Old faithful— Helsinki


The Sea Horse warms hearts with its simple Finnish comfort food. Here’s how to cook a cosy feast.

Anna Liisa Paukku, Ari Väresmaa, Beef steak à la Sea Horse, Eetu Seivo, Eira, Kai Brandt, Kimmo Kaivanto, Oili Syvälähde, Petri Laitinen, Salmon soup

In the well-heeled Helsinki neighbourhood of Eira is the Sea Horse restaurant, a stalwart of the Finnish capital. Since opening in 1934 it’s been serving the kind of Finnish comfort food that still makes it a popular spot today. However, not everything was always so rosy. In the late 1990s the restaurant had become a run-down drinking hole and almost closed down. “News spread that the restaurant was in dire straits and up for sale. We couldn’t see such a landmark die – we had to save it,” says restaurateur Petri Laitinen, who stepped in and bought…

Recipe 1 (Serves four)

Salmon soup


6 potatoes
2 onions
800ml water
10 whole allspice berries
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp fish stock powder
400g salmon fillet (cut into cubes)
1 bay leaf
200ml cream
3 tbsp dill

How to do it

  1. Peel and cube the potatoes and onions, boil in the water with the spices, bay leaf and stock until almost done.

  2. Remove the skin and bones from the salmon and cut into 2cm cubes.

  3. When the potatoes and onions have thickened the water, add the cream and salmon cubes to the pan and simmer for approximately five minutes.

  4. Finally add dill and serve with rye bread and butter.

Recipe 2 (Serves four)

Beef steak à la Sea Horse


Approx 800g sirloin steak
6 large onions
2 tsp salt
½ tsp white pepper
2-3 tbsp sugar
2 pickled cucumbers
200ml sour cream
A handful of watercress

How to do it

  1. Trim steak and cut into four equal pieces.

  2. Hammer steaks until just over 1cm thick.

  3. Peel and slice the onions and fry them with the white pepper, sugar and salt.

  4. Cut the pickled cucumbers lengthwise into four slices each.

  5. Cook the steaks to your liking and place the onion on top of the steaks. Top with cucumbers and sour cream, garnish with watercress and serve with roasted veg.


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