Helsinki fine dining: Havis

On the first night of the conference, we had a very good dinner at Havis, a high-end Finnish cuisine restaurant on the waterfront. It started with skagen, an open-face sandwich that in this case included shrimp, a dill-cream sauce, and lavaret roe. The main was a white fish (I’m not sure we were able to get a good translation as to what kind) in a creamy false morel sauce. Both delicious. Wine was chosen by the eminences of J-P’s department, who’ve made extensive (academic) study of the subject and so have my trust, and dessert was creme brulee with (possibly) lingonberry sauce. Conversation included the antiseptic and other merits of various spices–I plan to report back here later. A good night.

One hitch in the meal: a fellow diner fished something very un-morel-like out of his sauce. As he was wondering what it was, I, with my tact as ever one step behind my mouth, gave a positive id. “That’s a spider.”

And it was. It was very small, and probably well cooked. When we told the waiter, his response was terrifically deadpan. “You’re joking.” Examining plate: “That’s disgusting.” And he brought another.

We enjoyed the food regardless, making jokes about the delicacy of baked giant spider eyes. The topic of Extreme Cuisine came up, as well as the time I watched a woman inadvertently make tarantula tamales in Guatemala.

We actually had an even better meal in Helsinki (story for another post), but nothing else as dramatic. Unless you count the clerk at the second kebab shop we visited warning us away from sitting outside to eat. “Oh, it sounds good. But there are birds attacking people and stealing their food.”

2 Responses to “Helsinki fine dining: Havis”

  1. 1 Jon
    July 1, 2010 at 06:56

    Y’know, as much as I love the taste of the currently copious softshell crabs, I continue to have problems looking them in the eye and chomping down on the things.

    I wonder how a large spider tastes? Like a crab?

    On that note, I think I’m OK with softshell season winding down for another year.

    • July 1, 2010 at 13:23

      J=P says that the first thing one should do in cooking a softshell crab is cut off the face with a pair of scissors. If you’re looking it in the eye, he says, you’re doing it very wrong.

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