Pelmeni are Russian-style dumplings – and also the signature dish of Pelmenit (in Finnish the plural of pelmeni) is a little Ukrainian restaurant near our apartment.

A colleague raved to me about this restaurant, and I soon found that many people have given Pelmenit good reviews (for example, see here, herehere and here – you may want to use Google translate for the latter two sites).

Brigitte and Jesse debating the relative merits of the stroganoff (left) and the borscht (right)

 

Jesse, Brigitte and I headed across to Pelmenit (only a few minutes walk from our corner of Kallio), and were a little disappointed to find the restaurant full. The staff were, however, willing to make a plan, and offered us a table booked for later in the evening (I’ll phone and book a table next time…). We ordered four different dishes, so that we’d be able to taste a variety of things – since the servings were fairly large this was a mistake (and we all waddled home after over-eating!). The food was excellent – I’ve never eaten Ukrainian or Russian food before, but I’m quite taken by it now.

Pelmeni with yogurt and chili sauces (top) and seljanka soup (bottom)

 

I think our clear favourite was the borst (also spelt borscht) – this hot soup is a deep red colour from the beetroot that is its main ingredient, with lovely flavours coming from the other two main ingredients (beef and cabbage). I also really enjoyed to mildly spicy seljanka (also spelt solyanka) – olives and lemon gave this pork broth unexpected (and excellent) flavours. Of course, we also tried the pelmenit – good, but not as highly recommended as the soups. Finally, Jesse and Brigitte both rated the stoganoff highly.

The prices were very reasonable (average main €10) – as I’ve not been to any other restaurants serving this type of fare, I’ll have to take the word of another Helsinki-based blog (WeLoveHelsinki) when they said that “affordable Russian restaurants in Helsinki are a little illegal” – i.e. your not going to find such good value for you money at many other Russian eateries in this city. Furthermore, the staff were friendly and efficient, the portions well sized, and the atmosphere enjoyable. Some might complain that there are no starters or deserts – I would say that when the mains are this good, you don’t need to worry about other courses!

Overall, it’s a place we’re planning on returning to!

[Pelmenit is situated at Kustaankatu 7 and their phone number is 041 783 9069]