Restaurant review: HSF – Yacht Club restaurant in Hanko

31 07 2014

HSF in Hanko - reijosfood.com

Since 1938, HSF has been the venue for many to spend a happy summer`s day in Hanko, enjoying dinners and refreshing drinks. Restaurant HSF combines modern gastronomy and restaurant culture with Nordic traditions and the history of Finnish sailing. The roof, pier and sun deck terraces of HSF are great places to enjoy food, cocktails, wines and of course champagnes.

If you dine at the pier (terrace downstairs) as we did, you can enjoy of table service. Otherwise you need to order drinks from the bar between sun deck and pier.

HSF in Hanko - reijosfood.com

Menu is quite short, same at the terrace and at dining room inside consisting of 4 starters, 7 main courses and 4 desserts.

For starters we had HSF Tapas – 4 tastes of summer and Toast Skagen with archipelago bread.

Tapas included from right to the left prawn cake, mustard herring, potato salad and beef carpaccio. Excellent ensemble, on hot summer day herring tasted great and carpaccio was really tender. Toast Skagen was also delicious, the amount of roe was princely. Both portions included tasty avocado dressing.

Tapas at HSF - reijosfood.comToast Skagen at HSF - reijosfood.com

For main courses ordered Salad with roasted chicken and avocado dressing and HSF burger Full steak, gouda cheese, tomato slice, onion and BBQ mayonnaise with French fries.

Salad included pineapple, melon and grapefruit which made it juicy. Chicken was a little bit over roasted but otherwise ok. Burger bread was not white which was welcomed option. Steak was enough thick and medium and therefore succulent.

Salad at HSF - reijosfood.comBurger at HSF - reijosfood.com

And for desserts Ice-cream portion of course and Coconut brulee with pineapple compote.

For ice-cream chose licorice and mint ice-creams, both enjoyable. Licorice is Finnish speciality which you must try if it is available. Coconut brulee was also delicious but taste of coconut could have been stronger. Some berries made the portion more colorful.

Ice cream at HSF - reijosfood.comCreme Brulee at HSF - reijosfood.com

Wine chosen was Villa Huesgen by the glass which is modern and fresh german riesling. Paired extremely well with starters and with chicken salad but had glass of red wine (real glass not bottle) with HSF burger. Interesting name for wine, “by the glass”!

Riesling at HSF - reijosfood.com

You could also dine at round restaurant building but if weather allows, choose pier. We ate between lunch and dinner time and due to timiing there were some empty tables. During rush hours all tables are occupied and especially during weekends. Summer season starts from Mid Summer and ends about in mid August.

HSF - reijosfood.comHSF dining room - reijosfood.com

About 27C degrees at 6PM in Finland is marvelous and therefore each opportunity to eat outside raises overall grade. Food was great and service polite and customer-sensitive. If you decide to eat inside, ask for window tables opening to harbour.

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





Wine review: Anna de Codorniu Brut Blanc de Blancs

30 07 2014

Anna de Codorniu - reijosfood.com

Anna de Codorníu is the flagship cava of Codorniu bodega and was the first to incorporate the Chardonnay variety in its blend as early as 1984. Delicate, elegant and fresh, this is the best tribute to the last person in the Codorníu family to use the family surname.

The Anna range is a collection of fresh, elegant and delicate cavas with a unique personality. Blanc de Blancs was introduced in October 2013 and it obviously tries to compete against Moet & Chandon and Lanson with their “white” champagnes. Similar set of white coolers and glasses supplements the package. One big difference is that Anna is dry (brut) trying not to tempt customers favoring sweeter bubbling wines. And it is Cava, not Champagne.

Blanc de Blancs should include only Chardonnay grapes, as far as I know? Anna has 70% Chardonnay, 15% Parellada and 15% Xarello, Macabeo. Is it then Blanc de Blancs?

Anna de Codorniu Blanc de Blancs - reijosfood.com

THE LOOK

White bottle is refreshing for cava and suits especially for summer time enjoyments.

Wine is more yellow than Cavas usually are.

Anna is cava with a fine and persistent bubbles that forms a continuous string of tiny bubbles. But bubbles dissappeared quite quickly.

