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

 





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





Wine review: Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut – keenly priced champagne in certain Helsinki restaurants

16 03 2014

Nicolas Fauillatte - reijosfood.com

HOK-Elanto restaurants have tempting offer which is valid until 31.3.2014. A bottle of champagne for 37€, which is the cheapest price for bottle ever seen at restaurants in Helsinki.

Last year same restaurants offered the whole year bottle of champagne at a price of 39€.

Promoted champagne was Nicolas Feuillatte Brut which is basic champagne from Centre Vinicole-Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte uniting 82 cooperatives in Champagne.

The non-vintage Brut Champagne is aged for at least 2 years in cellars. Wine is made from Chardonnay 20%, Pinot Noir 40% and Pinot Meunier 40%.

THE LOOK

The color of wine is pale yellow and you can see a ribbon of fine and delicate bubbles

Champagne - reijosfood.com

THE NOSE

Whitefruit aromas like apple and pear brought in mind Solero ice-cream/sorbet from the childhood, the sorbet part of it

THE TASTE

Delicate taste with same fruits which were already sensed with nose. Mixed feelings because of temperature of the wine, it was too warm. Wine was tasted at restaurant Kaarna lounge bar.

The problem with these offers has been that champagne is stored in too warm wine cabinet. So when it is served you can not find the best palate out of it. Difficult to say if this champagne would have got better points, if stored correctly, but this time it did not got more. 20% of chardonnay grape is not usually enough but typical for basic Champagnes.

Would invest a little bit more and buy Reserve or Grande Reserve if considering Nicolas Feuillatte to be enjoyed at home

OVERALL REVIEW 3-/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ( restaurant price) +++ / +++

http://www.hok-elanto.fi/syo-ja-juo/ravintoloiden-edut/nicolas-feuillatte/

http://www.nicolas-feuillatte.com/en/home





Guide Michelin: Bib Gourmand designated restaurants in Helsinki

14 03 2014

What is Bib Gourmand restaurant?

The Bib Gourmand designation denotes good cuisine at a reasonable price in a variety of comfort categories. Defined as “Inspectors’ Favorites for Good Value,” Bib Gourmand restaurants offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (tax and gratuity not included), and are often of most value to a city’s residents, who regularly dine in neighborhood restaurants” (source: Guide Michelin)

Restaurants with Bib Gourmand designation 2014 in Helsinki are:

Boulevard Social http://boulevardsocial.fi/en/ (NEW!)

Not visited

Farang http://reijosfood.com/?s=Farang

Farang - reijosfood.comFarang - reijosfood.com

Gaijin http://reijosfood.com/?s=Gaijin

Gaijin Mussels - reijosfood.comChicken at Gaijin - reijosfood.com

Emo http://reijosfood.com/?s=Emo (NEW!)

Halibut at Emo - reijosfood.comVendaces at Emo - reijosfood.com

PureBistro http://reijosfood.com/?s=PureBistro

PureBistro - reijosfood.comPureBistro - reijosfood.com

You can find reviews of these restaurants at reijosfood.com via links.

Amazing that first three restaurants are owned by same chef’s, Tomi Björk and Matti Wiberg. They have just opened 4th restaurant Bronda, which will be reviewed by Restaurant and Wine epicure (reijosfood) in April. Maybe next year it will be designated as Bib Gourmand restaurant?

Emo and PureBistro are partly owned by Michelin star restaurant chef’s; Emo is little sister for Olo and PureBistro for Luomo.

Grotesk and Solna lost their Bib Gourmand designations.

Conclusion: 

Would say that at least 3 of the designated restaurants have earned to be on the list; Emo, Farang and PureBistro. Now that Michelin Guide have chosen 3 “ethnic” kitchens, Yume could replace Gaijin. But as it is owned by Kämp Group not by chef’s, it might be obstacle. There are also some other restaurants which could be designated like Copas y Tapas, Meche or Spis, see reviews at reijosfood.com.





