Restaurant review: El Meson de Cervantes – Malaga; Spain

17 09 2014

Cava at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

El Meson de Cervantes  is located at the backyards of old town at Calle Alamos. It was established by the same chef, who owns El Tapeo de Cervantes just 50 meters away from Meson. The main difference with the restaurants is the dining room with normal tables and chairs, which Meson has but Tapeo does not have.

Visited El Meson de Cervantes 2nd time this year. Previous review can be found by using search.

El Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

Main allurement are tapas which you can order in three different sizes; tapas, 1/2 raciones or full raciones. You could also choose from restaurant menu different type of starters, main courses and desserts but menu is quite short. If you want to eat tapas at the dining room, you need to ask them in a polite way, although waiter might say that they are meant to eat at the bar.

Started the dinner with glass of cavas and tasty, salty green olives.

This time we ordered all dishes from restaurant menu. Actually most of the dishes are the same. Our dinner started with Warm salad of tuna, roasted peppers and green leaves and Pan seared small squids with spinach.

Tuna was perfectly fried as you can see in the picture below, not too well-done; therefore not too dry. This portion is not so typical for tapas restaurant, it is an example of the high quality level of el Meson de Cervantes.

Squids were best part of the dinner, perfect cooking on the pan and olive oil complemented nicely the flavor of two different squids. Recommend to order this starter, if you visit the restaurant.

Tuna salad - reijosfood.com

Squids at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

First main courses were fishes, 1/2 portions of Salmon with herb butter, black rice and a chick pea pyre and Sea bream wrapped in aubergine, carrot pyre and juniper sauce.

Well prepared portions both of them. Salmon was maybe a little bit over cooked but side dish delicious. Sea bream paired nicely with aubergine and carrot pyre was scrumptious. If I would have to choose, would take Sea bream as big main course only.

Salmon at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

Sea bream at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

For 2nd main courses we had 1/2 portions of Argentinian entrecote with fried potatoes, salad and chimichurri and Wild boar stew with sweet Malaga wine sauce and crispy rosti. 

Entrecote was well-done as requested.

But stew was not the same at all as last time. Found no wine in the sauce and taste was more like standard brown sauce. See the difference, picture on the left was from May and on the right taken few days ago. If we would have been served similar stew, grade for food would have been 0,25 points more.

Entrecote at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

Wild board stew at el Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.comLamb stew at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

Dinner ended with Apple tart and vanilla ice-cream which was bull’s eye again. Difficult to beat warm, sweet and soft apple pie with cold ice-cream….

Also Fig flan of sweet Malaga wine was tasty, but maybe a little bit too sweet.

Apple pie - reijosfood.com

Fig dessert - reijosfood.com

For wine we asked waitress to recommend some rose wine. There were actually three rose wines on wine list from which to choose, but after looking us, she brought us a bottle which was not on the list.

And good that she brought, because it was more full-bodied and darker than rose wines usually are. Wine was Barbazul from Huerta de Albalá, which is a recently created winery located in the province of Cadiz. As it is produced from Syrah grapes, quite dark red color is easily to be explained.

Barbazul rose - reijosfood.com

El Meson de Cervantes serves premium tapas and Spanish food in a relaxed athmosphere. If you decide to dine at restaurant, you can watch chef’s preparing portions in the open kitchen. You can also eat in more restful environment and enjoy to be served by professional waiters.

Tapas bar provides opportunity for close social interaction and eating at higher bar tables.

Restaurant is the place to visit out of hundreds of tapas bars and restaurants in Malaga, if you travel there. Hope the menu will be changed, because it was exactly the same as 4 months ago, as far as I remember. There are not so many dishes to choose from the menu.

REVIEW: FOOD 4/5 – SERVICE 4/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4+/5

http://www.elmesondecervantes.com/eng/index.html

 





Restaurant review: Vino Mio – Flamenco in Malaga, Spain

11 09 2014

 

Flamenco dancer at Vino Mio - reijosfood.com

Restaurante Vino Mío is famous for its Flamenco shows since 2003. The shows are performed by Andalucian Flamenco artists and can include audience participation.

Restaurant is located at a small plaza across from Teatro Cervantes and near pedestrian district.