THE NOSE

Full of citrus and tropical fruit notes. Funny, but first time could really find some bouquet of toast.

THE TASTE

Soft and balanced without disruptive flavors. 70% Chardonnay is the reason for all of this.

Facts:

Alcohol 11,5%, Sugar 8 g/l

 

Cava - reijosfood.com

Wine suits for aperitif and pairs with almost every food. However, would not choose it for red meats but for chicken and pork definately.

Bottle tasted was bought from cruise ship between Helsinki and Tallinn. Therefore it was really affordable and earns 3 plus marks.

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

Annas Blanc de Blancs | Anna de Codorníu.

 





Restaurant review: Origo (Hanko, Finland)

29 07 2014

 

Origo candles

Restaurant Origo is located in the old ware house from 1893 in the Eastern Harbour of Hanko. The first owner of the building was a businessman and customs worker Martin Lignell. The house was used as a storage room for import and export goods in the early years and was turned in to the restaurant in 1989 after beeing empty for years.

Origo with the relaxed atmosphere and décor is restaurant which with its candles makes dining experience in a way quite unique.  Do I remember wrong that couple of years ago there were more but smaller candles?

 

When one enters to the restaurant one can see archipelago buffet from the entrance door. Have had buffet for starter two times before and can recommend it. One can order it also as main course. On hot summer day cold meal might be tempting.

Restaurant has had couple of years tablets as menus. It is easy way to browse what is available.

Tablet at Origo - reijosfood.com

This time ordered for starters CHEVICE OF ZANDER with Salad of fennel and radish, crispbread of spelt, dill aioli and SOUP OF JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes, bread with huile de verde

Starters were best part of the dinner. Chevice was finetuned with salad because we asked it not to include radish. Soup was tasty but quite thick and bread was excellent with pesto on it.

Starter at Origo  - reijosfood.comSoup at Origo - reijosfood.com

For main courses had ROASTED WHITE FISH Cauliflower flavored with seesame oil, potato terrine with spring onions, puré of fresh peas, butter sauce with carrot and ECOLOGICAL LAMB  IN TWO WAYS with risotto made of wheat and chantarelles, roasted root vegetables and port wine sauce.

Big thanks to the kitchen for changing cauliflower and peas to carrots. Finnish white fish is always enjoyable and carrot pyre paired well with it. Butter sauce instead tasted too much for butter.

One part of lamb portion was chevy but over cooked shoulder was tender as it should be. Risotto from wheat could have been more cooked because big wheat pearls were a little bit hard. Or they just were too big.

Unfortunately must say that 30€ for these portions is too much.

Whitefish at Origo - reijosfood.comLamb at Origo - reijosfood

For dessert had with coffee AND THEN White chocolate with ginger, dark chocolate with cranberry and marshmallow with mint

Odd greasy dessert, should the pieces be colder? Two years ago restaurant had chocklate from Petri but these did not seemed to be those.

Dessert St Origo - reijosfood.com

Three times before Origo has been able to provide steady quality with good service but something has happened because customers had dissappeared. Other restaurants in the same row of buildings were crowded.

Origo dining room - reijosfood.com

Restaurant website has misleading information; upstairs was not open and KUNGFU Girl riesling was not available although it is particularly mentioned.

Therefore ordered Peter Jakob Kuhn riesling Rheinschiefer which paired well with dishes. Also had suggested red wine with lamb but it should have been more full-bodied.

Riesling at Origo - reijosfood.com

We were given table from the corner of the room although restaurant was almost empty. Usually customers are given tables so that by-passers can see them from the entrance door. Air conditioning on really warm evening was a plus because we decided to dine inside, not at the terrace.

Origo - reijosfood.com

Earlier review can be found by using search and writing Origo.

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

http://www.restaurant-origo.com/






Restaurant review: Töölönranta – city terrace surrounded by nature

27 07 2014

Töölönranta terrace - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Töölönranta combines the distinctively natural Helsinki landscape with a restaurant atmosphere. The contemporary Finnish architecture and design, surrounded by the unique landscape of Töölönlahti bay and park, makes restaurant an oasis almost in the center of city. Especially dining at the terrace is relaxing experience. Bar area has been developed to lounge type of port of call with soft lounge music.

