Restaurant review | No portions to share and no starters – the southern Helsinki restaurant is suitable for those who are curious about food trends

Bistro Ingrid trusts in the power of the classics. No innovations are made in the kitchen of the uncomplicated neighborhood restaurant, but there is something even more important.

Bistro Ingrid


Where? Vuorimiehenkatu 18.

When? Wed–Fri 16–23, Sat 2–23.

How much? Appetizers 13–15 e, main courses 16–25 e, desserts 8–9 e.

When the espresso has been drunk, the bill paid and the dog of the couple sitting on the terrace in the evening said goodbye, I start walking towards home. The idea takes shape at the fourth step: Bistro Ingrid is exactly the kind of restaurant I would like to take my mother to.

My mother is a foodie through and through, but the ever-accelerating food trends of today sometimes make her strange. He wants the restaurant to have uncomplicated, well-made food, a somewhat central European atmosphere and friendly service. No portions to share and no starters.

Just such a restaurant is the small Bistro Ingrid, which opened in Ullanlinna in March. It does not offer exciting surprises, on the contrary. Ingrid’s menu consists mostly of ancient classics. The same dishes have been served in restaurants in Helsinki and Paris already a hundred years ago. There is créme ninonia (French pea puree soup), asparagus with hollandaise sauce, clams sailor-style and croque monsieur.

“It will be an indescribably good feeling.”

Ingrid is a bold venture, a completely private small restaurant. Its host is presented on the site’s website Antti Larmola, who has previously worked in restaurants in Suomenlinna, among others. Larmola personally cooks in the kitchen on the evenings of both test visits. His handprint is mostly impeccable, although there are hardly any surprises or own ideas in the dishes.

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Créme Ninon smoothes the inside of the mouth with its creaminess, but the sopa still retains the characteristic taste of peas. Asparagus is also cooked to a crisp, and the hollandaise somehow manages to be both completely recognizable and fluffy in its texture – and what’s even more surprising, its flavor profile is elegantly spicy.

The new bistro also has an outdoor terrace with a few tables.

The main dishes evoke more conflicting moods. I order croque chevre, i.e. warm goat cheese bread.

The rich taste of goat’s cheese is so strong that it needs something to counterbalance, sour or sweet. Now grilled cheese bread is just grilled cheese bread and unfortunately a bit on the dry side. On the other hand, whitefish with abalone sauce is a delight: the fish is cooked nicely, and the sauce literally exudes a forest flavor.

Something however, the breakdown of food components seems almost irrelevant this time. Restaurant reviews often focus on describing food portions or, for example, wines in detail. Of course, they are important points, but they never fully reach what, for lack of a better word, could be called, for example, the soul of a restaurant.

You know: in some places you just get an indescribably good feeling. Bistro Ingrid is such a place.

It’s hard to analyze what it all comes from. For example, the atmosphere conveyed by the staff is certainly related to this. Bistro Ingrid’s service is unusually immediate and friendly, but not rote. When the waiter describes Domaene Gobelsburg’s Grüner Veltliner wine, he uses relevant adjectives, but also says in a disarming way that “it’s so wonderful, just my favorite”.

Another important point is the music. For years, Antti Larmola has collected records from flea markets and record stores’ vinyl racks to play in the restaurant he will one day establish. Now that day has come. Vinyl records play in Ingrid About Marcia Aitken to The Human League and to Roy Orbison. They decorate the walls Eeva-Leena Eklundin wildly colorful paintings, and otherwise the milieu is a charmingly gestural combination of Kaurismäki and Paris. An actor is framed above the bar counter Ingrid Bergman black and white photograph.

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Ingrid, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

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