75€ – reasonable when considering the high quality of the food and wine.