Restaurante Vino Mio - reijosfood.com

Vino Mio - reijosfood.com

Menu is not traditional Spanish, which you might expect from Flamenco restaurant. Asian flavors, wok’s and pasta come from other countries but mainly not from Spain.

There is Tapas menu available which has more Spanish type of apetizers, if you do not count humus and cous cous to them. However, tapas menu was not served during the show, but we managed to order one starter from it.

Aqua con gas was Perrier, not Spanish. Bread with olive tapenade was delicious, best part of the kitchen.

Perrier at Vino Mio - reijosfood.comBread at Vino Mio - reijosfood.com

While watching flamenco with 4€ extra charge per person, we had for starters Bolsitas Crujientes (2) King prawns and vegetables wrapped up in a crispy filo parcel accompanied by tomato and oregano jam and from Tapas menu Surtido Cervantes Queso manchego, salchichon iberico y chorizo iberico.

As menu explained, ingredients were inside of filo parcel. Basically ok portion but required a little bit more flavor for instance by adding some chili.

Starter at Vino Mio - reijosfood.com

Assortment of Spanish apetizers consisted of manchego cheese and two types of sausages. Basic and delicious pieces of Spanish cuisine. Chorizo pieces were soft which was pleasant surprise, because they can usually be quite thick and difficult to chew.

Tapas at Vino Mio - reijosfood.com

For main courses ordered Wok Bangok Chicken chunks stir fried with fresh vegetables and finished with Thai sweet & sour sauce served with rice and Sate Bali Indonesian marinated chicken breast served with rice, prawn crackers and a peanut sauce.

Not so typical names for portions at flamenco restaurant in Spain?

Chicken skewer in sate sauce was excellent, simple but tasty. Wok Bangok unfortunately did not meet expectations, vegetables dominated too much.

Wok Bangok - reijosfood.com

Sate Bali - reijosfood.com

Flamenco show is presented at 20.00 – 21.30, which is quite early for locals. Most of the customers were tourists but Wednesday did not seemed to be busiest evening.

At the end of the show dancer picked few customers to join flamenco dance which was the funniest part of the show. Imagine yourself repeating the same steps and moves as professional dancer….

Link to video clip at the end of post.

Flamenco at Vino Mio - reijosfood.com

Flamenco dancer at Vino Mio - reijosfood.com

For wine we had L’Hereu cava from Raventos i Blanc in Penedes region. Main grape is Macabeu 45%, but also Xarel.lo and Parellada are used in production. Wineyard has produced wines since 1497, which is also mentioned on the label of the bottle.

Cava at Vino Mio - reijosfood.com

If you would like to see Flamenco for the first time, Vino Mio is the right place. Athmosphere is relaxed, guitar is played well and flamenco shouts and screaming are creditable.

Main think is not the food, but anyone can find something from the menu.

REVIEW: FOOD 3+/5 – SERVICE 4-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4-/5

Restaurant Vino Mio Malaga, Vino Mio Malaga, Malaga Restaurant, Flamenco Restaurant Malaga, Vino Mio Flamenco Restaurant Malaga, Bino Mio Malaga, Vino Mio Restaurant in Malaga Centre,

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PJlECoYC0Zg

 





Hotel review: Swissotel Tallinn, Estonia

7 09 2014

 

Room with a view at Swissotel Tallinn - reijosfood.com

Five-star hotel Swissotel Tallinn is the highest building in the city, boasting impressive views of the old town and the Baltic Sea. 238 rooms and the facilities of this hotel should leave nothing to be desired and it did not indeed.

Check-in and check-out are quick, one of the most comfortables we have experienced.

ROOMS

We always ask for room in upper floors and our 2nd visit was rewarded with room from 29th floor with quite nice view to Tallinn harbour. Hotel also brought to our surprise a bottle of Laurent-Perrier champagne. What would be a better way to feel welcome.

We stayed at Swiss Executive room, which would had provided access to the Swiss Executive Lounge, which offers a range of special features like complimentary beverages, snacks & newspapers, as well as complimentary meeting space.  Unfortunately did not have time to enjoy the facility at all.

