Late Night Drinking
May 11, 2018
The antithesis of its moniker (oddly taken from the name of a font that isn’t actually used on the venue’s sign) Grotesk is a swish bar/restaurant bordering Helsinki’s bustling commercial heart and its hip design district. The brainchild of Finnish chefs Teemu Aura and Tommi Tuominen, who first teamed up to open Helsinki’s Michelin-stared restaurant Demo (Uudenmaankatu 9-11) back in 2003, Grotesk was always going to be a great venue. But with its friendlier prices and laidback(ish) ambience, it’s also much more accessible to regular folk than the hallowed halls of its sister restaurant. Located in a grand building that used to house the Helsinki daily newspaper Sanomat, the front room of Grotesk acts as a chic lounge bar, with a restaurant and terrace area out back. Furnished in warm chocolate hues with splashes of white, black and red, minimalist design is king, but candlelit tables help to soften the mood. Served in vintage glasses, the cocktails are beautifully mixed, and there’s a very good wine list here, though it’s best to order by the bottle, as single glasses can get expensive. If you’re staying on for dinner, superb Finnish fusion fare from well-travelled chef Ari Ruoho is the order of the day here, with nary a herring in sight (well, maybe just the odd one this is Finland after all). If you’re feeling adventurous, opt for the chef’s menu just be sure to let your server know if your palate has any imitations; the dishes here are particularly inventive.