Kekäle x Grön: one Michelin star, several taste profiles

Toni Kostian is a Restaurateur and Executive Chef at restaurant Grön, which he co-founded in 2015 in Helsinki. Kostian has been working in a commercial kitchen since he was 16 and has made a long career around Finland and Great Britain. After years of traveling, Kostian started dreaming of a permanent place of work and thus was born Grön. The cosy one-of-a-kind restaurant in the middle of Helsinki is enjoyed by customers and employees alike.

One of Finland’s leading fine-dining establishments

Restaurant Grön has been nominated the best restaurant in Finland several years running and it earned a Michelin star in 2018. The True Foodies Restaurant Awards selected Grön as the best restaurant in the bistro/casual dining category in 2019.

Despite the accolades, Kostian doesn’t spend time thinking about Grön’s service concept.

”I’m not sure, if the whole fine-dining concept even exists anymore. We never decided to follow a specific genre in our food and service concept. The restaurant is simply a combination of our personal styles and preferences”, Kostian explains.

United by values and a way of working

The idea of Kekäle and Grön’s collaboration came about through Kostian’s friend, sommelier Edmund Liew.

”Kekäle and Grön share the same values: both have seasonal menus based on high-quality ingredients sourced from local producers. Both restaurants are also run in a similar style: relying on integrity, communication and a clear sense of purpose”, Kostian sums up.

Grön has been a part of a few similar collaborations during Kostian’s stewardship.

”It takes a lot of preparation to carry out such a collaboration event, but once you get into the new kitchen to do your thing it is totally worth it”, Kostian says.

A menu with several taste profiles

The menu for the Kekäle x Grön event has been built around Grön’s winter menu.

”We concentrate on produce that is at its best this time of year. Focus is on seafood and fish, which are at their best now that the waters are cold and fresh,” Kostian explains.

The menu is recognizably wintery which means a lot of umami, acidity, and rich flavours, as usual for Grön. The menu in its entirety is impressively executed and most importantly a pleasure to eat.

”Especially the first dessert, the rose quintet, is very interesting. The flavour is very citrusy and tropically fruity, despite all the ingredients being Finnish, and preserved ones at that. It’s truly worth a try”, Kostian describes.

Kostian believes, that Grön has a lot to give to Kekäle; teaching new perspectives, quality standards, and fast adaptability, for example. However, the contributions are not one-sided.

”We can always learn something new from the Lappish people! Especially their friendliness and hosting skills are beyond comparison”, Kostian says.

Kekäle x Grön event was arranged on the 1st and 2nd of April 2022 at Levi.

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