Treffi Pub & Bistro: So much more than a pub!
People kept mentioning Treffi Pub to me; mainly my girlfriend who has a keen ear for restaurants that might force me away from the latest trending TV series. “They have amazing burgers”, she added cunningly; she had fought well and won. The following Thursday we took the metro to Herttoniemi.
If you’re not familiar with the Herttoniemi area of Helsinki, don’t worry, you don’t need to be; Treffi is directly opposite the metro. Look right, then left, cross the road and you’re there. When you walk in the first thing you notice is the bar, a real bar with taps and seats and people sitting at it talking. As an Englishman who misses very little from The UK except for a decent pub-bar, this was a good start. Then you notice, to the left, a huge restaurant area full of people, and serving staff busying between the tables. Personally I think combining a decent pub and a good restaurant without compromising either can be tricky. However, to my pleasant surprise, Treffi does just this, and much more, impressively well.
A menu with something for every occasion
A very friendly server took us to the table and whilst girlfriend went to investigate the bathroom, I looked around at the surprising mix of customers. There were young ambitious-looking types drinking coffees and staring at laptops at the bar, next to two older guys sipping pints who looked liked they’d been coming here for years. There were groups of workmates sitting down together at a table for an after-work beer and burger, and a couple dressed for a date having dinner and a glass of wine; another group came in and set up a board game. Then girlfriend came back with an excited look on her face, “I got lost on the way to the bathroom. They have a cabin!” The cabin turned out to be a downstairs meeting/conference/billiard room. This place truly caters for everyone.
Talking of which, the food is great. Again, the menu has something for every occasion; burgers and sweet-potato chips, perfect with the special ale from the local Stadin Panimo brewery (there is an excellent selection of beers available at the bar); as well as a full menu of delicious starters and mains and a great house-cocktail list. The starters were delicious (try the asparagus),then we had the trout (spectacular), a delicious mushroom pasta and the much anticipated burger, and yes, the rumours were true, it was amazing. For dessert we couldn’t decide if the impressive Sweet Kiss From Hanna (chocolate, raspberry & yuzu ice cream) or the Passion Panacea & Coconut Cream was better, though both plates were licked clean.
From brunch to dance
One of the serving team explained to me that Treffi’s first life was as a pub, which it did successfully for 23 years before taking the brave step to extend into a neighbouring property and become the restaurant it is today. It was a risk but one that has been executed impressively well, the same core of clients still come to drink at the bar but now there is so much more. Families are welcome, there is a brunch on Sundays, vegetarians and vegans are catered for, on Friday and Saturday nights there is a DJ from eleven pm and the tables are cleared away to reveal a dance floor, there is even a conference room with projector and wifi. It’s managed to do all these things and do them well. A Jack-of-all-trades and master-of-all-of-them.
I’ll definitely be back to sit at the bar and bore people with my tales of British pubs. Then I’ll come back again to have another of those burgers. Perhaps one day I’ll even have a reason to book the conference room though I’ll probably steer clear of the dance floor for now, nobody needs to see that.