Friday, July 1, 2011

Timbaali Restaurant - Porvoo, Finland

The Old Town of Porvoo, Finland is located about 30 miles east of Helsinki, in the beautiful green Finnish countryside, and dates from the 1300s. 
It is on the banks of the Porvoonjoki River. While there we spotted a signboard for a Finnish Fish Buffet 
at the Timbaali Restaurant 
with various types of marinated herring, on my eating wish-list for the trip. The buffet as a whole was very good 
and included some firsts for me. 
It included hard-boiled eggs topped with whitefish roe (eggs) and morel and cauliflower cream. 
They had a beautiful look but were kind of bland. The roe added a nice touch but did not stand out taste wise. Cobbler's salmon is not salmon, but Baltic herring, a species of herring found only in the Baltic Sea. It is smaller than the common herring and is found only in the North Atlantic or North Sea and contains less fat. The Cobbler's salmon is made with whole salted Baltic herring 
and then usually pickled in a vinegar marinade. After the fact, I am having a hard time identifying the cobbler's salmon, but I believe it is the most unusual item we ate, which were fillets that were breaded and stiff, an unusual texture, and relatively little taste. 
I was not overly fond of this item, ate all I took, but would not have taken seconds. The smoked salmon and marinated salmon (similar to lox) were dishes familiar to us and were very good, but not what I wanted to focus on. The best items, my focus for the meal, were the marinated herring. By the end of our trip we'd had  mustard marinated herring in quite a few places and it turned out to be my favorite herring preparation.
Despite the mustard it is kind of sweet and the herring is very soft and a little spongy. The marinated herring with juniper berries is another herring we had several times, but not as often as the mustard. 
It is not as sweet as the mustard herring and I like it, but prefer the mustard. Sprats refer to European sprat, or brisling, a small herring-like fish with gray scales and white-gray flesh. The tomato marinated sprats were very similar in taste and texture 
to the herring and I did not notice a difference at the time other than the marinade. This complemented the herring dishes quite well as another alternative, and all together, were my favorite part of the meal. The creamy salmon soup was also excellent, with a tasty broth and nice chunks of salmon, potatoes and other vegetables. 
I took a couple of whole small potatoes which I added to the soup. Our meal was a little hurried, because of our time schedule in town, but thoroughly enjoyable and the best sampling of different fish dishes I had our entire trip. At 23 Euros a piece, it ended up being almost $40.00 for each of us for lunch. But as we were to find out, prices are very high throughout Scandinavia and this ended up being one of the best and best valued meals we ate. 

No comments:

Post a Comment