With the two of us finally reunited in Helsinki after the move, we decided to celebrate by stepping into the town’s foodie scene and have a date night with some fancy-yet-affordable(ish) food. At the recommendation of our friend Lauri, we headed to Wino. Wino is located in Helsinki’s Kallio district, which like Berlin’s Neukölln, New York’s Brooklyn, or Chicago’s Wicker Park is a former working class neighborhood that has been taken over by students and creative industry workers. And with gentrification comes not only new clientele for the local dive bars, but also new restaurants (we will have a look at Kallio as a whole when we celebrate Karusmäki’s Calamari Union).
Wino, as the name implies, is a wine bar and restaurant. While “wino” is a general term for a drunkard, their logo makes it clear that Wino is named in honor of one the most infamous decisions on the long list of stupid tattoo ideas: Johnny Depp covering up a tattoo declaring his everlasting love for Winona Ryder to read “Wino Forever”. The concept is very much in line with what’s en vogue these days: High quality dishes with a focus on local ingredients, served as “sharing size” tapas portions. The intent is to both liberate the kitchen staff from the constraints of a traditional x-course menu, and to encourage sharing and conversation between diners.
At a nicely-set table in the front of the two guest rooms, friendly staff helped us select a nice wine and explained the sharing system more - even the five-course meal is intended to be shared and combined, not eaten in sequence. And of course there are dishes for every taste and dietary style - meat, fish and vegetarian.