Kosmos has been shining bright on Helsinki’s restaurant
scene for almost a hundred years. Many other restaurants
have opened and closed their doors whilst Kosmos has endured,
flourished and remained in the heart of Helsinki.

The family-owned restaurant was opened on August 6th in 1924. Today, Kosmos is run by the 4th generation

of the restaurant’s owner. The décor is easy going and the service is thoughtful. The classic European gastronomy

has remained the same from decade to decade. In addition, the long-lasting staff has always been a part of

the Kosmos family. The owner’s son has taken after his father as a cloakroom attendant and the experienced

chefs and servers, with their incomparable expertise, have created unforgettable experiences for customers

for over 30 years.

 

 

Regular customers have enjoyed Kosmos’ universe for decades: presidents, artists, businesspeople,

students and, last but not least, travellers who seek the experience of an authentic Finnish restaurant culture.

All these individuals have found their way to Kosmos and enjoyed its atmosphere and traditional cuisine.

 

 

The history of Kosmos is filled with memories of a well-lived life, unforgettable people and great food.

The most important things for us has always been our customers and our original, straightforward

and broad-minded business idea: to serve “impartially the wealthy and the poor, the civil elite and

everyday customers”.

 

Welcome!

 

 

 

IRINA HEPOLAMPI & KIIRA HEPOLAMPI

THE HISTORY OF KOSMOS

The family owned restaurant, dining hall,
canteen, culture spot…

Kosmos’ first ninety years attest to the staying power of an enterprise faithful to its own style. However,

despite the restaurant’s apparent agelessness, ambience, the clientele, and as well as the preferences for food

and drinks, Kosmos has changed during its history.

 

 

When, in 1924, Yrjö Teodor Lindfors established the Kosmos dining rooms on what was then the Vladimirinkatu

street, prohibition prevailed in Finland. The modern, up-scale yet moderately priced restaurant, found favour

particularly among university students.

 

 

The easing of the Great Depression ushered in a new era in which Vladimirinkatu was replaced with the more

patriotic Kalevankatu, the Swedish name Lindfors was fashionably translated into the Finnish Hepolampi,

and 1932 brought the repeal of prohibition. The growing prosperity brought in new customers: lawyers, artists,

civil servants, businessmen – even the occasional businesswoman.

 

 

Mrs Aino Hepolampi took charge of the enterprise. The Winter War (1939-40) first brought an end to coffee

and then beer, and the frugal meals served against coupons were rationed to the gram. With the end of what

is known in Finland as the Continuation War (1941-44) already in sight, business came to a halt when Kosmos

was requisitioned and leased for use as a mess hall by the German army.

After the war, lunches were augmented by generous quantities of schnapps,
and the punches and cognacs that rounded meals off were followed by
the mixed drinks that typified the era.

In a moralistic campaign by the state, alcohol monopoly restricted liquor consumption and its

availability in restaurants, and Kosmos was gravely reprimanded for disproportionate sales

of strong spirits.

 

 

The enduring favourites on the menu – escalope of veal à la Oscar, pork chop Robert

and fried salmon with tartar sauce – gradually came to be accompanied by international newcomers

such as paella, chop suey and cannelloni.

 

 

Today our kitchen seeks to spotlight a culinary culture with the most characteristic of our capital,

creating a “Helsinki cuisine”, based on long-standing Russian, French and Swedish influences combined

with updated Finnish cooking traditions and indigenous ingredients. From Baltic herring to blinis with

whitefish roe, from sweetbread salad to reindeer with spruce-shoot sauce – these are delicacies that appeal to

international tastes as well.

 

 

In the 1950’s the clientele had come to include artists and the journalists associated with nearby

newspaper offices, in the 1960’s Kosmos was invaded by writers and leftist radicals. Kosmos became

a cultural hangout. The “better” writers drank cognac, while everyone else went over to wines.

 

 

It was during this period that the first art was acquired for the dining room. The works of art that our

customers can enjoy are made by Juhani Harri, Alvar Gullichsen, Martti Aiha, Olli Pajulahti and

Sirkku Ala-Harja.

 

 

Table linens, broadlooms, the shades of the chandeliers, and the planters have later been added but

for the most part the dining room interior has retained its original appearance, as created by architecture

student Arvo Aalto, furniture designer Einari Kyöstilä, and Eino Räsänen, who carved the Hellenic motifs

of the booth panels. In 2001 the entrance was remodelled by Stefan Lindfors, and discreet changes to

the dining room were overseen by Kaisa Blomstedt.

 

 

In these cross-currents of the past and present, of respect for preservation and renewal, what has perhaps

best endured is Yrjö Hepolampi’s original, straight-forward business idea: now in our fourth generation as

a family enterprise, we continue to serve with impartiality and pride both the wealthy and the poor,

the civil elite and everyday customers.