Eat and Drink

Restaurant Roster in Helsinki Offers Quality Food Outside the Mainstream 

The idea behind Roster, a bar and restaurant in the heart of Helsinki (right next to Helsinki’s oldest wooden house), was built on Paul Hickman and Kari Aihinen’s vision of adding something new to Helsinki’s restaurant scene. The central concept is simple: preparing and serving quality food using the best ingredients, superb service and great ambience. The name Roster refers to the vision of building a team of pros as well as to the selection of food, wine and drinks that the Roster team would like you to eat and drink with them.

What places restaurant Roster outside the mainstream of Helsinki’s restaurant scene is the relaxed touch, the aim to do things differently but with a professional attitude in all aspects of food and service. To strip away the formalities of fine dining and to experience and taste the food for what it is. 

I asked Annis Lassila, the restaurant manager at Roster, about the vibe and atmosphere that visitors can expect when coming to dine at Roster. “The ambience is really cosy and relaxed. Roster’s interior, which is designed by Bond Creative Agency, really captures the core idea of Roster: stylish and elegant, relaxed and easy going. When you enter Roster you really don’t have to worry, we will take care of you and the ambience will hug you”. 

The venue Roster spreads over two floors with a secret back room, Omertà, and three Chef’s Tables downstairs, where you can watch the action in the kitchen and have a chat with the team. The three Chef’s Tables can host groups of four to six people or can be booked for larger groups up to 18 people. Thus, Roster can cover different kinds of occasions at the same time, ranging from small reservations to big private events. The doors are open every day of the week for everybody and their big lounge bar is a great place to taste artisan cocktails and small bites. During the weekends we have a DJ playing tunes. 

Roster serves a variety of locally grown and high quality imported products including vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. Visitors get the chance to try out an international cuisine, so there is always something for everybody on the menu. Kari Aihinen and his team have built a menu that caters to all as it consists 1/3 of meat-based dishes, 1/3 of fish based dishes and 1/3 of vegetarian based dishes. They also have a set menu that changes every other week so there is always something new to offer. And of course, the majority of dishes and menus can be ordered as vegan, gluten- and lactose-free. 

And why not try out an excellent wine or cocktail with your dish? At the Roster bar, for example, visitors can taste “Helsinki” in the shape of a cocktail. The mix promises Nordic flavours and the sense of the capital in form of berries, mushrooms, herbs and liquorice. 

Bon appétit!

Roster Helsinki, Pohjois-Esplanadi 17. Open Mo-Tue 11-24, Wed-Thu 11-02, Fri 11-03, Sat 14-03, Sun 13-22 (Sunday Roast).


Franka Kermer