Salutorget oozes old-school sophistication. Housed in what was once a banking building, it’s incorporated some of the bank’s original features – such as its grand columns and vault doors – into its own design.
Its pièce de résistance however, has to be the amazing stained glass peacock window that greets you as you enter the restaurant. It gives the space an art nouveaux feel, and it’s a fantastic backdrop for a special afternoon tea experience.
Awed by the beauty of the building, our friendly waiter led us to our table as we took everything in, handing us our afternoon tea menus as we admired the pretty crockery and stylish restaurant design.
Afternoon Tea at Salutorget, Helsinki
Great tea selection
We began by perusing the tea selection, which offered a wide variety of green, white, and black teas as well as golden blends. Invited to smell the aroma of each from the display behind us, in the end we let our noses decide our choice of brew. I enjoyed the White Dynasty, while my stepson and partner played it safe with a Brit fave, the black tea Assam TGFOP. My daring stepdaughter, on the other hand, took a punt and enjoyed the Söderblandning blend, made up of Chinese and Ceylon black teas, seasoned with tropical flowers and fruit.
Regular and vegan afternoon tea choices
We’d been invited to try Salutorget’s vegan afternoon tea during our visit, so were lucky enough to try out both the main and vegan options the restaurant offers. When both were brought out, our waiter spent a good five minutes or so running us through our three-tiered trays.
As I’ve already dedicated a post to Salutorget’s vegan afternoon tea, here I’ll focus on Salutorget’s traditional afternoon tea spread, so you can see what both impressive menus have to offer!
The savoury tier
Starting with the savouries, we dived straight into a Finnish treat: toast skagen. This shrimp in seafood sauce, with fennel and roe on toast, was super tasty with a strong, but not overbearing flavour. The other ‘starters’ on offer included beautiful tartlets filled with a light salmon mousse; cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches; a truffle petit choux (which I was informed by my stepdaughter was like eating a cloud!); cheese quiches and smoked turkey and horseradish sandwiches.
Surprising tastes and textures
The last two both surprised us. The turkey filling was actually a delicious paste, gentle on the palate without any of the bitterness I’ve come to expect from horseradish. Whereas the quiche had a Scandic twist; made from a local cheese with a strong, ‘in your face’ flavour, the texture actually reminded me of a blondie: super gooey and impossible to eat without making a mess!
Slightly sad scones
Next we moved onto the scones. Sadly I found these tough and saltier than I’m used to, but with the tasty condiments they were easy to sweeten up. Jams included raspberry, chunky strawberry with fruit pieces, and apple and calvados, which my stepdaughter described as “tasting like Christmas”. The vanilla cream also went down a treat – so much so that we had to request a top up!
Finally, we’d made it to the biscuits and sweets, many of which we’d be eyeing up gleefully for the last hour or so. There was a large selection for us to work through (ah, such a hard life we lead!), which included Yorkshire fruitcake, delicious, crumbly white chocolate biscuits and melt-in-the-mouth macarons.
The bright pink marshmallows were a particular highlight, with their sugar coating adding a depth of texture, but the afternoon tea top spot has to go to Salutorget’s chocolate ganache cubes.
The smooth, rich, dark chocolate ganache with a light cocoa coating was, put simply, ah-may-zing! I bow to the greatness of executive chef Toni Leskinen: seriously guys, you need to visit Salutorget for these chocolates alone! (oh and if you’re in the vegan club, don’t worry, you’ve your own super tasty chocolate treats, and I honestly find it too tough to tell you which of the two are the best!)
Service and prices
Salutorget is a wonderful place to have afternoon tea in Helsinki. The restaurant is well placed in the city centre, just off the Marine Market Square in the historical part of the city. It’s also just a short walk up from the ferry port, for those crazy people, like us, who visit the Finnish capital for a day trip!
I found the service to be exceptional here. Our waiter was funny, friendly and happy to spend time talking us through all the dishes and answering any questions we had. We also had the pleasure of a visit from executive Leskinen, who kindly came out to explain the local flavours he’d incorporated into the menus and the inspiration behind some of the dishes. He even made a return visit when I had some crazy question about vegan cream cheese.
Finally, the biggest thumbs up has to go to them bringing us out some extra chocolate ganache treats, having spotted how enamoured we were with those sweet delights!
Price-wise I thought at €23.50, the afternoon tea was pretty good value – especially as we were in a Scandic country known for expensive eating out costs. If you’re heading to Helsinki, I definitely recommend making a visit!
Afternoon tea is available at Salutorget between 2-6pm Monday to Saturday. At time of writing the price is €23.50 for both the regular and vegan afternoon teas, or €36.40 to also include a glass of champagne.
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Our afternoon teas were complimentary for the purposes of this review. However, as always, all views are my own.