LOHJA, Finland (AP) — An award-winning chef has opened a new restaurant in Finland that turns the idea of "pop-up" eateries upside down: it's located 80 meters (260 feet) underground.
Discerning food lovers are being served salted salmon, veal tenderloin, snails cooked in Pernod and apple crumble in the "pop-down" restaurant in a limestone mine in the small, southern town of Lohja (LOU-ya), 60 kilometers (40 miles) west of Helsinki.
A four-course evening meal costs €128 ($160), including drinks and transportation from Helsinki to the mine and back.
In major cities around the world "pop-up" restaurants — temporary eateries often located in underused kitchens — are allowing young chefs with experience to experiment without risk of bankruptcy.
But Finnish chef Timo Linnamaki said the idea of preparing food down a mine was all part of being close to the earth.
"'Pop-down' is such a unique idea that I just had to do it," Linnamaki said Monday, a few hours before the first guests arrived. "It's great working down here because you are totally cut off from the world, so nothing distracts from the cooking."
Eerie blue lights cut deep shadows into the ceiling of the large, dim, underground cavern, a former smithy where drills were hammered to dig into the bowels of the Earth.