Hotel review: Regatta – boutique hotel in Hanko, Finland

23 08 2014

 

Moet Ice Imperial at hotel Regatta - reijosfood.com

Regatta Hotel is a modern boutique hotel located in Hanko in the Finnish architect Lars Sonck planned Art Nouveau building from 1898. There have always been hotel business in the famous cultural building and in 2012 the hotel opened again after a complete renovation.

Hotel Regatta - reijosfood.com

Hotel Regatta has 49 different rooms, including 2 single rooms, 45 double rooms and 2 suites (Regatta Suite and Lars Sonck Suite). Each room has its own air conditioning, safe, LCD- TV film- and information-system, internal phone, kettle and hairdryer. The rooms are on the first to fourth floor and accessible by elevator or by one of the two staircases.

This was our 2nd visit to Regatta, so everything was already familiar to us.

ROOM

We had Superior Plus room on the 4th floor with a nice view to the sea. Room itself was modern and cozy. In the summer small fridge would be useful, as there was no mini bar either. Bathroom was small, too small for this type of room. But same room level last time and the bathroom was superb. Take a look at yellow bath tube, which we expected to see also this time.

Hotel Regatta Superior Plus room - reijosfood.comAnna Codorniu Blanc de Blancs - reijosfood.comRegatta room with a view - reijosfood.comRegatta room 403 bathroom - reijosfood.com Regatta bathroom - reijosfood.com

PUBLIC SPACES

In the summer terraces are best part of the public spaces. Patio terrrace especially with cozy chairs tempts you for glass of champagne. Terrace by the street is also relaxing, but unfortunately had one of the worst rose wines ever.

Hotel does not have own dinner restaurant, as there are several nice restaurants nearby. In the winter time that might be deficiency, but in the summer you want to eat at some of the restaurants by the sea.

Hotel Regatta patio terrace - reijosfood.comHotel Regatta terrace - reijosfood.com

Hotel Regatta is the the best hotel or accomodation place in Hanko. Before it was renovated there was a big gap in that business. Only thing what I miss is the swimming pool, which was in front of the original hotel Regatta several years ago. The sea is 50 meters away but hotel swimming pool would complete luxury.

Hotel Regatta in Hanko - reijosfood.com

With fridge and same bathroom as last time, room would have been 5+. As there is only breakfast room and terraces, public spaces is close to 4.

But as the building is nicely built and athmosphere is luxorius with BMW test drive opportunity not forgetting local standards, overall grade is close to 5.

Must stay, if visiting Hanko.

REVIEW: ROOM 4+/5 – PUBLIC SPACES 4-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 5-/5

Hotel Regatta | Ajatonta nautintoa – ympäri vuoden





Restaurant review: Salutorget – Scandinavian bistro

19 08 2014

 

Riesling at Salutorget - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Salutorget includes  stylish dining room (not bistro type), bar/cafe  and terrace. Restaurant serves lunch and dinner but also brunch on Sundays. Salutorget is located close to Kauppatori (Salutorget in Swedish and  Market Square in English), which is the most known market or plaza in Helsinki.

You can see that there has been financial institutions operating in the same building earlier as rest rooms are in old bank vault. At least there you are in safe. Place has been renovated with craftmanship; 1800’s construction and pillars create a dignified athmosphere.

Menu consists of traditional Finnish and Scandinavian dishes, nothing fancy.  If you are keen on tasting them, like Baltic herrings, Whitefish, Reindeer or even Vendaces, then you are in the right place.

For starters we chose Salutorget’s small fishes (3pc): Shrimps á la Skagen, Cold smoked white fish with dill creme and Smoked salmon and creme fraiche with Dijon and Salad with broiled salmon; broiled salmon, egg, asparagus and mustard sauce

Taste and look of small fishes was ok but expected a little bit more from shrimps. Maybe they match with toast better than as separate dish. Belive that some ingredients had been forgotten from mustard sauce because it’s taste was so mild. Broiled salmon is always delicious.

Small fishes at Salutorget - reijosfood.comSalmon salad at Salutorget - reijosfood.com

For main courses ordered Roasted white fish with spring potatoes and egg sauce with chives and Salutorget´s pepper steak, garlic potato chips, grilled green asparagus and pepper hollandaise

Noticed afterwards that had forgotten take pictures from main courses for two reasons!

Firstly had to ask waiter to bring glass of red wine which I had ordered. Meat was already waiting to be eaten. Secondly had to ask for cutlerys which waiter forgot to bring after starters.

