A breath of genuine South American air arrives in Töölö.

It’s Wednesday evening and restaurant-bar Favela is buzzing. Having been open for only a day, the amount of people is almost surprising. The age span of the clientele seems to stretch from 20-somethings to middle aged and beyond. And most importantly, everyone seems visibly in good spirits.


Most people might think that food from afar has only one kind of heat – the type that sears your taste buds and renders you semi-conscious. This of course, is not true. So how do you employ spices and chillies in a way that flavours your food without overpowering the palate? Read on gentle reader, read on.

*note – Chillies differ from Chile. The latter is a fruit of a plant while the other is most certainly a country of the South American variety! For the purpose of this article we will concentrate on the chillies used in Asian cookery.

In a pattern repeated across the East Africa, between 1976 and 2014, Tanzania’s Selous National Park lost 88 per cent of its elephant population. From a population of more than 100,000 animals, there are now only a little over 10,000 left. Lost is a polite word; in actuality they were murdered.

The impacts of this extend far outside the park itself; ecology changes, tourism numbers drop off, and jobs are lost both directly and indirectly.

Coming from a developed Western country, it is sometimes easy to take Finland’s many pleasures for granted. Sure, it’s safe. But safety is relative, and if the cities we come from aren’t exactly death zones, we aren’t likely to really give a lot of thought to the topic. Yes, it’s clean. But then so are Singapore, Oslo and Edinburgh.

But every so often I come into contact with people who have moved here from far less salubrious places, and their impressions of Finland tend to be radically different from my own.

Punavuori tastes Italian.

On a quiet Friday afternoon before the lunch rush things are taking a rather Italian turn at Mille Mozzarella. I sit myself down and there isn’t a soul to be seen. Taking off my coat and setting up my lap top and still the kitchen staff seem to be intent on ignoring the front of house. Oh well. Eventually Lorenzo Dotson-Smith pops out of the kitchen and is all smiles and starts rustling up some food.