Imagine you could go into a restaurant, as someone who is celiac, and all of the desserts were gluten-free except for one. This is what happened to me the other day when my boyfriend and I had a day off and we decided to visit Porvoo; it was an ex-tempore kind of thing which ended up with a great meal and lots of dessert choices.
I did not plan on writing anything about this trip, but I was so surprised with the quality of the food and most of all of the gluten-free choices that I felt like I had to share this.
Our choice of destination was Porvoo, which is a 30 minutes drive from Helsinki. The old part of Porvoo is really the reason why I like visiting this place; it is steeped in history and it has still maintained much of the old buildings and historic places. It was established as early as 1380, and it is somewhat of a tourist attraction - for good reason that is.
The restaurant were we ended up is called Timbaali; and I was not really expecting all that much, except for the escargots which this place is famous for. It is located in the middle of old Porvoo in a house which was built in 1730, this of course makes for a lovely dining environment.
We started off with ordering some garlic escargots, which were just delicious. They add parmesan to the escargots which gives them a nice full flavour. I used to be a total escargotholic before I was a vegetarian and escargots served with garlic are one of my all time favorite dishes; this was the first time I ate escargots since I went back to my carnivorous ways.
And their escargots were certainly no disappointment.
I had a hard time choosing the main dish, but finally decided on the roasted guinea fowl, pistachio chicken pâté and lemon sauce. The dish was perfect, there was total harmony between all of the flavours and this created a fusion that was above the ordinary; one their own the flavours would have been too subtle, but together they worked well. The meat was also cooked perfectly.
My boyfriend ordered the roasted veal, tomato puree and parmesan mousse which were all good and worked well together, but veal itself is not a favourite. I do not know why it is thought of so highly since it in reality does not have much taste. Maybe because it is so soft, but then again something soft that is lacking of flavour reminds me of baby food and I am a little bit too old for that.
When the time came to order desserts I was almost sure that the only thing I can have is some cheese and a coffee, but the waitress said, quite happily I might add, that all except for one of the desserts are gluten-free, even the crown cake.
I was surprised to say the least.
My choices included a milk chocolate pannacotta with coconut sherbet, the classical crown cake with rhum raisin parfait, the crème brûlée with lemon glazed strawberries and finally some Finnish and European cheeses.
I was in such a shock that I just decided on the cheeses, my boyfriend ordered the crown cake with a rhum raisin parfait. The cheeses were good, but the crown cake was so, so good with the rhum raisin parfait. Please, do try this if you ever eat at this restaurant.
All in all this is one of the best restaurants were I have ever eaten in Finland, and I can say that I was pleasantly surprised going in there not expecting all that much. The staff also deserves a special mention, the service was excellent - Finland is not exactly known for the service - but the waitresses we had that evening really knew what they were doing and their professional and friendly manner made our evening all that much better.
If you are ever visiting Finland and want to eat a great gluten-free meal, do visit this restaurant.
I am sorry for the lack of food pictures, these were just snapped quickly after we ate, I was not planning on doing a post about this, so that explains why I did not take any pictures during our dinner.
I will be back next week posting recipes in a regular manner.
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