Restaurant Bronda in Helsinki, Finland, got recently chosen among the coolest restaurant interiors in the world by The Guardian. The newspaper picked its top ten list from the book Let’s Go Out Again published by Gestalten, a showcase of atmospheric eating spaces from around the world. We went to Bronda on a rainy Tuesday in April for a late lunch and a feast for the eyes.
Located in the heart of Helsinki by the Esplanadi park, Bronda continues a long-standing tradition. In the early 1900’s, the famous K.M. Brondin bakery and café operated in the same location and was favored especially by well-known Finnish artists and writers, such as Eino Leino and Wäinö Aaltonen. The café was The Place To Be, and it gave a nickname for the whole building, Bronda house. Today that version of the Bronda house is long gone, and the most recent incarnation, built in 1970’s, isn’t the prettiest sight in Helsinki. But inside the restaurant it’s different. The customers enter in via a cozy bar, well-known for its cocktails. The pattern of the bar’s tiled floor has got its inspiration from the Helsinki sea chart. The first real eyecatcher is a huge walk-in wine cabinet that marks the beginning of the dining hall. The next thing one notices are the big, nautically inspired ceiling lights.
The most characteristic features of the dining hall are light and height. The space is very open with 7-meter high ceilings and big windowsthat give loads of light even on a cloudy day, and the smart use of mirrors increases the sense of space. The Finnish design office behind the interior, Futudesign, has chosen harmonious colors with shades of blue, brown and plum. There’s a lot of wood which gives the interior a Scandinavian touch. Especially handsome is the wooden floor with a fish bone pattern. Futudesign has designed most of the furniture, complemented by selected items, such as chairs, by the Danish company Hay. You can also spot some other Finnish design, e.g., the white loudspeakers by Genelec and Kivi candle votives by Iittala. Bronda is the fifth brasserie-style restaurant run by the Finnish restaurateur duo Tomi Björck and Matti Wikberg. According to them, Bronda’s food is based on the flavors of the major European culinary countries around the Mediterranean. Our late lunch was a light Daily Salad with charred salmon, radish, shaved asparagus, pickled onion, fennel and lemon vinaigrette accompanied by a glass of Grüner Veltliner. We ended our meal with some high quality South African rooibos tea.