For a long weekend we lived like students in Savonlinna. A leisurely all-day train journey from Helsinki brought us to some kind of paradise in the middle of Finland where the easiest way to get around was on a bike or a boat and if you had fine weather (as we did) it was joy enough just to stroll around and enjoy the clean air and the natural world. A bit like London in the first week of the pandemic.
But without the social distancing.
Being on a student budget we saved up our pennies for one big meal and night out during our stay. Kalastajan Koju’s main attraction was the lakeside location but this was soon superceded by the method of cooking their signature dish, flamed salmon.
Flaming the salmon involved a geezer nailing a whole side of salmon to a plank before donning a fire-retardant suit and helmet and holding said plank to a charcoal-fed furnace. In the rapidly darkening atmosphere of Lake Kuussalmi this was a show spectacular enough for Vegas. And inclined to make one thirsty too. I ordered Lapin Kulta. The fresh salmon crusty-fired, dill sauce slathered and chip-laden was the food of the Finnish gods. Väinömöinen himself must have been slavering at the chops to get in on the action.
Digestifs were taken in a local bar where we encountered the most tragic of all the the Finnish drunks I’ve ever met. Sitting in a corner of the bar I spotted him. Wearing a UN peacekeeper t-shirt and baseball cap his physical condition didn’t inspire confidence in his ability to handle any conflict beyond wrestling his flies open. Alas he also spotted me – eye contact made he staggered over to us.
‘Englanti?’ he belched.
He stared into space as he thought about his next conversational gambit.
‘Minne soooo loooooooonely.’
‘You want beer?’
‘I’m sooooooooooo loooooooooooooonely.’ (Tears)
‘You buy beer?’
This went on for some time.
And then we left, leaving him staring at the floor into a pool of his own drool.
9/10 (Resto) 2/10 (Sting tribute act)
To see other restaurants I’ve been to (possibly near you!) go to the GoogleMap …
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).