Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Feasting on Finnish archipelago's treats

Our precision attacks around the Finnish archipelago have left us with lots of lovely memories... especially around our waists. Oh, one eats and lives so well there!

Unfortunately we never got around to the girl's roadtrip (destination of which last summer was Hanko) but instead  I've been tripping (on and off the road) with The Boy Next Door. And eventually we made it to Hanko, too. Of course. It is one of those once in a summer things after all. (For snapshots of last year's trip to Hanko, pop in here.)

For The Boy Next Door the trip was first in nearly two decades, but a very familiar place form his childhood - the summers of which were largely spent there. And sure enough Hanko never fails. It's always as adorable as one remembers.

I did make it known that in addition to owning a boat (!) I also wouldn't terribly minding having a house in Hanko. You know, one of them ornate 150- year old villas that dot the promenade. Though he'd probably name it something like Aston Villa - just to spite the Manchester United loving me...

But what's a trip around the archipelago without the archipelago buffet? It was too late for that in Nauvo, but luckily there's always Hanko. I'd already eaten my way through På Kroken's very nice selection (€26) some years ago so this time decided to feast on Restaurant Origo's spread, located on the West side of the Hanko next to the other restaurants (remember last year's heroic lunch at Hangon Makaronitehdas?)

Because we we're still on our summer holiday, it was still technically summer. And since it was summer, it must be warm? And during warm summer one sits out on a terrace, right...?

And so we did. With two pints of Erdinger. Shivering, yes, but out on the terrace.

The decor of the restaurant borders on fancy.

The candles, placed in the nooks in the stone wall make for rather romantic atmosphere.

The sign advertizing the place as "Restaurant and music bar" didn't exactly impress me. The archipelago buffet (€29.80), luckily, did.

For those of you not familiar with this glorious archipelago tradition, archipelago buffet is something restaurants in the Coastal Finland (and archipelago, of course) often have in the summer. It's got everything to make a fish-loving Scandinavian very happy: several sorts of pickled herring, salmon (cold smoked, warm smoked, gravad...), roe with all the trimmings (hard-boiled eggs, sour cream, finely chopped red onions), shrimps, fish terrines... and usually some meaty choices too. Oh, and did I mention the best part? All. You. Can. Eat. 

And that. I. Did. 

Seeing its a buffet that is served all day long, the boiled potatos (gotta have those!) had transmogrified to rubber, but the taste (oh, the joys of new potato!) was nevertheless good. There wasn't much bread left though - just a couple of slices of the archipelago malt bread (can't have the buffet without that!)

Luckily there was plenty of fish in the sea. Smoked herring, mackerel and salmon. So many varieties of pickled herring The Boy Next Door improvised an ode to this humble fish. And a couple of terrines made of fish and/ or seafood. Oh, we liked. 

They didn't have those whole shrimps that I OD on every time I ever see them anywhere, but they did have some ready peeled ones in sort of Asian marinade that almost made up for it. 

For meat lovers there were some (dried up by now) pates with trimmings and slices of roast of some sort.

Did we get our money's worth? Think so. Once in a summer, people, once in a summer...




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