Unexpected sunny days call for impromptu excursions outside the city. One fine afternoon I found myself in Tikkurila – home to Heureka Science Center – and what I assumed to be not much else. However, I was taken aback by the large scale of construction going on there, and it seems Tikkurila is a budding, up-and-coming (small-scale) inland empire.
The reason for my journey was Sushilounge. Sushilounge is an Okinawan and a Finn who partnered up to create an impressive take on Pacific cuisine, and congrats to Shugo and Ville! I watched these guys slave over every minute detail while preparing to open this place, and with each bite I immediately appreciate the effort they bring to the table. The lunch selection is diverse, ranging from Okinawan soba noodle with slow-boiled pork to rice bowls topped with unagi (glazed eel). Don’t fret! You will find some familiarity in the maki and sashimi department, or perhaps some bravery to try new combinations! In addition to the food, Sushilounge offers a modest and tasteful selection of wine and bottled beer. The interior is modern and clean, allowing the food to take centre stage under watchful bamboo palms…another total plus!
Happily full, a chat was in order….
Shugo and I casually chatted over coffee. He mentioned the challenges of opening a restaurant in Finland – as a foreigner – and his desire to create a welcoming and memorable experience for people. He described himself as incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to share his Okinawan heritage abroad, while delighting Finnish palettes young and old.
On what keeps Shugo going as a chef:
“It’s the mutual discovery between the customer and myself. I subtly introduce new concepts and combinations to our returning clientele, and experiment with different ideas. Bringing new flavors to Finnish palettes – that makes me passionate about what I’m doing. I remember being in Finland 15 years ago as an exchange student in High School – there were NO sushi restaurants…a lot has changed, and I am happy to be a part of that change.”
On Sushilounge being featured in a “top picks” Helsingin Sanomat article:
“Yes! We got an unexpected call from Helsingin Sanomat discussing the article – and of course we’re overjoyed! It will be about places to eat while traveling through Finland – and we were Tikkurila’s pick! We are so grateful and happy to have some advertising around Helsinki – and that people like our food!”
Engage these guys in a conversation and see where it leads – go outside your comfort zone and digest the pleasures of “slightly outside Helsinki.” My unplanned sojourn tickled all of my taste buds, and left me salivating for more. I will be coming back to Sushilounge to collect more of what the owners promise – great pacific cuisine with a side of atmosphere.