Restaurant review: Torero – Spanish whiff

23 04 2014

Torero Joensuu - reijosfood.com

Torero is Spanish type of restaurant chain locating in 5 cities on the same premises as Sokos Hotels. Same Spanish concept is used in Sevilla restaurants in the capital area. We dined at Torero Joensuu during Eastern time.

Menu consists of pinchos, tapas, fish and meat from the grill and other delicious sounding food. You could even order paella, which is not the easiest one to prepare.

After ordering we were first served warm tomato-goat cheese soup with fresh bread. Quite nice gesture from the chain restaurant to serve actually quite delicious appetizer. Have you ever served real appetizer in chain restaurants?

Appetizer at Torero - reijosfood.com

As friends of tapas we decided to try them as starters. We ordered Tapas Penedes Piquillo peppers filled with cream cheese and chorizo groats, Tapas Las Palmas (what a name…) Chicken breast, celery salad, piquillo peppers and chorizo ​​crumb and Pimiento de Padron Salted sweet green peppers.

Green peppers were as good as in most places in Spain, enough soft and not too much salted. Chicken breast was the weakest link, meat was already dry but celery salad compensated a little bit. Piquillo peppers were also excellent, maybe a little bit too much cream cheese but it did not bother.

Tapas at Torero - reijosfood.com

For main courses we had 2 x Chicken breast, creamy sherry pepper sauce, Spanish vegetables and French fries and 2 x Grilled salmon, shellfish sauce, roasted beetroot, pak choi, roasted almonds and tortilla española.

Chicken portion was not so Spanish as it could be; why not includ Papas Arragudas instead of French fries? Did not either understand why vegetables were Spanish; standard oven vegetables. However, for chain restaurant, basic portion. Salmon was overcooked but beetroot was roasted perfectly. If you like Spanish omelette, you would have liked this one.

Chicken at Torero - reijosfood.com

Salmon at Torero - reijosfood.com

For wine we chose Chilean Tormenta from Viogner grapes from Torres, which paired well with all dishes. Grapes are organically grown which makes the purchase more sustainable.

Torres Viognier - reijosfood.com

Torero is good choice for hotel restaurant, if you like Spanish-style food. Suggest to focus on tapas and pinchos because they are delicious. Of course every dish is not made from the very beginning in the kitchen but you get full belly and mostly can enjoy the food.

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

http://www.raflaamo.fi/torero

 

 





Food Art in kitchen accessories

20 04 2014

Food images are sometimes used in clothing when it makes sense and brings joy to special occasion, like crayfish figures during crayfish season. First time saw Karjalan piirakka look alike used in accessories.

Kitchen wear accessories - reijosfood.com

Karjalan piirakka – traditional Finnish rice-filled Karelian pasty, is popular in Eastern parts of Finland, but you can find them in many supermarkets. Usually it is eaten with egg- butter spread.

To use Karjalan piirakka as a model for a purse or small bag is interesting idea. Photos were taken in Joensuu, in Taitokortteli buildings.

Karelian pastry purse - reijosfood.com

http://www.taitokortteli.fi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karelian_pasty

There were also other traditional clothing to be seen.

Taitokorttelit - reijosfood.com

 





Wine review: Weingut Liebfrauenstift 2012 Trocken Riesling

12 04 2014

Weingut Liefrauenstift - reijosfood.com

Our favorite and trusted choice, Weingut Liebfrauenstift 2012 Trocken Riesling, finally now reviewed!

Right inside the urban boundaries of the German city of Worms, ancient brick walls shelter a piece of living history. This is where, around the former Monastery of THE Lady (Liebfrauenstift),wines have been growing for five hundred years. Historical sandstone walls help create the special microclimate of the Liebfrauenstift-Kirchenstück vineyard in Worms. Together with the mineral-rich muddy soil of the site and the proximity of the Rhine, which provides the water, they lend the vines thriving there their unique wealth of aromas.

This wine is easy choice to start tasting rieslings. Not too much acidity either petrol or minerals compared to strongest rieslings.

THE LOOK

Typical riesling color, light yellow straw.

