Restaurant Day is one of the small things that makes Helsinki so special. Four times a year people in Helsinki are permitted to open their own pop-up restaurant around the city and serve food. No special permits or food safety inspections are needed, it’s buyer beware and I wish we had it in Toronto.
It first started in May 2011 as an act of rebellion but it has become so popular it is now seen as a a positive community event. Absolutely anyone can decide to become a restaurateur for the day and sell their food wherever they want around the city. It has become such a big event that hundreds of pop-ups appear throughout the city along with a website, app and many people with opinions on where to check out the best food.
Today I was lucky enough that Pete from Hecktic Travels was in town and keen to spend a day eating. Unfortunately the app wasn’t as great as we had hoped and we didn’t see anything we were dying to eat – just a lot of cupcakes.
Eventually we wandered down to the bus station and smelled meat grilling so we made a beeline for it. Turns out they had horse meat, antelope and venison. I have eaten horse meat a few times, and the only time it was bad was as a burger in New Zealand which ended up tasting like cheap beef. I have no issue eating horse meat and think it’s odd that people are okay with eating cows but not horses. But with everyone talking about the European scandal of Findus having horse meat in their lasagna it seemed that we had to try it here.
It was awesome!
It was Pete’s first time eating horse so I was so hoping it would be good. The venison was a bit overcooked, the antelope was good but the horse meat with the accompanying bacon gravy was some of the best meat I have eaten.
And it also inspired an intimate moment between Pete and I (sorry Dalene) when we realized we were similar eaters and like to keep a few pieces of the best thing for last.
The horse meat was definitely the best.
Disclosure: I was a guest of the Finnish Tourist Board as part of a Navigate Media Group project. They did not request that I write a favourable review or ask that I try horse meat in Europe so soon after the Findus scandal.