Monday, June 11, 2012

Pub food: Helsinki English pub edition

Last Friday my friends and I went on a makeshift pub crawl. We started out at a bar just down the street from my apartment, called Bar Bhangra (though I like to call it Bhagra Bar, which if you say it fast enough sounds like Agraba, the madeup city from Aladdin), with tire swings that you can sit on and enjoy as well as a constant drone of Bollywood music. It ended at a bar owned by the same guy nine hours later called Navy Jerry's, which specializes in rum and apparently gay men (or so we found out...much to the dismay of the guys in my group).

Anyway, I won't write about the shenanigans of that night, as there were many and I never disclose happenings of that sort, but I will tell you about the amazing pub food that was eaten at one of our midway stops. We were paused at an English pub for a bit longer than normal called St. Urho's. Now, I'd seen this bar many times in passing - it's right next to Storyville, a great (albeit "older crowd" (a pleasantly diplomatic way of saying, "old people")) jazz bar with a New Orleans theme that I'd been to a few times, and I'd stopped in there once on the way home because it was the only place open with a restroom, but I'd never actually stopped and given them business.

Well on this night we were there actually doing just that. And me and several friends got hungry (as so many of us do, on nights that involve drinking). So we took a look at their menu, and it was actually quite impressive. Fresh pizzas, fish and chips, as well as some other more unique items of note: an antelope burger, seared liver items (multiple, I might add), even an offering of boar.

So, naturally, we ordered the antelope burger. How could we not?!!

And a pizza, for good measure.

The pizza is what I've come to regard as "standard fare" for Finland - pepperoni, pineapple, and bleu cheese. They really love the pineapple + bleu cheese combination. I would have never thought that this would be an acceptable combination of ingredients, but actually it's quite good! Surprisingly delicious. You should try it before you knock it.

And the antelope burger:

Heavenly. Surprisingly quality burger. The meat itself had an interesting flavor - really unique, almost salty by itself rather than being seasoned. Very lean, and musky. Fantastic. (In case you're wondering, four of us split the burger, which is why I have a quarter...and why it's so neatly cut).

The fries were incredible. The British might not make a lot of famously great foods, but they do know their fries. These ones were no exception. Really. Great. Fries.

The burger itself was covered in some sort of delicious creamy sauce, almost like a slaw. I'm not sure what it was, since the menu was unsurprisingly nondescript (all that it said on the menu was "ANTELOPE BURGER" in all-capped Finnish), but we were all too amazed by the flavor of the burger to care.

So, there you have it. Apparently some pubs do make good food. Really glad of it too, because most of my pub food experience so far had been cold con queso, like at my favorite Friday haunt Teerenpeli (don't even get me started on my thoughts regarding cold con queso...that's just plain wrong).

So here's three cheers for St. Urho's and their awesome pub food menu. If you're gonna have a nice pint of something, might as well have something delicious to go with it!

St. Urho's

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