Chef Sami Tallberg is Finland’s leading foraging specialist. Tallberg´s new restaurant is located in an unusual place – in a logistic center in the middle of a Finnish forest. The logistic center belongs to the Finnish Design Shop, which is a leading online store selling Nordic design for more than 300 design brands to more than 180 countries. The place has already become a popular destination for design and food enthusiasts.
Finnish Design Shop’s logistic center is located in forest, adjacent to the Pomponrahka nature reserve and close to the Finnish west-coast city of Turku dating back to medieval times. The building complex comprises a logistics center, offices, a showroom, and a foraged cafeteria and restaurant serving wild foods for the staff and visitors. The building exterior was designed by Avanto Architects, and the building interior is by Studio Joanna Laajisto. “Forest is a strong element in the Nordic lifestyle. It was also a source of inspiration for both our restaurant and our new logistics center”, Teemu Kiiski, the owner and CEO of the Finnish Design Shop explains.
Together, the restaurant and the showroom are a place for events and gatherings. Tallberg sources ingredients for the foods, such as birch sap, mushrooms, and berries, literally from the forest front of the logistics center. The restaurant utilizes wild herbs and mushrooms also in the winter menu.
“We picked wild mushrooms in autumn and preserved them by drying, salting, and pickling. We also use local professional foragers, from whom we have bought mushrooms and other wild ingredients”, Tallberg explains. ”The roots of common polypody, on the other hand, are perfect for winter dishes, as they go well with Tuscan or regular kale, potatoes, and Jerusalem artichoke, in addition to beets, parsnip, pike, deer, elk – and many others.” For making tea, Tallberg uses wild herbs. Frozen wild-rose petals and dried meadowsweet blossoms are used in many desserts.
Wood and nature are key themes in the interior as well. Designer Joanna Laajisto used solid pine and Ashwood both in the offices and in the cafeteria-restaurant. She designed many of the tables and much of the seating herself. She complemented wooden furniture with colourful furniture from the Finnish Design Shop’s collection. Three-meter-high doorways and large windows create a feeling of lightness and space. The interior design pays extra attention to the acoustics of the whole building to create a soft and calm atmosphere. The view from the office floor is to the logistics center, where logistics operations are run by the robots of the automation system.
“For years now, I’ve been developing my own food philosophy that combines my Wild, Weird & Wonderful approach with affecting the wellbeing of the mind, body and soul through food choices”, Tallberg says. “The location of our restaurant is a logistic center, it is almost like the test laboratorium of Nordic balanced lifestyle, combining both design and food.”