About main courses: Pepper steak should have been medium but it was almost almost well-done. Potato chips felt as they were old, would say the shape was more like slice not chip. Whitefish was luckily well prepared and basic new potatoes are always good.

So, you will see picture taken at the terrace instead of portions.

Salutorget terrace - reijosfood.com

For desserts we had Berry crumble and vanilla sauce with rosemary and Lime youghurt mousse with limoncello sorbet

Desserts were best part of dinner and saved evening. Crumble with vanilla sauce was delicious, mouth-watering combination. Mousse with sorbet was refreshing after salty fish.

Dessert 1 at Salutorget - reijosfood.comDessert 2 at Salutorget - reijosfood.com

Wine list is quite short; interesting to see that all wines are from European countries; mainly France, Italy and Spain.

For wine we chose Riesling Reservé Dopff au Moulin from Alsace, France. Nice, quite light riesling paired well with fishes we ate. As mentioned before, had glass of Les Vignerons Carignan Syrah from GCF, France with meat.

 

Dining room and bar were almost empty most of the time, which is unusual for Friday evening. One reason was the amount of happenings, like kick-off of Helsinki Festival.

Salutorget - reijosfood.comSalutorget bar - reijosfood.com

We have visited Salutorget couple of times (reviews can be found by using search), but this visit was a little bit dissappointing. Food used to be excellent as well as service.

Because of the cozy terrace and interior still believe that Salutorget can perform better. Therefore 4 for the overall grade.

On the same date was opening of Hotel Manta of Helsinki. Previous post was about this “hotel”.

Hotel Manta - reijosfood.com

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

http://www.salutorget.fi/en





Hotel Manta of Helsinki – built around the statue of Havis Amanda

16 08 2014

Hotel Manta - reijosfood.com

Hotel Manta of Helsinki is a hotel room built around the statue of Manta in Market Square. The space designed by Tatshu Nishi serves as a hotel room by night, and as an open exhibition space during the day. The work not only creates a new surrealist setting for the monument, it offers a new perspective on the statue. Manta can now be met at eye level; also privately during the nights, if you were able to book the room.

Statue of Havis Amanda - reijosfood.com

The project is produced by the Helsinki Art Museum and it is part of the Helsinki Festival programme. In cooperation with Museum of Finnish Architecture and Design Museum. The work is supported by The Cenetary Foundation of the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design.

As visiting times during Helsinki Festival are between 11.30 – 17.30, cleaning up must be made in hurry. The cost for visit is 3€.

Cleaning of Hotel Manta - reijosfood.com

Hotel Manta of Helsinki was opened on the 15th of August and waiting for the first customer must have been exciting.

Hotel room was sold out in a minute, which is not surprising. Being part of art work must be fascinating. And price for night is not expensive, 130€. But of course without breakfast, which you can enjoy after checking out for instance at Market Square cafes.

Hotel Manta - reijosfood.com

Because of daily visiting hours, check-in can not be before 18.00 and check-out has to be made before 11.00.

Windows without curtains ensure that statue of Manta is visible all the time.

Hotel Manta of Helsinki - reijosfood.comHotel Manta of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

The statue is in the middle of the hotel room and actually splits twin bed. It sort of stands between the pillows.

Let’s see what is the condition of statue of Manta after Helsinki Festival celebrations will end. They will take two months.

Behind the link is also web camera pictures from past days.

Hotel Manta of Helsinki.





Seafront hot spot terraces in Kaivopuisto, Helsinki

14 08 2014

image

Kaivopuisto (Kaivari), is one of the oldest and best known parks in South Helsinki. The park is on the seafront and in the vicinity operates several cafes and restaurants. Another name for this post could be “Kaivopuisto terrace guide”, but as only 3 terraces have been chosen, more specific name was needed.

It takes only 25 minutes to walk to the first hot spot from Market Square. And if you arrive for one day visit to Helsinki with Tallink Cruise ship from Stockholm, only 20 minutes. But if you get tired before first pit stop, you can drop by at Cafe Ursula, which is the oldest seafront terrace in Kaivopuisto area.

 

Mattolaituri

The first hot spot is Mattolaituri. Mattolaituri (Carpet Pier) name comes from the pier which was, and sometimes still is, used for washing carpets. Otherwise nothing in common, as cafe building is most modern in Helsinki, as well as the terrace.

Mattolaituri is located across from island Uunisaari, in Eastern part of South Kaivopuisto.