Got the table under the awning which is more convenient place that sitting under the trees. For aperitives ordered glasses of Freixenet Mia Rose wine, which should have been more chilled as the wine is medium dry. You also get some foccacia bread to the table after you place the order.

Rose wine and foccacia at Töölönranta - reijosfood.com

For starters we had Seared king prawns with fennel and TASTES Sesame salmon with dill mayonnaise, King prawn with fennel and Cured beef with rocket lettuce and parmesan.

Prawns were really scrumptious and fennel paired with them perfectly. A little bit less salt and portion would have been bull’s eye.

You could pick three different tapas size of portions from six options if you choose TASTES as starter. When it says king prawn, there is really only one king prawn but prepared same way as first starter. Sesame salmon was also excellent as well as cured beef. Maybe the pieces of meat could have been thinner.

Shrimps at Töölönranta - reijosfood.comTastes starter at Töölönranta - reijosfood.com

In Finnish restaurant you must choose fishes if you have not already done so. For main courses we chose Lightly smoked salmon warm potato salad and creamed morels and Chargrilled lavaret with spring vegetables and new potatoes, Beurre blanc sauce.

Salmon was tasty with potato salad. Found some sand in morels which is not so nice when you bite them. Luckily only one time.

Lavaret or whitefish is propably most common fish in the summer time at Finnish restaurants and it always tastes good. Simple portion with potatoes is like Finnish summer.

Salmon at Töölönranta - reijosfood.comLavaret at Töölönranta - reijosfood.com

For desserts Fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream and Ice cream portion.

Finnish strawberries are delicious but these are the last days to get freshly picked ones. And when it is warm summer, what suits better than ice-cream? Chose tiger ice-cream which has hint of orange taste.

Strawberries at Töölönranta - reijosfood.comIce cream at Töölönranta - reijosfood.com

Wine list is fairly short and chose Printz von Hessen which has quite typical young riesling aromas and taste.

Riesling at Töölönranta - reijosfood.com

Portions are elegantly laid out and tasty. Several waitresses serve you, there does not seem to be named tables for them.

But best of Töölönranta is the terrace which has excellent location surrounded by nature but so close to the center of city. While walking to the restaurant you can admire cultural buildings like Helsinki Music Hall, Finlandia House and Opera House and at the same time observe birds enjoying of Töölönlahti bay.

Töölönlahti - reijosfood.comTöölönranta terrace - reijosfood.com

Töölönranta terrace - reijosfood.comTöölönranta - reijosfood.com

And at lounge bar you can enjoy aperitives, digestives or just cold drinks in order to relax and make your day perfect.

Töölönranta lounge - reijosfood.com

Good reasons to give high overall grade. Of course dining inside is also enjoyable because of large windows but prefer terrace in the summer.

REVIEW: FOOD 4/5 – SERVICE 4-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5

 

 





Restaurant review: PureBistro – hidden terrace in Torikorttelit blocks

25 07 2014

Pol Roger Champagne at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

PureBistro is a modern bistro with hidden terrace next to the Market Square in Torikorttelit blocks.  Restaurant is owned by Michelin star restaurant Luomo (on the 2nd floor) chef”s Jouni Toivanen and Mika Mattila. That explains partly why PureBistro is one of the five Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants in Helsinki.

PureBistro entrance - reijosfood.com

Dining room at PureBistro is quite small and therefore in the summer time you might decide to dine outside, which we did as temperature was close to 30C degrees. The entrance to the terrace is either through restaurant or gateway which is in Katariinankatu. There are only about 30 seats at the terrace, therefore better arrive early because restaurant does not take reservations there.

PureBistro terrace - reijosfood.com

If you dine inside, ask for window table and you can enjoy sea view and observe bustle at the Market Square.

PureBistro and Market Square - reijosfood.com

Restaurant used to have 3 course dinner at the price of 45€. But not this time! Maybe PureBistro wants to utilize high tourist season and not offer any special prices if you eat starter, main course and dessert. Many fine dining bistros are closed at the moment, that might be another reason to cash in. On the other hand prices are reasonable compared to food quality.

