Thursday, October 27, 2005

Kellarikrouvi, Helsinki

Clockwise from left: thin slices of reindeer meat, reindeer liver, pickled herring, something unknown, something else unknown but probably pate in bread, and some kind of cheese

This is a quaint little place in Helsinki (Pohjoinen Makasiinikatu 6, 09-686-0730) that has apparently been here for quite a while. After heading downstairs into the basement, I'm told that they change their menus depending on the season. For starters, we had thin slices of reindeer meat accompanied by reindeer liver (it looked like a scoop of chocolate pudding). With the exception of foie gras, I'm usually not a huge liver fan, and this had a bit of a stank, but it was bearable. The reindeer meat was fine - it honestly didn't have much of a distinct taste - I could have mistaken it for beef for all I knew.

Salmon and some form of morel with with potato

The main course was some kind of a grilled salmon, which was just as one would expect. But the interesting thing was some sort of potato-pastry on the side, which apparently featured some sort of rare fungus/mushroom/morel - but poisonous. I was told that the fungus must be washed several times or something to get rid of the poison before cooking. It sounds like a lot of effort, but it did create a pretty good taste and texture. I'm not exactly a pro in Finnish food to be able to say if this was authentic or not (apparently they do some fusion from time to time), but they had herring, which is definitely common around here. Welcome to Northern Europe.

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