Ox — Helsinki, Finland
For over four decades, meat-loving Finns descended on the Beefy Queen in loyal packs, completely at home in the steak house’s unapologetically dated diner-styled décor. What a sleek change the interior designer Joanna Laajisto has wrought for the new tenant Ox, whose owners – a quartet of young, experienced restaurateurs – have cleverly spotted a gap for modern Middle-Eastern flavours based on fresh Finnish produce.
Laajisto responded to the menu and the small space by lining the walls with mint-green corrugated metal panels, and installing customised lights and vintage table lamps that cast interesting shadows and patterns.
The best seats in the house are the Thonet high-stools along the timber and marbled bar which commands a view of the open kitchen and its disciplined choreography. The lamb tartare with roasted almond crème and dukkah, and the twice-cooked pork belly paired with fried Jerusalem artichokes and fermented lemon tick all our boxes.