Room is spacious and elegantly decorated. And bathroom well equipped with shower and bathtub.

Laurent-Perrier at Swissotel Tallinn - reijosfood.com

Swissotel Tallinn room - reijosfood.com

Swissotel bathroom

PUBLIC SPACES

Public spaces are actually so exclusive that you could spend all the time at the hotel.

On the 11th floor there is heated indoor pool with Finnish sauna and a state-of-the-art fitness club. Purovel Spa and Sport is the perfect retreat after a long day out, offering a wide selection of treatments, from hydrotherapy to hot stone massages.

Unisex sauna was least attractive because it was quite simple; steam sauna’s suit better to spa’s. Maybe it has been there ealier as it was mentioned on hotel website. But would would be better to bathe in heated pool?

Purovel Spa

Tallinn’s “highest” culinary landmark is at the top of Swissôtel Tallinn, with views far out over the Baltic Sea and the medieval old town. Restoran Horisont and bar offer fine dining and drinks at 30th floor. Restaurant is ranked in 1st place on list of Tallinn best restaurants. Unfortunately we were not able to eat at the restaurant this time either because it was under renovation. Maybe 3rd time we are lucky.

Horisont bar

Cafe Swiss is at the 8th floor serving breakfast buffet (can recommend, lacked only sweet pastries), lunch and dinner. Service at breakfast was polite and professional. You could order extra goodies from waitresses which kitchen would prepare right away.

Cafe Swiss

Lobby includes reception, bar and coffee shop. Same waiters operated both places, service again thoughtful. Easy also just to drop, by if you want to take a peek.

LobbySwissotel lobby bar

Swissotel Tallinn is excellent place to spend long weekend. For 5 star hotel it is also quite affordable. Service is excellent and athmosphere relaxed.

Department store Stockmann is only 150 meters away from the hotel and walk to old town takes about 15 minutes.

REVIEW: ROOM 5-/5 – PUBLIC SPACES 5-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 5/5

Tallinn Hotel – Luxury Hotel Tallinn – Swissotel Tallinn

 





Wine review: Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top Brut

3 09 2014

Heidsieck Blue top - reijosfood.com

Established in 1785, Heidsieck & Co Monopole, the fifth oldest Champagne house in France and the makers of popular “Blue Top” Champagne. Today, Heidsieck is owned by the Vranken company, who also have Pommery and Demoiselle in their portfolio.

Name Heidsieck might be confusing because of Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck, which are quite similar champagne names. Is there any connection between persons behind these names?

Heidsieck Monopole Blue Top has been produced from Pinot Noir 70%, Pinot Meunier 10% and Chardonnay 20% grapes. Amount or lack of chardonnay is visible in taste.

THE LOOK

Yellow bottle must be designed to attract younger friends of champagne. Also the size, 20cl, is convenient take-away gift.

Pale, some hints of straw color. Small bubbles all over the glass which disappear quite quickly

THE NOSE

Mild aroma, some fruits but extremely light for nose

THE TASTE

Nice but light and lackluster. Hopefully low fluite in champagne glasses used, did not affect to flavor.

Facts:

Alcohol: 12,00 %
Extract: 29 g/l
Acidity: 6,2 g/l
Sugar: 12 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal / 100 ml (330 kJ / 100 ml)

Heidsieck champagne - reijosfood.com

Tasted champagne as aperitif and noticed that it must be ice cold. Suits with mildly spiced food, snacks and potato chips.

Any experience of this wine?

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 3/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +/+++

Vranken Pommery





Restaurant review: Demo – Michelin star since 2007

31 08 2014

 

Demo logo. - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Demo is a about 40 -seat Michelin star restaurant that opened it’s doors January 2003. Demo serves high class food combined with personal and friendly service. Restaurant goal is to offer a chance to top quality dining, in a relaxed and cozy environment. Means that Demo is the most casual Michelin star restaurant in Helsinki.

Demo earned it’s first Michelin star in 2007 and has been able to keep it for 7 years in a row. Restaurant is open only in the evenings from Tuesday to Saturday. You have to choose from daily menu between 4, 5, 6 or 7 dishes menu, which is well-thought set of the best dishes restaurant cooks innovate daily. You can also order wine pairings instead of bottle or glass of wine chosen by sommelier.

