The best dumplings in Helsinki - Hills Dumplings
Pieni Roobertinkatu 9, 00130 Helsinki
Hills Dumplings - a newly launched restaurant in Helsinki that has drawn so much attention. It's located in the newest hip street - Roobertinkatu with tons of restaurants and bars. We came here twice, once for lunch and once for dining. The place is run by 2 co-owners - a New Yorker & a Melbournian (talk about a perfect duo).
Their dumplings concept is not inspired by Cantonese culinary but a neighborhood in Melbourne instead. Hills is slang for “Box Hill”, a neighborhood in Melbourne. That explains the name of their business, though the restaurant is indeed on a mild hill.
The decoration is screaming New York vibe with such industrial touch. The moment I walked in, I knew it's going to be my fav spot in Helsinki. The lunch price is reasonable with €10.40 for one portion of Dumplings or Not Dumplings, your choice. We ordered some dumplings, extra rice & salad, and a Bao. The lunch menu picture below can be changed according to the days you're there. When we were there, they had baos and not chickens, nor dessert. Unlike many restaurants in Helsinki, they don't have a salad bar for lunch. However, a super cool mocktail bar is served and we loved that even more than a salad one, surprisingly.
Good looking place makes the food 10 times better
Some of the drinks from the mocktail bar. It was a hot day so we didn't get hot coffee or tea. We went with iced tea and some juices instead.
The place is filled with sunshine thanks to the big windows - this is a BIG bonus since I always feel like places in Helsinki are missing out on this design. It plays such a key role to the lighting game.
My man prolly stalking The Rock's Instagram whilst waiting for food. Oh, behind him is the mocktail bar, in case I didn't point it out.
One of the very interesting things about this place is that they make everything from scratch (ikr!) to guarantee the quality. That's also why they have that 2 hours gap in between lunch time serving and dinner a la carte.
Ok, lunch is served!
We immediately fell in love with how colourful everything is. The greens and that pop of bright pink from beet is gorgeous. I love how they try to squeeze in (or, on) vegetables wherever possible.
The baos/buns were amazingly soft and fluffy (I guess it's freshly homemade dough). We had vegan ones and I was not really feeling the fillings since I found it a bit dry. However, I'd still go in for more just for the dough alone.
When we ordered extra rice, we did not expect it to come out like this. This is the most thoughtful extra rice ever. The salad that comes with it is also put in an extra bowl topped with crispy shallots - my Asian inner self was happy. Full of herbs & flavors - that's how food should be.
Ok, now is the star of the afternoon - dumplings. We had the vegan Helsinki Original served with beetroot puree, bean shoots, roasted pumpkin seeds, dill, and spring onion. The dumpling skin was soft yet chewy, you can taste the freshness out of it- that's how good it is. The filling was good, though it could have been a bit fuller. The beetroot puree was the diva of the show. We loved how smooth it was and did not expect how nutty and light yet rich it was. Bean shoots, seeds, and spring onion added some crunch into the experience - clever.
They also have a terrace area that I'm pretty sure they rent for the season only (go enjoy it when the weather is still warm and bearable)
Ok, are you ready for some more food and drink?
We came back for some more experiences here in order to give a thorough review since it seems a bit unfair for such a great place to just say some words about their lunch menu, right?
This time we made sure to order some cocktails and they're good! Very refreshing and yummy. Julius had this The Best Margarita and yep he loved how strong it was (Tequila, is it you?)
Mine was Hills Long Drink, I ordered it just because of the name and because vanilla + lemon bubbles does sound like a good combo. If you're someone who doesn't like strong drinks and you like it tasty, order this. Another friend of ours ordered the Lady June, with Gin, Sake, and Oolong tea. I didn't taste it but it does sound good.
We ordered vegan New School Dumplings to share this time. I loved how full of crispy shallots it was but I can't choose a winner due to the beetroot puree from Helsinki Original. I have to say this one is more...oriental.
Julius had the stir-fried rice noodles with tofu and vegetables, topped with sesame seeds (€14). It was so garlic-y but in the best way possible. Julius enjoyed his meal a lot tho he wished the noodles could have been less choppy. Nothing is more satisfying than slurping on long string of smooth noodles (ok may be there are some things in life that are). In a nutshell: this is a great option for vegan. Definitely yummy and not bland at-all.
I saved the best for the last: my Char-siu bbq pork noodles with wonton soup on the side. Growing up in Asia, I've eaten so many dishes like this one and for the longest time, I could never find it here, until now. The Char-siu pork was so tender, juicy, and flavorful. I'm not a huge fan of pork yet it wowed me every single bite. The noodles are perfect, chewy, smooth, with a bite to it. I especially loved the oil sauce with chilli, garlic, and spring onion, mixed with some more of mild soy sauce at the bottom of the bowl, let the noodles be covered in that amazingness.
The wonton soup on the side was surprisingly full with 4 big wontons that were ultra smooth skinned and delicious fillings. The broth couldn't really compete with ones I've had in Asia but the star is the noodle bowl to be honest. I would rate this dish 9/10 if I could.
Hills Dumpling is a great place to come to enjoy delicious food with eye-catchy interior design. If you fancy some drinks, their cocktails are also reasonably priced so that you can kip - pi before the food arrives at the table. One of the most memorable things about Hills Dumplings to me was the service. Everyone was so nice and energetic there. Service was super fast and smooth, and always with a smile! We also had a chat with the owner from New York and he seems so laid-back and friendly and would not shy away from interacting with customers. Great food, great place! We hope they'll have a VIP list soon.