Thursday, 20 February 2014

Dining and wining in Helsinki: Hodari & Hummeri

I'd soooo like to think I've been able to shed (at least some of) that black and white know-it-all unconditionality. I'm fairly certain one of my marketable skills in all my job applications (of which there are hundreds!) is flexibility. And sure, occasionally that's actually true. I have a set of socks that has specific socks for each day of the week and once I wore Friday socks on Tuesday. And got through the day (almost) anxiety-free.

But oy, vey what a different story it is with food. As The Boy Next Door has been forced to realize very early on as he delved into the psyche of yours truly. When you want pizza, nothing less than Putte's, the best in town, will do (ok, with the possible exception of  Skiffer). And if it's burger you're after? Only one place you can go, young man: Roslund. And sandwiches anywhere don't have anything on Street Gastro's masterpieces. And everybody in Helsinki knows what is the home to the best falafels in the country: Fafa's.

So far hot dogs haven't evoked any Grand Emotions in me, but as Henri Alen, the master mind behind ventures such as Pastis and Muru opened his latest joint, a tiny hot dog place next to Pastis on Tuesday, that settled my plans for lunch for Wednesday. And what ever he dies, he does it with flair: as the name, Kaartin Hodari & Hummeri ( "Hot dogs and lobster") suggests, this place takes those street food classics very seriously. And to a whole new level.

I came prepared, having already learnt that the buns, soft and deliciously brioche-like are made specifically for them. And the perfect texture of the dogs is the result of a lengthy research.

Of course I just had to have chorizo and octopus (€8.50). Luckily the hilarious spelling of their website (Chorizo and Octopussy) had been corrected at the black board in the restaurant. Though it did evoke some giggles in me and The Mane Magician that I'd stolen away in the middle of her well-deserved day off. Oh, it's good to be this mature and worldly...!

You know how I take my chorizo very seriously. So, this didn't quite live up this name. The texture though was excellent. And the squid... being such a rare treat up here in the North how could it not be lovely!

The Ox (€8.50) was trimmed to perfection with Osso Bucco. Juicy, meaty and the absolute favourite of both of us. The crowing glory? Truffle mayonnaise. Ox rocks!

But c'mon - we had to give lobster a go, too, right? Lobster is available both with Parmesan crust (€50 for a whole one, €29 for half) and in Lobster dog (€20). The fruitiness of the mango relish was an absolute treat.

For sides we had chips with black trumpet mushroom salt (€4.50) and coleslaw (€4.50). Chips were good, but not quite as good as the ones I've had at Roslund. Coleslaw was crunchy and fresh.

You can tell (and taste!) these guys take the quality of the ingredients suitably seriously. The cheeses consist of manchego and treats from small, local producers. The lobster is wild and brought all the way from Ameerica. To wash down these delicious dogs you can have beer, wine or (what else!) Champagne.

If you're in town, you should definitely check this out. The place only seats 15 and won't take reservations, but you can get the dogs to go, too. And these babies are some serious hunger-killing machines. If you do pop in, do try and get the table at the window!

As with Muru, Henri Alen has lucked out with the staff, too. They are friendly, efficient and know their stuff.

Now I should meditate myself into state of zen and brave the queues (which I've been told go around the entire quarter!) at Döner Kallio, the destination for gourmet döners... Maybe next week...? Stay tuned!




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