This Jugend castle, former known Vuorilinna, carries today the name As. Oy Kapteeninkatu 11 is historically really valuable. Builder of this house, Herman Walentin Schalin, was a blind piano tuner. He proposed to a girl, who cold hearted answered: No house, no marriage. When this beautiful castle was finnished in 1902, Herman noticed his love had faded. To this building Restaurant Sea Horse was established in 1934.
Before the restaurant, the premises was occupied by a tailor and after this Syrian antik dealer. The first owners in 1930´s were Ina Limnel and Fanny Lund, who actually worked in the restaurant quite long. During the wars the menu was really simple and modest. Sometimes ladies could get something special to offer. Ina Limnel didn`t keep the restaurant long. She sold it before The Winter War to a German, who already owend the restaurant Keidas (Amigo) in the next block.
The most famous owner of the Sea Horse was, with no doubt, Mrs. Paukku. She bought the restaurant in 1959 with her husband Olavi Paukku. From this we can say that the glory days began. She put the crispy fried Baltic herrings to the menu. And the world famous beef steak had it`s debyt by her aswell. Her mustard was known through the town. She lowered a bucket full of mustard to the kitchen window for customers to buy it to their homes. The same method was used after every business day. The cash of the day went up with her bucket every night. Mrs. Paukku was known as a patron to art students. She is the reason why still Sea Horse is popular with artists. Mrs. Paukku was strict but fair employer. This reflected to the clintele. Sea Horse`s reputalion as a homelike living room grew. Even today it doesn`t matter if though the door walks in a minister or a regulat customer. The titles we leave to the doorman. Every customer receives equally warm and friendly service. In 1988 Mrs. Paukku sold her life work as she retaired.
In 1999 thought different phases, even hard ones, restaurant Sea Horse found it`s current owners. The main restaurant was renovated in 2000. A picture found in the Restaurant museum helped the architect to put Sea Horse back to it`s roots. Artist Kimmo Kaivanto helped to put Sea Horse back to it`s glory. In 2003 he created the Black Horse cabinet.
Our strongest value is the atmosphere, and equality, no matter of nationality, social status, genaration or gender. It`s been said, that we can fill a small town under our roof in one day. Respecting Finnish values and cultur.
Black Horse cabinet
In the begining of 2003 the restaurant expanded to premises next door. Kimmo Kaivanto, who lives in the same building, desinged the interior to the cabinet.
He`s also helped to desing the main restaurant back to it`s glory. The birth of Black Horse cabinet he described: Red Sea&Black Horse. The expansion idea
came to him, while he was sat at the restaurant. But a trip to Egypt with his wife Sari Roiha, really opened the mind. Red sandy wind and the black horse from chess gave the ground to it all.
The famous painting of the sea horses
The back wall of the main restaurant is covered with a painting of sea horses swinging in the waves of the sea. This piece has many different stories of who did the painting, why and when. One of the stories tells about penniless artist, who painted the sea horses to pay his debt. Another one is about art students who broke in one night and painted the sea horses to their waves. We also have recived information, that the janitor of Ateneum is responsible of the sea horses. Do we ever find out what is the true story? On the other hand, it is nice to have these mysterious stories.
Legends and customers
Sea Horse has charmed numerous celebreties from different areas. ”Here you can meet people from nobelist to regulars.” said poet Jouni Lompolo. Over the years regular Finnish customers has been for example columnist Origo, gamehost Jyrki Otila, poet Pentti Saaritsa. From foreign customers probaply the most famous ones are Jean-Paul Sartre and nobelist Pablo Neruda. Not to forget todays socialites, rock stars like Andy McCoy and other celebreties. But we want to give privacy to all our customers. For this reason photography is forbitten in our premises.
One story tells that composer Esko Linnavalli brought the worldknown trumpeter Dizzy Gillispie to taste the crispy fried Baltic herrings. After emptied his plate he went to the kitchen to demand more of them. After this the portion grew to 16 herrings.One of the Sea Horse´s specialities is the sweetbread. The legend claims that a unknown man, looking like a professor, came to eat portion of sweetbread. After this he took a taxi, drove to Töölö and robbed a bank. He continued to place unknown, and apparently his crime was never solved.
Sea Horse in the public eye
This is what Helsingin Sanomat wrote about restaurant Sea Horse: ” The legendary Sea Horse belongs to the heavy weight of Helsinki`s classics. A nostalgic piece of the past. The menu offers Finnish classics from Scandinavian hash (pyttipanna) to crispy fried Baltic herrings, but they also serve steaks. Clientele is people of culture, students and regular customers.”
Probably the most famous portion is our beef steak. The columnist of The Financial Times, Tyler Brûlé, founder of The Wallpaper*, listed Sea Horse`s beef steak to the top 10 in the world.
Restaurant Sea Horse has established its place in the 50 Best restaurants in Finland. This is what they though of us in 2007.