In the Finnish wine bar, Palsta, in Neukölln’s Schiller Kiez, natural unfiltered wines and Scandinavian cuisine make a perfect match. Owner Viivi Haussila-Seppo procures vegetables and herbs from a Berlin city garden.
"It almost feels like we're on the coast," says Viivi Haussila-Seppo. Her wine bar, Palsta, is located right next to Tempelhofer Feld, and offers a view that is second to none in Berlin. In 2018, Finnish-born Viivi Haussila-Seppo finally realized her dream project; opening a cozy restaurant with a great selection of organic wines and modern Scandinavian specialties. The menu includes fish as well as fresh vegetarian and vegan dishes. One of the most popular dishes is her shrimp tartare.
Vegetables and herbs come directly from the urban garden of chef Filip Sondergaard, and last summer his freshly-grown tomatoes also made an appearance. Viivi Haussila-Seppo came to Berlin from Helsinki in 2015, when her husband's startup relocated to the German capital. "It was a totally new start," she says. But Berlin offered her the opportunity to fulfill her life's dream, which was to open her own restaurant. "I was already fantasizing about running my own café in Helsinki, but I didn't have the guts at the time," says Viivi Haussila-Seppo.
So she buckled down and took the strategic route, gathering experience waitressing and working in cafés and restaurants for over a decade. In Berlin she finally felt it – she was ready. Her family and friends helped her develop a business plan. And the colorful crowd of Neukölln's Schillerkiez district was just the right fit. Here were the perfect conditions to unite her two homes, both old and new.
The atmosphere draws families with small children, young Neukölln residents, and couples alike, the latter no doubt for the dazzling wine selection. The feeling her restaurant evokes is a reflection of the name; in Finnish, ‘palsta' means ‘plot' or ‘parcel.'
The walls are lined with photographs and paintings from friends, one of which features two men in bathing suits standing under an outdoor shower in a garden allotment in Helsinki. "Nature is an important part of our identity in Finland," says Viivi Haussila-Seppo. And her Palsta is the perfect testament to that.
Author: Anima Müller