Wednesday, October 10, 2007
A most bizarre dining experience was had in Helsinki. We couldn't get into a couple of restaurants we wanted to try so stumbled upon a giant barn of a place in downtown Helsinki right near the bus station. Older gentlemen in varying stages of drunkenness swayed dangerously on the front steps. At first appearance we thought it was a country and western bar, with tractors sitting in various locations around which tables were formed. Lots of old farm implements, wagon wheels and plows, and a dance floor large enough for a group of enthusiastic line dancers to scoot a boot. The staff were surly and non committal but we finally found a table and read through the menu. It was written up with a lot of apparently tongue-in-cheek-humour, and appeared to be based on old Finnish farmhouse recipes: lots of meat, potatoes, sausage and swedes. We ordered and received two hugely-mounded plates of food, mostly potato. The rest of the clientele looked like rejects from a Billy Ray Cyrus video, with lots of mullets and cheesy clothing: The Finnish equivalent of the Nascar set. Anyway, the men's bathroom walls were completely covered in pictures of half nude pinup girls from 1960-1970 girly magazines, interspersed with advertisements for tractors.
Turns out the Zetor is a revered old Czech brand of tractor that just ran and ran. Finnish farmers could get low-powered versions of them very cheaply in the impoverished days of Finland's independence from Russia (Finland as a country was only formed in 1917 and was previously part of Sweden, followed by a stint as a Grand Duchy within Russia).
Anyway, we were glad to get out of there as the clientele and staff were equally unfriendly, and the former were mostly blind drunk.
Posted by Hoto at 10/10/2007 02:03:00 AM