Flying on Finnair via Helsinki is my preferred route to Europe from Australia, and so I frequent Helsinki airport quite a bit. Now being Oneworld Emerald I always go to the Finnair Platinum Wing as my preferred lounge, however on one of my last trips in 2019 just before Covid I decided to take a look at the new Plaza Premium Lounge Helsinki lounge that had recently opened. I was fairly impressed back then with the foods on offer and got talking to the chef who clearly cared about the quality of the dishes.
And so for the first time since Covid travelling back through Helsinki in January 2022, I thought I would check out this lounge again since I have access through my American Express Platinum Card. And while the food offerings were slightly different due to the Omicron wave and being ordered off a QR code menu, the quality of the food was still fairly good.
So let’s take a look…
- The Swedish Meatballs dish was pretty much a winner in the taste department. While normally I would most likely place the dish to be in the Caution section, in this lounge the meatballs were served with roasted potatoes and with the sauce on the side. This is instead of creamy mashed potatoes and a creamy sauce which usually covers the meatballs. This helps reduce the calorie content, while still providing the taste and nutrients of the potatoes which is why I decided to place it here since the dish is healthier than other versions of the dish. The downside was it had no colourful vegetables.
- The stir fry was quite tasty with chicken, capsicum (bell peppers) and onions. I loved the large pieces of capsicum and onion which helped to increase the vegetable content of the meal.
- While the main dishes were all ordered through a QR code menu, there was a buffet offering a small selection of salads, cheese, bread and salami. I loved the size of the small bowls of Quinoa Salad and Tuna Pasta Salad which were approximately 1 serve of carbohydrate/grains. By having these grain based salads served in small portions it can help reduce overeating.
- Great to see bowls of Greek salad available. I would add one of these to both a snack or a main meal in the lounge. This will add an extra serve of vegetables to your day and a nutrient boost.
- Individual serves of cheese and salami provide snack options, and while I don’t recommend eating salami or other processed meats regularly, the small bowls here can help to reduce portion size. While yes you could still eat a lot by taking multiple bowls, but sometimes having the portions already served up then you only take one bowl and don’t go back for seconds. It doesn’t necessarily happen every time but I am sure many of you can think back to a time when you thought you wouldn’t go back for more food at the buffet. And having individual bowls helps you serve yourself less to start with.
Not so great (caution).
- Not all meals ordered through the QR code came with colourful vegetables e.g. the meatball dish. This was meatballs and roast potatoes and while it was healthier version than the traditional one served with mashed potatoes and generous serving of cream sauce, it is important to still include colourful vegetables with your meals. So don’t forget to add a side salad.
- Now while I said earlier it was good there were side salad options available in appropriate portion sizes, I did want to mention that it would have been good to have more varieties of salads based on colourful vegetables rather than grains (such as the quinoa and pasta salad). A couple of the main meals on the QR code that I ordered came with grains/starchy vegetables and so it is not necessary to also then have a side salad based on these foods as you are then doubling up on carbohydrates. It would have been better to have had a number of salads available at the buffet based on vegetables to complement the main meals on order through the QR code.
- There were not many breads to choose from with only foccacia bread and bread rolls available. The bread rolls did have some seeds in them but did seem to be still quite white and light. There weren’t many wholegrain or dense bread options available.
Last word from travel food and nutrition review for Plaza Premium Lounge Helsinki (non schengen)
I would go to the Plaza Premium Lounge Helsinki for more than just the view! While the lounge has a great view of the tarmac where you can the comings and goings of the planes, I think the food is also a reason to visit the lounge. While the food isn’t fancy, I found it to be a solid offering. There were basics on the buffet, and the main meals sampled were tasty and of good quality.
I look forward to visiting the Plaza Premium Lounge Helsinki now that travel is slowly getting back to normal, to see whether the food offerings have returned to what was on offer pre covid.
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NOTE: All pictures are my own and I review a lounge from just the foods and menu I see during my visit. There may be different options available at other times.