It was in Stockholm that I first met Filip and Linda Langhoff – the owners of Ravintola Ask, which is the proper Finish name of the place. To be precise, it was after the launch party of the new Nordic Cities Michelin guide. Somehow I ended up at one-Michelin-star restaurant Volt with Arve from Noma, Esben from Maaemo and his girl, Rasmus and Sasu from the Helsinki restaurant Chef & Sommelier which I will write about next.
After Volt we took a taxi to the late night chef’s hangout Babette in Roslagsgatan. I was talking to Sasu most of the night. He is such a humble and nice guy, and in addition to being a chef and restaurateur, he is also a proper foodie who travels and gets inspiration all over the world. After some time we were joined by Filip and Linda from Ask, and I was struck by their similar characteristics to Sasu. So humble and nice, and easy to get to know. That night we decided there was no excuse, I had to get to Helsinki for the first time in my life.
This was all the way back in June when I was writing at Two Foodies Eating. You can read Andrea’s take on the night here. We had booked Ask the first night, just a few hours after we landed at the airport. I did not know where my expectations should be, neither for this place nor for Chef & Sommelier the following night. All I knew was that they had one Michelin star each, and they both did New Nordic cuisine with a focus on organic, local produce and foraging.
We were celebrating Andrea’s birthday, so there was never a doubt about having the full menu with the complete wine pairings. I love when restaurants have a simple menu, but keep surprising you with a lot of small snacks and extra dishes. That is exactly what Ask did, to a great extent. So many interesting ingredients and new flavors were placed in front of us, we were just in awe! On top of that, they were exemplary at providing gluten-free options to Andrea in every serving.
By the time the actual menu servings started I was already in love with this place. In addition to their impressive food, they have a great atmosphere in the beautifully decorated restaurant, wonderful waiters and sommeliers who pay close attention to you, and a great eye for detail in stuff like the ceramics work they use. I would say that almost every dish deserved its place in the meal, and the wines they served were all of the excellent quality and good matches.
Filip and Linda remembered our short meeting back in Stockholm, and came out to speak with us during the night. Filip used to be the head chef for many years at restaurant Feinschmecker in Oslo. Linda has worked as a sommelier for many years, also in Oslo for some time, and she is responsible for matching the wines to Filip’s cooking. Together they make a great team! Ask is a must-visit when in Helsinki. I can’t wait to go back.
Have you been to Helsinki? Which restaurants did you visit? Please do leave a comment below.