Riesling - reijosfood.com

THE NOSE

Fruity apple and peach and fresh citrus aromas

THE TASTE

Dry, fruity and fresh. Pleasent amount of minerals and petrol if at all.

Weingut Liebfrauenstift 2012 Trocken Riesling is perfect wine for aperitif and pairs extremely well with white fishes like lavaret. So far have not found this riesling in any other restaurant than Blue Peter and it is not available at Alko. Should be because it would help in starting getting familiar with world of rieslings.

Riesling - reijosfood.com

OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++ / +++

http://www.liebfrauenstift.com/en/index.html

 





Restaurant review: Bronda – 4th BW restaurant in Helsinki

9 04 2014

Beef tartar at Bronda - reijosfood.com

Bronda, the 4th restaurant in Helsinki by Tomi Björck and Matti Wikberg, opened it’s doors on Monday 10th, 2014. Located on the corner of Eteläesplanadi and Korkeavuorenkatu, large space with high ceilings and big windows with otherwise plain interior design, offer interesting dining experience. Nautical roof lamps and mirrors on the wall are eye catchers.

The lounge bar is open until late and it offers view to Park Esplanade. It surely will be one of the most busiest bar in the district.

Bronda name comes from the building restaurant is located.

Bronda - reijosfood.com

Bronda’s dishes should reflect Europe and particularly countries Spain, Italy and France. The food is meant to be shared as in other BW restaurants Farang*, Gaijin* and Boulevard Social (*reviews available on reijosfood.com). Bronda concept is copied from those succesful Bib Gourmand restaurants; even same drinks with same exotic names are served.

First look at the menu was challenging; you could choose from snacks, fresh and/or warm dishes. So we decided to choose one of the two tasting menus, Menu Esplanad, with suggested wines.

Tasting menu at Bronda - reijosfood.com

Dinner started with Sashimi, aioli prawns and sorrel which were served on a wooden plate. Sashimi was prepared from lavaret (whitefish). Fish was soft and mellow and shrimps were fresh of course. In overall excellent combination after sorrel soup was poured into the bowls.

Sashimi and prawns at Bronda - reijosfood.com

Second dish was Beef tartar with butter milk and dried bread. If your read menu, you can see that there are lot’s of different ingredients used. I am not sure, if we could find all of them, but beef was tender anyway. This was also the first dish to be shared, so portion had to be divided in two parts.

Beef tartar at Bronda - reijosfood.com

Then we were served third and fourth dish at the same time; Fish stewed Basque style and  Risotto Milanese. Basque style meant mussels, chorizo and sherry flavored stock. Tempting, but at the same time challenging dish for the kitchen. Fish itself was ok, but one of the 5 mussels had not opened. No chorizo taste at all, actually one small bite was found. Risotto had waited serving some time as it was not so warm anymore. To prepare perfect structure, kitchen needs some more practice.

Fish and risotto at Bronda - reijosfood.comFish at Bronda - reijosfood.com

Last so called main course was dissappointing. On the menu it says Cotoletta which means schnitzel. However, more detailed description tells that you should get crisp pork chop. Bronda served dry Wiener Schnitzel with fennel salad and tomato compote. This dish dropped food grade below 4. I am sure this dish will not be as such on the menu in the future, but side dishes could be the same.

Wiener Schnitzel at Bronda - reijosfood.com

Dessert should have been Tiramisu, but as we had asked one menu lactose-free, one portion was replaced with Lemon pie Bronda without informing beforehand. However, both desserts were delicious and crowned the dinner. Pie included rosemary and thyme which made the experience exciting.

Tiramisu at Bronda - reijosfood.comLemon tart at Bronda - reijosfood.com

When it comes to recommended wines they are overpriced. You pay 50€ for 2 1/2 glasses of basic wines. Choose instead a bottle or glass from the list, because some wines are quite reasonably priced. For the tasting menu first wine should have been riesling but it was replaced by gruner-veltliner. Second glass, pinot noir, was poured from 1,5 litre bottle. Third, dessert wine, was 5 years old Madeira which paired well with desserts.