We decided to enjoy six course dinner with suggested wines. Actual plan was five but luckily we chose six because otherwise we would have missed best course, king prawns. For aperitf we ordered glasses of house champagne, Gosset Grande Reserve Brut, which was excellent choice.

Before first dish of the menu, we were served Greetings from kitchen;  salmon, clam, roe and avocado creme. Perfect kick-off for the dinner. Also got some fresh, delicious sunflower seed bread and carrot brioche with ashed butter.

Demo kitchen greeting - reijosfood.comBreat at Demo - reijosfood.com

First course was masterpiece. Sherry flavored broth was poured at the table on top of foie gras, pork and apple. Taste of sherry was mild, but maybe it would have nominated too much, if flavor would have been stronger.

Wine for this course was French dry white wine, produced from chenin blanc grapes. Perfect pairing!

Demo starter - reijosfood.com

Second course consisted of reindeer and beetroot, combination of salty meat and partly sweet root. Pieces of reindeer carpaccio and cooked ones were delicious, carpaccio was soft as it should be. Also beetroot matched nicely with meat. Would say that best parts of Finnish food ingredients were combained in this dish.

Interesting, but successful wine choice with reindeer and beetroot was Château Miraval Côtes de Provence rosé. This “Brangelina” dry (not the driest) rose wine matched especially well because portion was partly salty and partly sweet. I was wondering, if red wine would have suited better, but maybe not because of sweetness of beetroot. Wine review in previous post.

Reindeer at Demo - reijosfood.comBrangelina rose  - reijosfood.com

Third course was the best of all dishes, grilled King Prawns with pork grease. You can get similar prawns in some restaurants by the Mediterranean Sea but only prawns. Demo kitchen adds flavors from pork, dill and garlic mayonnaise which supplements total enjoyment. You might be a little bit terrified, when you hear that there is some grease included in ingredients, but crispy leaf erases the feeling of fear.

Grand Cru Chablis, of course from chardonnay grapes served with prawns, matched extremely well with shellfish.

Demo - reijosfood.com

Fourth dish was actual main course. Lamb in two ways, fried and braised. Fried meat was crisp and almost tasted like reindeer. Braised meat was excellent with cauliflower and green asparagus. One example of Michelin star kitchen was the potato croquet and beetroot colored wrapping on top of it.

For wine sommelier had chosen Pli from Candialle wine yard, which is owned by Finnish wine producer Jaakko Peränen CANDIALLE – Panzano in Chianti. Perfect pairing, amount of Sangiovese (95%) and Petit Verdot (5%) made the wine soft but well balanced. Must buy it also to home.

Lamb at Demo - reijosfood.comPil red wine at Demo - reijosfood.com

For fifth dishes and first desserts we got two different versions. This was due to our request to avoid certain ingredients in another diners portions. Kitchen succeeded brilliantly in this, because all other portions looked similar.

Cheese ice-cream was at the same time salty and sweet, would say the sweetness dominated. Berry sorbet suited well after meat.

Sweet wine which was served with these desserts had only about 6% of alcoholicity. Similarities to apple cider came to my mind, but wine was not so bubbling as ciders are.

Dessert at Demo - reijosfood.comDessert at Demo - reijosfood.com

Sixth course and second dessert was Ice-Cream mousse with blackcurrant cake. Portion included blackcurrant with three ways, which made the dessert refreshing.

Dessert at Demo - reijosfood.com

With coffee and tea kitchen served small confections which were luscious. Marmalade, marshmallows and soft buscuits were perfect ending for fabulous dinner.

Dessert snacks at Demo - reijosfood.com

Interior was renewed about a year ago, which refreshed the look of dining room. Would say that decor has been successfully implemented, it is not too simple neither overkilled.

Demo bar - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Demo is entitled to Michelin star because of comprehensive culinary experience. Athmosphere is casual and informal, but not too much for Michelin restaurant. Service was of course professional, contents of each portion were told clearly as well as the background of wines.