Because of excellent weather had to start the dinner with Champagne, Pol Roger Extra Brut. To be honest, too dry for us.

Pol Roger Extra Brut - reijosfood.com

After placing order you will get fresh bread paper bag on the table. I am sure that you will eat every piece of bread, they are so tasty.

For starters we ordered RAINBOWTROUT WITH TRADITIONAL FINNISH SALAD and BARBEQUE PORK “JAPANESE STYLE”

Trout confit was slightly cooked but so little that it made us wonder how it was prepared. One change was made; “scrambled eggs” replaced dill-potato salad because it included some milk. Pork was as it would have been prepared in qenuine Asian restaurant. It included miso, teriayaki sauce and mushrooms. PureBistro usualluy have one or two portions available with Asian flavors.

Rainbow trout at PureBistro - reijosfood.comPork at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

For main courses we had two times PAN FRIED PEARCH, CHANTERELLES AND CRAYFISH- POTATO TERRINE but two different versions of it.

First picture is portion without any changes. Perfectly fried small pearch pieces were delicious. No single fish bones although perch is one of the most difficult fishes to remove them. Sweet fennel supplemented the taste of chanterellers. Ingredients which included milk were replaced with turnips and oil dressing. Have not ever before tasted roasted turnips but will definately try them at home.

Perch at PureBistro - reijosfood.comPerch at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

For desserts we ordered STRAWBERRYMILK” and CHEESEs.

“Milk” in the first dessert was replaced with strawberry sorbet and sauce. Again excellent example of kitchen’s creativeness and competence to take account of food allergies. Cheeses were tasty as expected. Especially Comte paired well with jam.

Strawberry dessert at PureBistro - reijosfood.comCheeses at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

For wine we had Tesch 1 Liter Riesling, only riesling on wine list. Wine paired well with all dishes we had; well, maybe not with desserts. Dry, about 6 g/l sugar, balanced acidity and minerality. If you prefer vintage wines you could also order from restaurant Luomo’s wine list.  

With coffee and tea had to try “soft” Jacopo Poli Grappa di Sassicaia Elevata in Barili. Not basic grappa, more like real dessert “wine”.

Waiter left the bottle on our table so that we could study it more detailed. Label on the backside of the bottle told that Grappa had been matured in Sassicaia barrels and it was made mainly from Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Savignon grapes.

Grappa at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

PureBistro is genuine Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant and actually one of the first fine dining bistro type of restaurants in Helsinki. Chef’s at the kitchen create flexibly excellent portions and menu changes regularly.

If weather is suitable, you must try the terrace where you can dine in restful and relaxed athmosphere.

Previous PureBistro reviews can be found by using search.

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





Restaurant review: Pöllöwaari (Jyväskylä)

22 07 2014

Riesling at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.com

Boutique hotel Yöpuu in Jyväskylä, Finland is located in historic building which was built 1928. In the same building operates fine dining restaurant Pöllöwaari, where we dined during our stay at the hotel.

Restaurant has two dining hall’s and private cabinets. You could also eat at the small terrace outside.

Pöllöwaari dining room - reijosfood.comPöllöwaari terrace - reijosfood.com

Restaurant concept includes Winebar, where we tasted some wines a year ago. Great experience (http://reijosfood.com/2013/08/08/wine-tasting-without-advance-booking/). Nice “after taste” from that visit was the reason, why we decided to stay in this privately owned hotel instead of chain ones (hotel review coming later).

You could enjoy one of the three tasting menus like “Tour of the land” or “Voyage of the senses” depending on how many portions you would like to eat.

We ordered from a la carte list first starters and main courses.  The dinner started with delicious greetings from the kitchen. As you can see from the cover plate, restaurant uses Iittala “Taika” set of dishes.

Iittala Taika plate at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.com

Kitchen's greetings at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.com

For starters we ordered Whitefish & black currant with cucumber and sour cream and Lobster & cherry tomato with pumpkin seed and chervil.

