Yoki takes on a food challenge in Turku
I have to share a story about a new restaurant concept in my native city Turku. Yoki opened its doors just couple of weeks ago, in one of the best locations of this over 700 years old former capital of Finland, in a 500 years old building full of history.
Starting a new restaurant in Turku that is known for the very good quality of fine dining needs the bar to be set high. Surrounded by places like Mami, Smör, Rocca, Tintå, Sergio’s, Blanko and Pinella, the whole concept must work well from day one. The local clientele is very demanding, and even a minor flaw in the food, presentation, property and service will be notified immediately.
Yoki hails for the fusion kitchen, combining South-East Asian, North African and Latin American flavours. A concept new to Turku and actually for the entire Finland. Helsinki has it’s Farang and Gaijin, which are close to the same concept, but still different.
My first visit to Yoki started big. Eating their challenging 8-course dinner with a nice bottle of wine, Yoki’s signature drink and some frizzante to finish off. A journey that took 2,5 hours. To see the pictures from all the dishes, see the gallery below.
I must say that I am a difficult customer. Having eaten in so many different types of restaurants around the world, I have a pretty good idea on how the whole concept could work in food, presentation, service, process, menu, deco and premises. I often find myself pointing out faults when other visitors think they’ve gone to heaven.
What did I think about Yoki? I think they are having a great start. Their concept is fresh and new, trying to bring a whole new angle to the way how people dine. The level of service and hospitality is very much like that of Asian culture – trying the best, even if things are not perfect. The food is of excellent quality, and the flavors are there. Just don’t expect to get the authentic dishes you had on your vacation to Thailand – what you ate there was no fusion kitchen.
A special point about Yoki is the history of the premises. A famous architect Benito Casagrande has made an hommage to one of the oldest buildings of the country. Yoki reminds me of the Roman time cryptoporticus of Aosta, it has a similar magical feeling to it.
Why am I writing about this restaurant? It’s because I admire several things about what the owners are doing. They have their own vision of the concept. They want to make Yoki to look like their own place. They pay attention to detail, both in food and service. They are taking their concept into a very challenging environment – a listed property. And they obviously want to be different.
All this shows in the way how the whole restaurant is being driven. Yoki may not be 100% perfect from day one, but they will improve and improve. That makes them different from most of the other restaurant.
Go eat at Yoki. Tell them what you think. Respect them.