And this time wines were perfect match for all dishes. Sommelier deserves special thanks for choises and therefore overall grade is almost the best restaurant can get from us. Why not 5 for food? You might complain a little bit about the price level but no more than worth of 0,25 points from the best points for food.

Review from previous visit can be found by using search.

REVIEW: FOOD 5-/5 – SERVICE 5-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 5-/5

Restaurant Demo | ”Share a laugh in the middle of culinary excellence”.

 

 

 





Wine review: Brangelina rose – Château Miraval Côtes de Provence rosé

30 08 2014

Brangelina rose  - reijosfood.com

Miraval is the new wine business venture of actor and actresses Brad Pitt with Angelina Jolie in association with the famous Perrin family of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The first 6,000-bottle run sold out within five hours. And hullabaloo continued when Wine Spectator ranked Château Miraval Côtes de Provence rosé as best rose wine 2013.

Grapes used in production are Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle and Syrah. Quite extraordinary combination, wine would not look like rose without Syrah.

We were able to taste this “jewel” at restaurant Demo, as it was one of the wines paired with foods in the menu. With reindeer and beetroot this rose wine matched well because portion was partly salty and partly sweet. I was wondering, if red wine would have suited better, but maybe not because of sweetness of beetroot.

Raindeer at Demo - reijosfood.com

THE LOOK

Looking at the packaging, it looks basically champagne bottle, close to Ruinart which was previously tasted

The color is kind of like fluorescent, light pale pink. If you would see this without knowing which wine is concerned, you might think that someone has added water to red wine

THE NOSE

Wild strawberries and/or raspberry, more like a mild candy

THE TASTE

Fresh fruits aromas, a refreshing acidity but palate is mild compared to most rose wines

Facts:

Alcohol: 13.00 %
Extract: 21 g/l
Acidity: 5.4 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal / 100 ml (340 kJ / 100 ml)

 

Chateau Miraval rose - reijosfood.com

Would I buy this wine, if it would happen to appear in our Alko. Perhaps yes, because I did not first believe, that it would suit for reindeer. But this is summer wine and in the winter would prefer stronger rose.

Actually you can buy it from Alko Arkadia; there are still some bottles left from 120 batch Alko had purchased.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4-/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++/+++

Miraval Provence

All Lists of Top 100 Wines | Top 100 of 2013 | Wine Spectator





Wine review: Champagne Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Brut

28 08 2014

Ruinart and Riedel - reijosfood.com

The Ruinart House was officially created on 1st September 1729 by Nicolas Ruinart, which makes the company oldest established champagne house. The Chardonnay illuminates wines, exalting their brilliance and creating the particular fluidity that makes them so distinctive. Today house is owned by the parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA.

Ruinart Blanc de Blancs is produced from a blend of 100% premiers crus Chardonnay grapes from the best of recent vintages. Grapes from the estate vineyards in Sillery and Brimont are joined by carefully selected grapes from other premiers crus vineyards in the Côte de Blancs and the Montagne de Reims.

THE LOOK

The design of the bottle is elegant and it is sold in stylish box

Champagne shows a superb, golden yellow color but in the bottle it is more yellow than in the glass. Small bubbles in straight strip raise from the bottom of glass continuously

THE NOSE

The nose is clean and light without any disturbing side scents. 100 % Chardonnay guarantees neutrality

THE TASTE

On the palate the wine is very supple and harmonious, with notes of honey and minerals on the long, sustained finish. One of the most pure champagne tastes

Facts:

Alcohol: 12.50 %
Extract: 33 g/l
Acidity: 4.9 g/l
Sugar: 8 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal / 100 ml (350 kJ / 100 ml)

Champagne Ruinart Blanc de Blancs - reijosfood.com

Although Ruinart Blanc de Blancs is NV, it is not basic champagne. It is more expensive due to the chardonnay grapes and whole concept is luxorious including shape of the bottle and package.

Wine suits well for special occasions, to be enjoyed as such. Ruinart pairs with white fishes, shellfish and mildly flavored food. As taste is so delicate, it would be waste to try it with spicy cookings. Excellent champagne, worth to taste and enjoy.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 5-/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++/+++

Ruinart, Wines and Spirits, premium wines – LVMH.








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