If you managed to catch my post a few weeks ago, A Peek Inside Helsinki's Hotel Haven, you will have read that Scott and I ate out at the quirky-named Grotesk restaurant & bar in Helsinki. It's not often that we get the opportunity to nip across to Helsinki for an evening and so when we do, we usually like to make the most of it by scouring out an interesting place to fill up on good food and cocktails.
It was Scott who suggested that we try Grotesk. Situated in the centre of town, it's a stone's throw from the Hotel Haven in which we were staying, and came highly recommended by one of his work colleagues. It's fair to say our expectations were high.
Our table was booked for 8pm and we arrived in good time, tummies rumbling and ready to fill up after a day's shopping. The decor was very much to my tastes, bar the large display of meat in the middle of the dining area - veggies stay away!
Once we had taken our seats, Scott buried himself in the menu whilst I tucked into the drinks list from the adjacent cocktail bar. I had already set my heart on the 180g Wagyu flank steak and Scott opted for secreto of Iberico pork. We ordered triple cooked french fries, grilled broccoli with Parmesan and house onion rings for sides, along with Bearnaise and smoked bourbon sauces for the meat.
Whilst we waited for our food to be prepared, Scott and I chatted over drinks. The tables seemed to be quite squashed together and so we also unintentionally eavesdropped on our neighbouring diners' conversation too. The cocktails however; were delicious! I ordered a strange, sherbet drink and I really wish I'd taken a photograph of it because it was seriously good.
Our food came on a sharing platter with our sides in individual bowls. It was different to what we expected and not your usual set up but a great idea for those that like to share their courses. Our food arrived without the sauces and we had to wait several minutes, (and failed attempts at bringing us what we had ordered) before we could tuck in.
The steak was incredible. The menu states that the meat is cooked medium rare as standard which is exactly how I like it. The meat was juicy, tender and packed full of flavour. It's just a shame there wasn't more as Scott ended up tucking into it too. According to Scott, the pork was disappointing. It was far too fatty for his tastes and he therefore ended up leaving the vast majority of it. The veg was nice, the fries tasty and the onion rings greasy beyond enjoyable. We left those.
The overshadowing memory of Grotesk was not the quirky name, the delicious steak or the cosy, intimate dining setting, but the disappointingly poor service that we received. Despite it seeming like there were enough members of staff to cater for the, not-overly large restaurant, we were left without drinks on several occasions. Scott resorted to leaving his seat and placing our drinks order directly with the bar which isn't the sort of service you expect when you're paying around 30 Euros per main course with sides on top of that.
We left without bothering with dessert and headed back to the bar at our hotel for drinks before calling it a night.
I'm of mixed feelings about Grotesk. I just wish the service had lived up to expectations as I would definitely return for the steak and sherbet cocktails in a heat beat!