Place is one of the few “Moet Ice Imperial hot spots” in Helsinki (link to find all hot spots Discover), which you can also see from the pictures. In the evenings also dancing and once a week movies.

There are several areas for relaxation; roof terrace, table area and deck chairs. Less queues in busiest times due to 2 serving desks.

Drinks: champagnes, especially Moet & Chandon and wines

Food: snacks or salad, not the main focus

Opening hours: 09.00AM – 02.00AM, open from MayDay to about end of September

Moet Ice Imperial at Mattolaituri - reijosfood.comMattolaituri - reijosfood.comMattolaituri in Kaivopuisto - reijosfood.comMattolaituri in Kaivopuisto - reijosfood.comMattolaituri_II - reijosfood.comMoet at Mattolaituri - reijosfood.com

Mattolaituri – Helsinki, Finland – Ravintola | Facebook

 

Cafe Carusel

Cafe Carusel is next hot spot locating across from islands Sirpalesaari, Liuskaluoto and Liuskasaari. It was opened already in mid 90’s and was at that time phenomenom.

Cafe/restaurant is open all-year-round as it has spacious interior. You can relax inside, if it rains or on sun beds or at table area. And if it happens to rain, choose Cafe Carusel. Also widest menu.

Drinks: beer, cider, wines, special coffees

Food: pizzas, salads, burgers, sandwiches, widest menu of the 3 hot spots

Opening hours: 09.00AM – 22.00PM every day, all year round

Cava at Carusel - reijosfood.comCafe Carusel - reijosfood.comSun beds at Carusel - reijosfood.comCafe Carusel - reijosfood.com

Cafe Carusel – Helsinki, Finland – Kahvila | Facebook

 

Birgitta

Birgitta Hernesaari, the newcomer, which was opened this summer, is third hot spot. This cafe is most rough-looking as exterior-walls seem to be burned.

Cafe is located almost in Hernesaari, which is the westernmost area in Kaivopuisto and near the new beach. You will see lot’s of cruise passengers from ship’s stopping for the day in Hernesaari port. Last time 1/3 of the customers were from the United States.

During busiest time the longest waiting time for order submission. Birgitta is also smallest from these 3 terraces.

Drinks: soft drinks, beer, video, wines

Food: speciality is burger grilled in charcoal grill, salads and sandwiches

Opening hours: 09.00AM – 22.00PM every day, not yet sure if cafe is open all year round

Refreshments at Birgitta - reijosfood.comBirgitta Hernesaari - reijosfood.comBirgitta - reijosfood.comBrunch at Birgitta - reijosfood.com

Birgitta Hernesaari – Kahvila | Facebook

So, if you visit Helsinki and like to relax on terraces, not just settle for hanging in downtown cafes and terraces. Walk or take a tram number 2 from Market Square to Kaivopuisto.





Restaurant review: Grotesk – across from Ragu

10 08 2014

Have visited restaurant Grotesk couple of times but last visit was to Grotesk Winebar. Winebar has unfortunately closed it’s doors and so called Meatbar, where we dined this time, had changed a little bit it’s exterior and menu. Grotesk locates by the same street as Ragu where we dined a week ago.

Picture is taken from Grotesk window table. Ludviginkatu is nowadays “restaurant street” as Greek restaurant El Greco locates next to Ragu.

Ragu and Grotesk - reijosfood,com

Menu is short and waiter asked, if we would like to try Chef’s menu with 3-6 courses with matching wines. But kitchen was not able make changes to portions, for instance use something else instead of peas and onions. We should have made the requests beforehand. Terrace menu is even shorter consisting of same portions.

Menu at Grotesk - reijosfood.com

So we decided to choose something from the menu. While thinking what to order, we had glasses of Pol Roger Brut champagne.

Dry and balanced taste as Pol Roger Brut usually has.

Pol Roger Champagne - reijosfood.com

For starters we both had Pan seared scallops with dill and fennel salad (3 pc).

Scallops were small and pan searing was made perfectly. Somehow fennel did not taste so much, maybe the salinity covered it. Can recommend this as a starter.

Scallops at Grotesk - reijosfood.com

For main courses we ordered Smoked arctic char and creamed chanterelles with Spring potatoes and Grilled chop and secretto of Iberico pork with Caesar salad à la Grotesk.

Skin of arctic char had been removed before serving which made the fish quite pale. For side dish potatoes, because all other side dishes included ingredients which were not suitable. All side dishes, by the way, have same prices.