Bronda was full when we entered and was still full when we leaved. Relaxed athmosphere and loud background noise make restaurant perfect place for group gatherings. As snacks and some food are served in the bar, it will be the the most succesful part of concept. You can see Park Esplanade from the windows while dining and at the same time  can observe other people present in the bar. Although portions are well designed and look impressive, propably food is not the main issue. Main idea is social interaction.

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

http://ravintolabronda.fi/?lang=en

 





Veuve Clicquot Champagne bar at Stockmann, Helsinki

6 04 2014

Champagne bar at Stockmann - reijosfood.com

Fazer 8th Floor restaurants at Stockmann include cafes, self-service food market, a la carte restaurant and champagne bar. In February 2014 Moet Hennessy and Fazer joined forces and re-opened the bar and named it as Veuve Clicquot Champagne bar.

Veuve Clicquot appears at the world’s most prestigious department stores such as Harrods in London, Oberpollinger in Munich and NK in Stockholm. Now, this luxorious brand is also present in Helsinki, at department store Stockmann.

Glass walls and elegant furnishing are almost the same as before, but yellow Veuve Clicquot brand color dominates now at the bar.

Chairs at Stockmann - reijosfood.comChair and pillow - reijosfood.com

Bar serves Veuve Clicquot champagnes by glass or bottle, but also offers opportunity for tasting of 3 different champagnes; Veuve Clicquot Brut, Veuve Clicquot Rosé and Veuve Clicquot Vintage 2004, 4 cl’s each.

There was loyalty offer for Stockmann customers, which waitress did not know, when we placed the order. After checking she was willing to serve us. Would say that price/quality ratio was excellent!

Veuve Clicquot bottle and glass

Veuve Clicquot champagne - reijosfood.com

Veuve Clicquot Champagne bar at Stockmann is perfect place to drop by before dinner (notice opening hours which are the same as department store has) or relax when shopping till you drop.

Veuve Clicquot glass at F8 - reijosfood.com

There are some snacks available but each of them include bread. Tried shrimps and manchego cheese but did not touch the bread. Some improvement for the snacks would be suitable as they are not at the same level as everything else at the bar.

Snacks at Champagne bar - reijosfood.com

http://www.fazer.fi/kahvilat-ja-leipomot/kahvilat–ravintolat/stockmann/fazer-8th-floor/fazer-champagne/

 





Restaurant review: Presto – A mangiare!

29 03 2014

Aperol Spritz at Presto - reijosfood.com

Italian restaurant Presto was opened on the 19th February, 2014. Restaurant concept consists of trattoria, caffe bar, prosecco lounge and shop.

Location is excellent, next to the Espa (Park Esplanade) and in the same building as restaurant Savoy. Presto replaced at the same time restaurant Katsomo, which used to serve Savoy theatre customers.

You can find traditional Italian dishes from the a la carte list like bruschetta, pasta, risotto and pizza. One speciality are mozzarella starters, which are served on a wooden plate with side dishes like salami, bresaola or parma ham.

Best way to evaluate the level of Italian kitchen in Finnish restaurant is to try those traditional dishes.

Started the dinner with Aperol Spritz, glass of Prosecco and excellent Focaccia, which was served after placing the order. First restaurant in Helsinki in which I have seen serving Aperol Spritz as aperitif and it is on the drinks menu. Unfortunately it was too dry, not enough Aperol.

Foccacia at Presto - reijosfoo.comAperol Spritz at Presto - reijosfood.com

Continued with Italian trattoria dishes and ordered for starters Bruschette with Bresaola and from Mozzarella bar Mozzarella di Bufala with artichokes and olives. We did not choose any cold meats with Mozzarella, as we had Bresaola with traditional bread.

Bruschettas were excellent and pieces of Bresaola tender. Could not be better in Italy. Also Mozzarella with side dishes was enjoyable. Soft and moist cheese comes from Italy; therefore difficult to screw up. Some restaurants use mozzarella made from cow milk and that is inexcusable.

Mozzarella at Presto - reijosfood.comBruschette at Presto - reijosfood.com

For main courses chose Pasta Orecchiette all’arrabiata Pasta with spicy tomato sauce and Salsiccia sausage and Melanzane alla Parmigiana Eggplant casserole.

