A few weeks ago after Finnish class I decided to walk to Töölö where I was headed to interview a young cobbler. It started to snow so intensely it was like being stuck inside a snow dome someone had just shaken up.
With an hour to go until the interview I was relieved to spy this cafe and ducked inside, out of the cold.
Stepping inside I was taken back by the size. It was tiny! The floor space was about 2m wide by 10m long.
No one was around but I could understand the sign: ‘Ring bell. We are in the kitchen. Thanks!’
A young guy came out and took my order from the menu on the wall. He said the store had been open since the 1960’s and his family had bought it fairly recently.
Most people, he said, phone ahead and take-away. He went back to the kitchen so I took a seat, admiring the retro Danish posters.
It was great, as though the cafe had been decorated in the 1960’s and hadn’t been updated since.
My lunch soon arrived – a delicious open sandwich with fresh salmon and cottage cheese.
Soon another customer stepped in out of the snow and when his order arrived he made as though to eat it standing up. I invited him to share my table – the only table – and we chatted about a trip he’d made with his wife to Australia a few years before.
Sated and satisfied I headed back out into the snow, watched by a drummer boy pinned by the front door.
I felt a bit like him as I tightened my coat and set off once more into the swirling snow, my hat and hood piled high upon my head.
Dansk Smørrebrød – Cygnaeuksenkatu 5, Helsinki
Creating Helsinki – interview with cobbler, Juho Erving