Helser’s on Alberta Street in northeast Portland is famous for their breakfast and brunch offerings. I had learnt that they are one of the few places that serves Scotch eggs. Scotch eggs are commonly found in pubs, cafés and at picnics in the UK. A Scotch egg is basically a hard-boiled egg with the shell removed and is wrapped in sausage meat, coated in bread crumbs and deep-fried. I was curious what the Scotch eggs would be like as I’d never tried one before. Hence, I made it a point to go and check out Helser’s when I was visiting Portland last year.
I ordered the Scotch Egg and Potato Pancakes ($6.95), which consisted of a hard-boiled egg wrapped in bratwurst, lightly breaded and fried till it was golden brown. The Scotch egg was served alongside three potato pancakes with horseradish cream, crème friache and applesauce. The potato pancakes were made with fresh chopped russet potatoes and mixed in an egg batter with onion and garlic. Personally, I wasn’t crazy about the potato pancakes as I found them to be quite bland. Also, I wish the potato pancakes would be more crispy. Because the potatoes were mixed in an egg batter, the potato pancakes had a texture more similar to regular pancakes. I personally prefer the Swiss-style potato pancakes (rösti) that are made without eggs or flour as they are more crispy. As for the Scotch egg, I loved it. I thought the egg was perfectly cooked and the breading was crispy. Overall, the Scotch egg was well-seasoned, flavourful and had nice contrasting textures. Since it is possible to order the Scotch egg by itself as a side for $2, on my next visit to Helser’s I think I’ll pass on the potato pancakes and order the Scotch egg as a side so I can try out some of their other breakfast creations instead.
My friend C decided to try the Pear and Havarti Pie ($7.50). The pie was made with Bartlett pears and havarti cheese and was baked in an egg custard and served with crème fraiche, fresh fruit and a toasted crumpet. I had a taste of the Pear and Havarti Pie and personally, I wasn’t crazy about it. I loved the combination of flavours from the pear and the havarti cheese but I was not crazy about the custard-like texture as I found it to be too mushy for my liking. I don’t think there is necessarily anything wrong with the dish. It was just not my style.
Overall, we enjoyed our experience at Helser’s. Their prices for breakfast are certainly very reasonable. The Scotch egg was memorable as it was well-executed. The breakfast/brunch menu at Helser’s is quite diverse so I’d definitely like to go back on my next trip to Portland so I can try out some of the other items like the German Pancakes, which are known as Dutch Babies.
Helser’s on Alberta
1538 NE Alberta St