Sunday, 27 November 2016

Hella ja Huone in Tampere - when there's just too much

Hella ja Huone is an excellent restaurant in Tampere... but sometimes there's just too much of the good stuff.

* * * 

The highlight of our most recent excursion in Tampere was, quite obviously, sampling the local restaurants. Having just finished the manic cooking spree that is my book, the thought of somebody else doing the cooking for a while couldn't have been more appealing.

The choice for our Saturday night's dinner was Hella ja Huone ; a restaurant White Guide Nordic ranks the #2 in the city - Bertha holding on to pole positin this year, too.

Despite the fact we'd skipped lunch the full 16-course tasting menu (95€) seemed a bit too much. But, as we wanted to sample everything on the menu, we went for it anyway. Luckily the kitchen was willing to accommodate our request to share it. Thank you for the consideration!

As it was a date night and all, I didn't bring my camera with me. 

But as I clearly can't take a night off, I just had to get some ohotos anyway. So, sorry for the crap quality! 

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Beverage package (34€/ 58€/ 80€) we couldn't share, so we each went for Full Monty. 

We kicked off the evening with Champagne (Champagne de Castelnau Réserve Brut) and congratulated ourselves on a clever choice. But little did we know what we were up against...

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1. Little Nibbles 

Rice crisp accompanied by divine lemon mousse and Steak tartare which was beautifully complimented by the carraway seeds in the crisp bread...

... followed by heavenly Jerusalem artichoke soup.

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2. Pucker Porridge

Buckwheat porridge and incredibly intense onion broth, crisp kale and cranberries.

And to drink some Charles Joguet Les Petites Roches Chinon. Oh, yes. 

3. Hallusinating Mussles

Another great dish... though the use of kohlrabi was a bit odd. As it doesn't have much flavour, it just seemed like an undercooked potato.

I also would have appreciated if the insistence on using English in the names would have been followed by correct use of it.

Being a sherry lover, I was thrilled to discover dish had been paired with Tio Pepe. Surprising and well executed move.

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4. Pike Perch walking in the smoky forest

Delightful dish in which the forestey notes were courtesy of spruce shoot syrup. 

A delighful wine pairing, too: Pierre Cherrier's Essentiel Sancerre

5. Snailie, snailie, shoot out your horn

Hands down my absolute favourite all evening. A snail ravioli bathing in a dreamily fluffy celeriac broth migt not look like much but it was such an elegant dish I ran out of words trying to describe it.  So, I hugged the sommelier instead. 

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At his point there was an inexplicable break in the service that went on for so long we thought we'd been forgotten. Not that we were hungry anymore, anyway. We decided to stick around and eventually food started flowing back.

6. Chicken Dance

With great curiosity I observed the date's reaction to this dish: liver being the one thing Gothenburger refuses to eat. Unless it's chicken liver mousse served in a fine dining restaurant in Tampere, apparently.

"Totally different thing", was his impeccable analysis. And who am I to dispute that...

7. Una cerveza para mi cerdo, por favor!

Another wonderfully presented dish accompanied by another cretaive beverage pairing: a Trappist beer.

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8.Ox's Afternoon Tea

A tad too salty consommé was served with flatbread which, while boasting a charmingly crunchy exterior, was still raw in the middle.

9. Pumpkin it up

Art on a plate that just screamed being Instagrammed. As it contained cheese, the date got to have it all to himself.

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10. Fish & Chips

The beurrre blanc of this dish was sheer perfection. As was the wine pairing: Charles Baur Pinot Blanc from Alsace.

11. Tongue & Neck

Based on the name alone this was the dish I looked forward to the most. Unfortunately at this point of the culinary tournament we were so exhausted with all the food we actually felt nauseous.

But, after the pumpkin dish it was my turn to take one for the team. Excellent dish with great textures... but I could only finish half of it. 

The amount of food was starting to feel absurd - and there were two of us to share it! And one of them has, for the past months been eating for four! (no, not because I'm pregnant, but because of the recipes I've been testing for the book).

Wine pairing for this was Cabernet Franc from Loire Valley: Domaine de la Perruche Saumur Champigny.

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12. Say Cheese!

Rather self-explanatory, right? Yes, this was cheese. Which I apparently even forgot to photograph. The date ate it and teh date liked it.

Then it was off to desserts!

13. Nordic kind of sour milk

We liked. Not too sweet and playful textures. The beverage for this was another surprise: pear cider from Normandy.

14. Snow White's Venom

We liked this too. But, we were seriosuly halfway into coma by now so I've not manage to record any analysis on this. 

Tykättiin tästäkin. Uupumus alkoi tosin voittaa, eikä mitään merkittäviä muistiinpanoja ole enää jaksanut edes yrittää saada aikaiseksi.

With this dish we had bubbles from Limoux: Antech Limoux Méthode Ancestrale Doux et Fruité.

15. Ficus Carica Cacaotica

Figs. Chocolate. With Taylor's port wine. Good.

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16. Crêpe Fraiche

The photo was so crap, I'm going to spare you from it. By now, 4 hours into the dinner,  we were just happy to be alive. 

There was no way we could finish all the drinks either. So, we wobbled back to hotel, crashed in the bed and stared each other in disbelief. Man vs. food. Food won. 

The following morning I skipped breakfast - for the first time ever. We still couldn't even think about eating.

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