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Genuine Viennese coffee house culture and international food combined in a cosy atmosphere.

JUST a stone’s throw away from Kamppi is a small enclave of traditional Austrian bakery art combined with international cuisine. Situated in a relatively calm neighbourhood away from all the city turmoil, the Krulla Wiener Kaffeehaus offers a calming haven for stressed city dwellers and culinary treats for hungry visitors.

Pizzas, pastas, salads and Tex Mex food come together at this local institution.

ANYONE who has spent a couple of hours walking through Helsinki’s city centre is able to recognise Iguana’s logo. For almost 20 years, Iguana restaurants have been offering affordable Tex-Mex style food in the heart of Helsinki and their green neon logos have become part of the city’s landscape. The first Iguana was opened in Mannerheimintie in 1994 to offer Mexican style food, good music and a friendly environment. With two other locations in Helsinki, one in Kesakatu and another in Kaisaniemienkatu, we visited the latter to have a taste of their Mexican food.

A taste of the American steakhouse can be found from this Estonian restaurant chain, recently arriving in Helsinki for the first time.

CONSIDERING the popularity of pihvi here in Finland, it comes as no surprise that Estonian chain GOODWIN Steak House has recently made their home in Helsinki. Offering a variety of beefy dishes, the restaurant uses the concept of the authentic American steakhouse as their template, and represents the only chain of its kind to be found in the Baltics and Scandinavia.

SIMILAR to Finns, Australians love a good barbeque. Growing up down under, scorching summers each year were synonymous with avoiding venomous creatures lurking in the tall grass and wrapping a burnt sausage inside a piece of white bread and smothering it in tomato sauce.

THAT’S RIGHT – no paper napkin and dollops of Turun sinappi for us; a sausage wasn’t eaten correctly until sauce was running down my wrist and the cocktail of white bread and accompanying lemonade had launched a sugar high that would last way beyond my bedtime.

MY first exposure to Indian food was as a nine-year-old at my friend Ravi’s house, as his mother prepared extravagant dishes from the subcontinent with ease and flair. Sweating and close to tears, my naïve Australian palate wilted under the heat of the fiery delights, and it wasn’t long before a plain omelette with white toast magically appeared on my plate.

THIS, I’m afraid, is chief of my childhood regrets. Some people lament a first love, a faded football career or the loss of freedom, but for me it was those years denying Ravi’s mum’s kitchen that pinch the hardest. Thus, upon arriving here in India two and a half months ago, I have been furiously making up for lost time by indulging in the cavalcade of culinary delights on offer.