Grilled chop was excellent but secretto a little bit too salty. For side dish had caesar salad, which matched well with both pork dishes.

Arctic char at Grotesk - reijosfood.comPork at Grotesk - reijosfood.com

This time no desserts due to same problem with side dishes. Asked for basic sorbet, but that was not available.

Grotesk was the first restaurant to lower wine prices and it got some publicity after announcing it. They add 20€ fixed margin for each wine bottle, but price reduction did not seemed to apply glass prices. Glass of house red wine cost 9,60€.

Anyway, for wine we had Spieleberg Riesling trocken 2011 from Pfaltz, Germany. Producer is Karl Schaefer. This wine was excellent choise recommended by waiter considering the price 42€. Balanced minerality and acidity with some citrus and lime.

Riesling at Grotesk - reijosfood.com

The interior of Grotesk is not so red as it used to be, but lighting was as dim as it has always been. Most of the diners and drinkers were at outside terrace, but notice that you can not reserve table at the terrace after 8PM, if you want to dine there. And it is wise because terrace will be crowded and noisy.

Grotesk dining room - reijosfood.comGrotesk terrace - reijosfood.com

Grotesk used to be Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant a couple years ago but not any more. It is understandable as concept has changed more relaxed and rough. Maybe main focus is the terrace, which is really popular in the summer time. If you visit Helsinki in the summer time, it is one of the restaurant terraces worth to visit.

Food review is partly based on price/quality ratio. By decreasing for instance side dish prices (5€ for potatoes is too much), grade for food would be better.

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

 





Restaurant review: Ragu – Italian-Scandinavian menu

7 08 2014

Restaurant Ragu opened its doors April 15, 2014, respecting the history of renovated Neo-Renaissance house in the 1890s. Restaurant has dining rooms and all year-round open terrace. Chefs Antti Antti Asujamaa and Erno Kemi have created a menu from Italian food traditions and Scandinavian ingredients.

One possibility to get familiar with Ragu is to visit the bar where you can step in from the restaurant or from separate door outside.

Started the dinner with Aperol Spritz aperitives which were served in fancy drinking bowls. Drinks were so far the best we have tasted in Helsinki, because the amount of Aperol was just the right, so that you can identify the flavor. Unfortunately too much soda or ice have ruined many of the other experimentations with this drink, but not this one.

Aperol Spritz at Ragu - reijosfood.com

You can choose separate portions from a la carte list or pick for instance one of the menus. We chose menu Ludari with 4 courses which partly were surprises. The name of the menu comes from the street restaurant is located, Ludviginkatu, I believe.

Kitchen was skilled to take into account customers constraints of some food ingredients and other wishes also with this menu. Menu should change on weekly basis.

After placing the order freshly baked 4 different breads and 4 different spreads were brought to the table. Yeast bread with red tapenade was best combination. Wish I could prepare as delicious tapenade as Ragu kitchen can.

Bread ad Ragu - reijosfood.com

For starters we were served Vitello tonnato and Broiled whitefish, whitefish roe and crab cake

Vitello tonnato is classic Italian starter. Ragu had modified it so that veal was like carpaccio, raw, but softened in marinade. Salty capers and almost sweet tunafish sauce complemented each other.

Whitefish is one of the best fishes and it is not dependent how it is prepared. But of course kitchen has to know how to cook it. Shrimps complemented perfeclty the taste of salty roe and some vegetables lightened ensemble.

Vitello tonnato at Ragu - reijosfood.comFish starter at Ragu - reijosfood.com

Second course was Toast Skagen with crab soup.

Can not say much more that portion was really mouth-watering. Classic toast skagen was on the bottom of the plate but it was supplemented by crab soup which was poured at the table on top of toast skagen by waitress. Best portion of all four portions eaten at Ragu!

Toast Skagen at Ragu - reijosfood.com

For 3rd and main courses restaurant served Whitefish with pasta and Braised veal with polenta.

The pasta served with fish was orzo or risotti, not anymore sure which one although waitress said the name. Anyone knows? It is unsual to serve pasta with whitefish in Finland but at Ragu it is not due to influences of Italian kitchen. Fish and pasta paired extremely well; desired only some herbs to bring more flavor.

Veal was served in closed glass jar which kept the portion warm. Also creme fraiche, which you sprinkled on meat pieces, was in in smaller jar. Meat was soft as it should be. The amount of salt in meat could have been more because polenta was also modestly salted. Splendidly prepared portion, tour de force from the chef’s.