As pasta’s and one risotto are not listed as “Primi Piatti”, expectation was that they would be enough big to be main courses. Pasta was enough big, but unfortunately it did not meet Italian pasta requirements. Tomato sauce was not enough spicy and it lacked sweetness. Or at least sausages should have been spicy, if sauce was not. Eggplant casserole was luckily delicious which compensated dissappointment is pasta.

Pasta at Presto - reijosfood.comEggplant casserole at Presto - reijosfood.com

Had to try desserts and selected from the list Torta alla Presto Pie of the day and Gelato Self-made ice-creams.

Both were mouth-watering! Lemon pie was really delicous and Peanut ice-cream and Cherry ice-cream one of the best ever tasted. It is possible just to drop by for espresso and dessert, which we shall certainly do.

Lemon Pie at Presto - reijosfood.comIce-cream at Presto - reijosfood.com

Presto claims to be trattoria, not ristorante, which is true. Recommend to ask table downstairs or from the small plateau between ground and second floor. You can see Park Esplanade plus downstairs is anyway more lively. Trattoria is on the second floor. Choose that if you want to eat at more restful dining room.

Prosecco Lounge in the 3rd floor has special hours between 16.00 – 18.00 on work days, but is is mainly reserved for theatre visitors. It was empty when we checked it at about 22.00 on Friday evening. The decor is the same as it was in restaurant Katsomo, not Italian type. If you take a closer look at the figures in the pictures on the wall, you might found some interesting.

Presto - reijosfood.comPresto bar - reijosfood.comProsecco Lounge at Presto - reijosfood.comDecor at Presto Prosecco Lounge - reijosfood.com

If pasta would have been better, Presto would have got 4 for food grade.  Higher overall grade 4+ comes because of nice concept which has not actually existed in Helsinki before, when it comes to Italian kitchen. Reasonably priced fresh and delicious food (most of them) in an relaxed athmosphere.

Wine list is short but again prices for wine glasses are reasonable. Some local, so called Italian restaurants, serve wine from barrels with low prices but the quality of wines is lousy. Presto serves proper Italian wines, no reason not to choose house wines.

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

http://www.ravintolapresto.fi/

https://www.facebook.com/prestohelsinki





Summer drink Aperol Spritz arrived in Helsinki

24 03 2014

Aperol Spritz - reijosfood.com

Amazing coinsidence, was able to taste Aperol Spritz same day in two different places…..but where?

Aperol Spritz is Italian drink and aperitif which became famous already in 1950′s. When preparing drink, it is important to mix it with right amount of beverages. If you add too much Aperol, drink will be too sweet. On the other hand insufficient amount of aperitif makes Spritz too dry. So, below you can find instructions:

Add ice to fill red wine  glass or tumbler

Add 3 parts of Prosecco

Add 2 parts of Aperol

Add 1 part of Soda

Mix with a long spoon

Serve immediately

Enjoy!

First Aperol Spritz of the day was tasted at Wine Expo 2014. Importer had they own stand which was refreshingly colored compared to other “standard” stands. Drink was excellent but maybe a little bit sweet, a dash too much Aperol.

Aperol Spritz at Viini Expo 2014 - reijosfood.com

Second Aperol Spritz of the day was enjoyed at new Italian restaurant Presto (review follows later). This time the drink was much too dry, almost could not taste Aperol at all. I think the mix must have been prepared by using formula 3/1/1, which is the ratio in some incorrect recipes.

Aperol Spritz at Presto - reijosfood.comAperol Spritz at Presto - reijosfood.com

As Aperol is not so strong it really is excellent summer refresher, alternative for Cava Sangria. When you add ice and soda, alcoholicity is less than in glass of wine, under 10%.

In order to get the most out of the drink, it must be mixed properly. Otherwise it does not make sense to ruin prosecco with add on’s.

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 11,00 %
Extract: 250 g/l
Sugar: 250 g/l
Energy: 160 kcal / 100 ml (670 kJ / 100 ml)
Closure: metal screw cap

http://www.aperol.com/int/en/aperol-spritz/aperol-spritz/ready_to_spritz








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 578 other followers

%d bloggers like this: