After having spent eight days under the Portuguese sun, we landed on cold, drizzly Helsinki-Vantaa Airport. Our oldest daughter stared out the plane window, a bit discouraged, and said she hopes at least that grandma and grandpa have made salmon coulibiac for Sunday supper.

They had.

Perfect comfort food for the November rain. Especially when made by the grandparents.


3dl rice (short-grain)
4 eggs
1-2 onions, depending of the size
large bunch of dill
600g salmon gravlax
500g puff pastry dough
2 egg yolks
  1. Cook the rice in well salted water (see the package instruction for the amount of water) and let cool.
  2. Boil the eggs (hard), peel them and separate the yolks from the whites. Cut both up (separately).
  3. Chop the onion finely and sauté in butter until soft.
  4. Cut finely the dill as well.
  5. Cut the gravlax in thin slices.
  6. Roll out the dough into a rectangle (I like my crust very crispy but thin, so I’d recommend to roll it to 3-5mm thickness).
  7. Spread half of the rice evenly in the middle of the rolled-out dough. Make sure you leave ca. 5 cm border on all sides.
  8. Spread the finely cut egg yolks on the rice and then half of the chopped dill.
  9. Next put the thin gravlax filets and then the rest of the dill, followed by egg whites.
  10. On top, spread the rest of the rice.
  11. Fold both long sides of the dough on top. (You might need some water to make the dough borders stick together better.) Then fold over the ends of the dough as well.
  12. Place the coulibiac on baking sheet by flipping it upside down, so that the seam side ends up underneath.
  13. Brush the coulibiac gently with whisked egg yolks.
  14. Bake in 160°C for about 1h. (Put some foil on it if it starts to get too much colour.) Serve warm with melted butter.



A couple years back Tyler Brûlé wrote in Monocle, that if you eat only one meal in Helsinki, go eat the beef steak in Sea Horse. Their beef steak I’ve never had, but still I'd likewise recommend Sea Horse to all Helsinki-goers.

Every city has it’s classics and Sea Horse is one of Helsinki’s. Founded in 1930s and still located on the same corner of a south Helsinkian art nouveau castle. Portions are hearty and generous and with the interior the whole atmosphere makes you feel like stepping back in time. The clientele is broad and diversified, but everyone gets the same treatment. The service is always laid-back and straightforward, kind of old school too.

To be called a classic, a restaurant needs a classic menu with dishes that never ever leave the menu. Whether it’s the grilled liver for my husband, the pike-perch à la Mannerheim for me, or the beef steak with fried onion, sour cream, pickled cucumber and fried potatoes for Tyler Brûlé, you can count on the fact that they are on the menu for future visits as well.

Like the crispy Baltic herrings which are on the menu since the 50s already. Though the portion size has changed during the years: It was reputedly increased to sixteen Baltic herrings after Dizzy Gillespie had visited Sea Horse. According to legend, the trumpeter went to the kitchen to ask for more after having finished his plate.

 For a piece of traditional Finnish restaurant culture, I'd suggest to book a table.

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