travelfood Helsinki excursions IN THESE DAYS of large restaurant chains, it's refreshing to step into an independently owned establishment. Solna, in the heart of the Helsinki's Munkkiniemi neighbourhood, is one such gem. The cosy restaurant, which has been operating since 1966, recently had a makeover. Under the new proprietorship of Jan Åkerström and the culinary direction of head chef Aulis Lehtimäki, Solna serves modern French and Continental cuisine, with a lunch menu that focuses on traditional Finnish home cooking as well as seasonal ā la carte specialties. Along with a tapas bar, there's a tasting menu and a good selection of wines such as Sancerre 2004. Try the delicious Toast Skagen with vendace roe as a starter or a main (10,50 or 15,50); it's always on the menu. Mains such as fillet of red deer or confit leg of goose are in the 20 euro range. Dessert is rounded out with homemade ice creams and sorbets. Virtually around the corner from Solna, Aalto House on Riihitie is where Finland's most famous architect and designer lived in the 1930s in the house and office that he and his first wife Aino built. An example of functionalism, the house is operated by the Alvar Aalto foundation as a museum these days and is open Tuesdays to Sundays, with guided tours at 2, 3, 4 and 5 pm. Much of the interior, right down to the worn chairs, is much as it was when the famous couple lived here.-KP Solnantie 26 +358 9 530 1411 www.solna.fi Aalto House Riihitie 20 +358 50 354 1404 www.alvaraalto.fi Juha Saslminen Juha Saslminen Solna serves up a new look and modern French, Continental and Finnish cuisine. Girl power Foxy Wine House is run by two young women, Piia Luoto and Ester Himonas, and features a good selection of wines and accompanying nibblies ranging from specialty cheeses to cured hams. Naturally caviar and Champagne are also on the menu. Iso Roobertinkatu 3-5 (inner courtyard) +358 9 644956 www.foxywinehouse. com Blini weeks Blini weeks run through to the end of February at restaurants around town including Helsinki's oldest Russian restaurant Bellevue. The buckwheat pancakes served with sour cream and roe are guaranteed to melt in your mouth. Rahapajankatu 3 +358 9 179 560 www.restaurantbellevue.com TOP5 Valentine's gifts ONE TWO THREE FOUR FIVE Kalevala Jewelry's silver Heart of the House Swarovski's Oceanic necklace (available at the airport) Kultasuklaa's Ruusunen box of chocolates Fazer's heart-shaped milk chocolates A kiss Source: The Blue Wings Team 14 BLUE WINGS FEBRUARY 2007
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