Chef Sami Tallberg, regarded as Finland’s leading foraging specialist, has collaborated with the Finnish Design Shop on a new foraged food restaurant located at the company’s logistics centre in the middle of a forested nature reserve.
Foraging is a skill many would like to have in their arsenal, particularly in these times of rising costs. However, it is easier said than done, as the secret is knowing what is safe to eat because if you make a mistake, there may be trouble ahead!
As with most things in life, knowledge is key, and someone who knows a lot about nature’s bounty is Chef Sami Tallberg (below), who will be introducing delicious natural flavours to a new generation of gourmands via his new restaurant.
Most new restaurants tend to base themselves in built-up urban areas; however, in Finland, things are done a little differently. The location for Chef Tallberg’s new restaurant is a logistic centre in a Finnish forest, which can best be described as being in the middle of nowhere.
The logistics centre belongs to the Finnish Design Shop, a leading online store selling Nordic design on behalf of more than 300 design brands in more than 180 countries, and it is rapidly becoming a popular destination for design and food enthusiasts.
Finnish Design Shop’s logistic centre is located in a forest, adjacent to the Pomponrahka nature reserve and close to the Finnish west-coast city of Turku. The complex comprises a logistics centre, offices, a showroom, and now a foraged cafeteria and restaurant specialising in serving wild foods for the staff and visitors.
Avanto Architects designed the building exterior, and the building interior is by Studio Joanna Laajisto. “The forest is a hugely important element in the Nordic lifestyle. It was also a source of inspiration for both our restaurant and our new logistics centre”, said Teemu Kiiski, the owner and CEO of the Finnish Design Shop.
It’s not only the location that makes this new restaurant so intriguing; it’s what’s on the menu, which will act as a showcase for Chef Sami Tallberg’s weird, wild and original approach to cuisine, which focuses on improving one’s mind, body and soul.
For example, one of the unique foraged foods used in the dishes is birch sap, which comes directly from the forest to the logistics centre. In addition, the new restaurant also makes liberal use of wild herbs, berries and mushrooms for its winter menu.
Chef Tallberg said, “We picked wild mushrooms in autumn and preserved them by drying, salting, and pickling. We also use local professional foragers from whom we have bought mushrooms and other wild ingredients. The roots of common polypody are perfect for winter dishes, as they go well with Tuscan or regular kale, potatoes, and Jerusalem artichoke, in addition to beets, parsnip, pike, deer, elk – and many others.”
Probably the healthiest drink in the world is tea, and the best are made using untouched natural ingredients. It’s an area Chef Tallberg knows well, and for his teas, he chooses to use only the best foraged wild herbs. This philosophy also extends to his desserts, where he incorporates frozen wild-rose petals and dried meadowsweet blossoms in many of them.
As you would expect in a restaurant located in a forest within a nature reserve, the outdoors is the inspiration for the restaurant’s interior.
The designer Joanna Laajisto has used solid pine and Ashwood for the offices and cafeteria-restaurant interiors. She designed many of the tables and much of the seating herself and has complemented the wooden furniture with colourful furniture from the Finnish Design Shop’s collection.
Three-meter-high doorways and large windows create a feeling of lightness and space, and the design pays extra attention to the acoustics of the whole building to create a soft and calm atmosphere.
“For years now, I’ve been developing my food philosophy that combines my Wild, Weird & Wonderful approach with affecting the wellbeing of the mind, body and soul through food choices”, said Chef Tallberg. “The location of our restaurant is a logistics centre. It is almost like the test laboratorium of the Nordic balanced lifestyle, combining both design and food.”
Read more dining news, guides and features here.