Pike perch at Ragu - reijosfood.comVeal at Ragu - reijosfood.comBraised veal at Ragu - reijosfood.com

And for desserts we got two different portions. Both included sorbet, almond cake and fresh berries. The difference was that one of the two portions did not include any milk products.

Strawberry ice-cream made the difference in first portion and Dark soft chocolade in another.

Dessert at Ragu - reijosfood.comDessert at Ragu - reijosfood.com

For wine we chose Ettore Germano, Hérzu Langhe Riesling 2012 from Piemonte, Italy. Riesling Renano is the winemaker Sergio Germano‘s favorite grape. Otherwise riesling is not so common in Italian wines. Dry, fruity and balanced wine. Not so much minerals or petrol as in most Austrian or German rieslings.

Ragu has also Italian vintage wines from Angelo Baja, Piemonte. So, you can spend almost 500€ for white wine bottle of vintage 1999, if you like to.

Riesling at Ragu - reijosfood.com

Restaurant, as it is in elegantly renovated building and it’s dining rooms are classic yet chic designed, is welcomed newcomer. You can eat in privacy as tables are not too close to each other. Music is not too loud, again more customer-centric approach. As you can see from the glasses on the tables, every detail has been taken into account.

At 8PM restaurant was almost full booked which tells that Helsinki townies have found the place. Did not hear any foreign languages, though.

Ragu dining room - reijosfood.com

Ragu - reijosfood.com

Food at Ragu is well prepared, elegantly set and delicious. Finnish-Italian fusion cuisine works well by combining best parts of both. Only if there had been more depth of flavors in main courses grade for food would have been close to maximum.

Waitresses take orders and serve drinks but you can meet chef’s and confectiners as they bring most of the portions to the tables. The contents of each portion was explained well and it is needed, if you choose surprise menu as we did.

Worth to visit!

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





Restaurant and cruise review: Smuggler’s Dinner Cruise

3 08 2014

M/S Natalie - reijosfood.com

In the summer time piers of Market Square in Helsinki are full of cruise ships which take you to few hours cruise or for instance to Suomenlinna. You can just enjoy of attractions along the route by paying ticket or at the same time enjoy lunch or dinner, if ship serves those.

With over 65 years of experience Royal Lines has shown Helsinki from the sea. One can get familiar with the best views like islands, famous historical buildings, harbours, villas and saunas. A traditional archipelago buffet is also available as well as short a la carte list which is understandable due to size of the kitchen.

2 1/2 hour dinner cruise is nice way to combine relaxed sightseeing and dinner, if one wants to see Helsinki from the sea and has only one day to spend time in the city. Royal Lines provides two routes, one to the east and one to the west. We chose Smuggler’s Dinner Cruise with m/s Natalia at 6PM to the east.

Decided to enjoy 3 course meal which started with Buffet. One option would have been to eat buffet for starter and main course.

It consisted of various herrings, fishes, salads, vegetables, pate, terrine etc. Herrings are delicious; focus on those. Did not find any vegetable soup although it was mentioned on the list.

Buffet at Natalie - reijosfood.comBuffet menu at Natalie - reijosfood.com

Buffet plate - reijosfood.comBuffet plate - reijosfood.com

There are two different main courses to choose from. We chose Roasted Arctic char with butter and nettle sauce & a beetroot and buckwheat cake. Fish was a little bit over roasted but otherwise portion was ok as it is prepared in small ship’s kitchen.

Arctic char at Natalie - reijosfood.com

Menu included for dessert Triple chocolate dream with vanilla & berry compote but we asked to replace it with something else and got Rasberry cake with berry compote.

Nice piece of cake was perfect ending for the dinner.

Rasberry cake at Natalie - reijosfood.com

Wine list is also short consisting of basic wines. Chose only riesling, Yalumba from Barossa Valley, Australia. Basic, light riesling without distractions.

Yalumba riesling - reijosfood.com

If you want to visit Porvoo you can choose either J.L. Runeberg, old steam boat in the picture below, or more traditional ship which Royal Lines has.

J.L.Runeberg - reijosfood.com

Cruise at Natalie - reijosfood.com

Smuggler’s Dinner Cruise sounds exciting but only hints of thriller were some background stories during the cruise. Eating is not the most essential part of time spent on the ship. In good weather most of the time is spent on upper deck by watching surrounding archipelago and by-passing boats.

Lunch cruise review from year 2012 can be found be using search and writing just cruise.

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

Royal Line – Helsinki Sightseeing – Over 65 years of experience








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