Michelin star restaurants in Helsinki 2014 – two new stars!

12 03 2014

Demo - reijosfood.com

Michelin Guide announced updated list of Michelin starred restaurants  on 12th March. We have two new 1 Michelin star restaurants in Helsinki!

Ask and Chef & Sommelier got their first Michelin stars today!

Another big news last year was that 2 Michelin star restaurant Chez Dominique closed down it’s doors. Means that there are no 2 or 3 star restaurants in Finland or Helsinki.

Restaurants with 1 Michelin star in Helsinki are:

Ask, Vironkatu 8, Helsinki – http://restaurantask.com/ (NEW!)

Chef & Sommelier, Huvilakatu 28, Helsinki – http://chefetsommelier.fi/en/ (NEW!)

Demo, Uudenmaankatu 9-11, Helsinki – http://www.restaurantdemo.fi/demo

Luomo, Vironkatu 8, Helsinki – http://www.luomo.fi/en/restaurant/

Olo, Pohjoisesplanadi 5, Helsinki (changed location) – http://www.olo-restaurant.com/home.html

Postres, Eteläesplanadi 8, Helsinki – http://www.postres.fi/

Restaurant Demo - reijosfood.com

Pictures are from restaurant Demo





Restaurant review: Savoy – world’s oldest design restaurant

9 03 2014

Savoy menu - reijosfood.com

What would be the right place to celebrate International Women’s Day?

Of course legendary Restaurant Savoy, world’s oldest design restaurant, which opened it’s doors first time in 1937. Since then it has been the flagship of Finnish gastronomy and restaurant culture in Helsinki.

The dining hall of Restaurant Savoy is an important part of Finnish design history. The interior was initially designed by Aino and Alvar Aalto in cooperation with textile artist Dora Jung and the then newly established Artek. Its pure and austere minimalism has remained in vogue for decades. Our table was at the covered patio with view to Esplanade Park and hotel Kämp.

We started the dinner with glasses of Champagne Larmandier-Bernier Latitude Extra Brut. Bouquet and taste of blanc de blancs champagne were perfect, felicitous kickoff for the dining.

Champagne at Savoy - reijosfood.com

There was good sounding tasting menu available and you could also pre-order pressed grouse menu (presser in the 1st picture), but we decided to try a la carte dishes.

Dinner started with greetings from the kitchen, white bean soup, which was delicious appetizer.

White bean soup at Savoy - reijosfood.com

For starters we had Tartare of brined salmon with Finnish caviar and avocado crème and Crème Ninon with lobster and Savoy’s air-dried duck breast

Salmon tartar was basic Finnish starter, well prepared, but nothing extraordinary.

Creme Ninon, “pea soup” flavored with champagne, was poured on top of the lobster pieces and dried duck was grated after that by waitress. This starter earned 5 because it was so scrumptious and of course the looks of the portion was fabulous. Fresh peas paired extremely well with lobster and duck.

Starter at Savoy - reijosfood.comStarter at Savoy - reijosfood.com

For main courses we ordered Roasted turbot with piquillo pepper tortellini and deep-fried anchovies and Pan-fried lavaret with blue mussel cassoulet and fennel.

Both fishes were well prepared as could be expected. But as French cuisine does not save butter, they were a little bit heavy. Moussel cassoulet was garbled and there was no need for asparagus.

Portions looked again stunning, no doubt about that.

Turbot at Savoy - reijosfood.comLavaret at Savoy - reijosfood.com

After main course we still had room for desserts and ordered Triple chocolate cake with passion fruit ice cream and Baba moistened with Savoy’s honey bock and honey ice cream.

But before those dishes kitchen served pre-dessert which actually could have been one of the desserts as it was so tasty.

Dessert at Savoy - reijosfood.com

Both desserts were excellent. There were three different layers inside the chocolate cake and it’s flavor was crushing. Honey suited well with baba and it should have been prepared in the kitchen as Savoy has their own beehives at the roof terrace.

