Scandinavian food and Nordic flavours in Hong Kong. At FINDS you can enjoy both fine dining and night-life. ScandAsia visited FINDS Friday night before dinner rush at eight, the outdoor terrace was filled with young people enjoying cocktails, while the staff preparing the dining area for supper.
FINDS is not only a restaurant but a lifestyle according to Jaakko Sorsa, the Executive Chef. And it is indeed more than a normal restaurant with the fancy décor in turquoise and snow-white colours designed to resemble a Scandinavian winter night, together with the lounge music playing in the background it makes a very special and cosy atmosphere.
Nordic taste year 2010
The menu consists of Scandinavian classics in new and lighter versions than seen at home in the Nordic countries. Jaakko underlines that food is not a fusion between Scandinavian and Asian food instead it is delicious food like we eat it in Scandinavia:
“I call it clean and honest food, and that is also important to our guests,” says the Finnish master of the culinary art.
Behind the cleanness and honesty lies an idea of making the food from the raw materials for example FINDS make their own ketchup and smoke herring and salmon in house.
Jaakko Sorsa puts big effort in to cook according seasons in Scandinavia, and using the special produces of the season.
About one third of all ingredients are imported from the Nordic countries, herring from Denmark, salmon from Norway, wild berries from Finland. And what is important especially the Asian guests according to the Finnish chef no raw materials from China. Even FINDS is not a complete organic restaurant, the chef puts effort into that everything is as substantial as possible.
Ethnic restaurant for those who knows how
The Finnish chef loves to be head of what he calls a ethnic restaurant in Hong Kong. He describes Hong Kong a cosmopolitan city where the people love to go out and explore new places and tastes, and exactly this cosmopolitan crowd attracts FINDS, 60 percent Asians, 40 percent Europeans, of them 10 percent Scandinavians and Jaakko is more than happy about that:
“It would be boring to go to Hong Kong and make meatballs for Finns,” he says continues: “Here I can fully concentrate on my passion for cooking.”
And he sure does it well creating a 2010 version of the Danish dish Stjerneskud, home-smoking herring, creating Scapas – Scandinavian tapas as for example the exciting “Salmon in six ways” dish, which includes both smoked and gravad lax.
Scandinavian dishes with perfection
Often the Scandinavia specialities are made by international raw materials. Materials which is choose very carefully, Jaakko explains:
“We tried I think more than 20 different potatoes to find just the right ones, and ended up with one from Alaska for mash potatoes and an Australian for the other potato dishes,” he says showing with his hands the shape and consistency of different potato sorts.
Some Scandinavian specialities has shown to be a success in the Asian metropolis of Hong Kong others not. For example Finnish poached fish mousse was a flop, while Swedish sweet black bread is one of the guest’s favourites.
And what is exactly the the Nordic countries have in common? According to the Finnish chef the Scandinavian kitchen is known for it’s seafood and root vegetables.
His inspiration hi often finds in “What we eat up north,” and when he speaks to his families and friends on the phone, and when he goes home:
“I often ask my family, ‘What do we actually eat in this season?’ And actually some of the dishes on the menu is inspired by my grandmothers recipes,” says Jaakko.
And that could Jaakko’s grandmother very well be proud of, because the menu is changed four times a year and before a new dish is accepted it has to been tasted for two weeks by a group of mixed nationalities including Filipino, Danish, Chinese, Finnish.
World star Chef
The Finnish chef owns two percent of the restaurant, a gift from the owners when he arrived. He first heard about the idea that someone would like to make a Scandinavian restaurant in Hong Kong when he worked at Chez Dominique in Helsinki, which now has two Michelin stars:
“I heard about the plans and I thought it would be nice to work here and teach the Asians something about Scandinavian cuisine and Nordic flavours,” says Jaakko Sorsa and adds:
“Every year many Asians, especially Japanese go to Finland because of their interest of the mystical Scandinavia and now I can give them a taste of it here.”
And in this fancy ice palace, that would never appear in Scandinavia, you can sure get a taste of it, when you order your Kimi Raikkonen cocktail and enjoy Jaakko Sorsa’s 21st century Nordic food in the Asian metropolis of Hong Kong.
If you want to know more about Jaakko and his food, you should consider buying his book: ‘Scapas Dining’ or visit FINDS online.
ScandAsia got a taste of Jaakko’s creations
We started with a Swedish schnapps with a bite of herring served in a glass made of ice.
As appetizer we had different types of home-made bread, a true Scandinavian hit with sweet black bread, Norwegian crispbread, and baguette slices with tree different types of butter.
Then we had salmon scapas. Consisting of salmon prepared in six different ways including a delicious version of gravad lax with mustard-dill sauce, house-cold smoked salmon with capers dressing and a tasty smoked salmon mousse with house black bread crisps.
The soup was a creamy Greenland shrimp soup with shrimp mousse, shaved fennel, dill & a creamy Greenland shrimp toast on the side.
As starter we had a mixed platter of asparagus & pan-fried wild morels from Finland and blue mussels poached with fennel, aquavit & a touch of cream.
Our main course was a tender grilled young lamb tenderloin from Australia marinated with thyme & mustard seeds, delicious celery-potato terrine, roma tomato poached in olive oil, savoy cabbage and a tasty light lemon veloute sauce, which suited the lamb to perfection.
For dessert we had chocolate fondant ‘Francesca’ with toasted almond ice-cream.