Take a look at those portions, like art?! Whitefish had been colored with blueberry and taste of berries was perfect with black currant. There was also whitefish roe on the plate which is one of the best Finnish roes.

Warm lobster made another starter extravagant and it it really tasted like it. There was also lobster inside warm croquet. One of the best starters ever eaten.

Whitefish starter at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.comLobster starter at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.com

Main courses were Pike-perch & potato with celery, pea and lemon and Flounder & scallop with orange, sea sorrel and sparkling wine.

Pöllöwaari had not been able to get fresh pike-perch and it served whitefish instead. Lemon was actually hollandaise sauce which was excellent. Whitefish was a little bit overcooked but fish skin was eatable as it was enough crispy.

Sea sorrel is rare side dish and new for us.  Portion included quite a lot cauliflower which was not mentioned in the name of dish. Should have because the amount of it was 10 times more than sea sorrel. Disussed about that with head waitress, but maybe she did not understand our message. Scallop was fried as it should be, not overcooked.

Whitefish at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.comFish at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.com

For desserts we ordered Cranberry & blond chocolate with rye and rosemary and Lemon & meringue with limoncello and curd.

Cranberry mousse seems to smile waiting for someone to eat it. Half sweet, 1/4 salty and 1/4 bitter; excellent combination. Lemon dessert was scrumptious, not much more to say.

Dessert at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.comDessert at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.com

Restaurant uses lot’s of herbs. At the terrace there are boxes chef’s visit regularly. A proofpoint of fresh herbs chef’s grow by themselves.

Herbs at Pöllöwaari terrace - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Pöllöwaari is fine dining restaurant worth to try. Most of the portion names follow the trend; two main food ingredients named. Usually no more explantions but Pöllöwaari tried to give some more information by mentioning 2-3 other ingredients. This is difficult because you can not not name all but they should be well chosen. The discussion about sea morrel and cauliflower was one example.

Service was precious, maybe a little bit rigid. When dishes were brought to the table, contents were explained precisely.

From wine list, which included excellent cellar wines, we chose Domaines Schlumberger Riesling Grand Cru Kessler 2008. Golden yellow aromatic wine which paired well with fish dishes. Unfortunately not available Alko’s regarding to waitress.

REVIEW: FOOD 4,5/5 – SERVICE 4-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5

http://www.hotelliyopuu.fi/en/3/2/Restaurant

 





Wine review: Verrocchio Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2012 – wrong vintage

18 07 2014

Valpolicella Ripasso - reijosfodo.com

If you want to buy wines in Finland you have to go to Alko, which is monopoly company owned by Finnish government. Nowadays you can utilize web shops, if you pay Finnish alcohol tax for your purchases.

When visiting Alko I usually read carefully what is written on the labels explaining if the wine is dry, full-bodied and so on. I chose Italian red wine Verrocchio Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2012 partly based on the information of it’s label on wine cabinet. This visit was about 2 months ago.

The label said that wine should have medium tannins. I am not a fan of wines which include too much tannins because they are just too “hard” to be enjoyed. But information on the label was based on vintage 2011 and purchased wine had changed to 2012. On the label there was nothing about vintage. Because of amount of tannins had to check what Alko said on their web Pages about the wine. Same story from year 2011!

When checking again few days ago, vintage had been changed to 2012 at Alko web page. But still story about medium tannins…..

Wine is made from grapes Corvina and Rondinella. Typical Ripasso grapes.

THE LOOK

Dark red, some hints of brown color.

THE NOSE

Ripasso type, but you can already notice the tannins.

THE TASTE

For me, lot’s of tannins, full-bodied, dark berries, warm.

Valpolicella Ripasso- reijosfood.com

Facts:

Alcohol:      13,50 %
Extract:      36 g/l
Acidity:       5,3 g/l
Sugar:         6 g/l
Energy:       90 kcal / 100 ml (370 kJ / 100 ml)

Ripasso, the younger brother or sister of Amarone, is excellent wine for every ocation. Suits for all meats and of course with Italian food.

Unfortunately misleading (old) information did not make this tasting as pleasant as it could be. Therefore only 3,5. Would like to try vintage 2011 to see if the label at Alko was right about year older Ripasso.

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








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