Chocolate cake at Savoy - reijosfood.comBaba at Savoy - reijosfood.com

For wine we chose Riesling Münsterer Pittersberg Trocken which paird well with starters and main courses. Not too many mineral or petrol flavor.

Restaurant Savoy has style, no doubt about that. But it’s price level is at least the same as in Michelin restaurants or even higher. Food is delicious and portions look stunning. If you like the decor and view of the Esplanade Park (but you must have table at patio) then Savoy is right restaurant for you. But at the same price level you might also enjoy food at e.g Luomo, Olo or Postres, which all are located close to the park.

Park Esplanade - reijosfood.com

Service was professional except one mistake. Ordered double espresso with dessert, waitress came back to check if it was double, but still I was served small espresso which they had to replace. If I would have been responsible for serving I would have invoiced small espresso not double or even given it for free.

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

http://www.ravintolasavoy.fi/en

Savoy - reijosfood.comSavoy entrance - reijosfood.comSavoy table - reijosfood.comSavoy vase at Savoy - reijosfood.com

You might also be interested in to get more familiar with Alvar Aalto after visiting Savoy

http://www.alvaraalto.fi/index_en.htm





Restaurant review: Yume – modern Asian cuisine

28 02 2014

Restaurant Yume - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Yume is part of Kämp Group, which also operates legendary luxury hotel Kämp. Yume serves asian flavours and dishes in a modern decor and is located in the same building as hotel Kämp. Inspired by the Jack Yoss Experience pop up restaurant which was at Yume in July 2012, restaurant’s menu changed and offers today a wide variety of modern asian food.

We arrived early at 5PM when restaurant opens. Reason for early arrival was Michael Buble concert, where we should be at 8PM latest when the warm-up band or actually accapella group Naturally 7 should start singing. Although we would have a little bit more than 2 hours to eat, we decided to order longer tasting menu

Menu Tiong Bahru

which included 7 dishes. Shorter menu would have included one dish less.

First two dishes were brought to the table at the same time

Fresh Spring Rolls

Fresh veggie spring roll, sweet chili sauce and black vinegar

Yellowtail Sashimi

Yellowtail sashimi, sweet soy-chili sauce

Veggie ment mainly sprouts which made first dish one-sided although rolls were delicious with sauces.

Sashimis were perfect, two pieces of soft fish for both. Suitably flavored sauce and vegetables made the dish masterpiece. We used chopsticks for sashimis as they were an option to be used for eating.

Sprubg rolls and sashimi at Yume - reijosfood.com

Third and fourth dishes were again at the same time on the table.

Pork Ribs

Pork Ribs and thai-chili sauce

Som Tum Salad

Spicy green papaya salad with cucumber and carrots

Pork ribs were juicy, crunchy and crisp at the same time. Sometimes candied pork, which is usually offered in modern asian restaurants, can be dry. These ribs were not candied and the way the were prepared was new for us. Extremely scrumptious, if you happen to like a little bit greasy pork.

Salad supplemented well this combination, better than rice would had. Noticed that kitchen had not yet served any rice which was good idea. Sometimes you might eat too much if rice is all the time on the table.

Pork ribs and salad at Yume - reijosfood.com

Pork ribs at Yume - reijosfood.com

Hot Stone

Beef/Lamb/Tofu tai Tiger Prawn

We chose tiger prawns instead of meat. Waitress instructed us first to fry prawns on the hot stone, then dip them to the sauce and add salt and chili powder. Understandable, because otherwise whole restaurant would have been filled with stick smoke as most of the tables would have used hot stones.

Tiger prawns at Yume - reijosfood.comTiger prawns on stone at Yume - reijosfood.com

Whitefish “sweet and sour”

Roasted whitefish, black sweet and sour sauce, fresh herb salad

Whitefish was best of all portions. First fish was roasted perfectly and then placed to the sauce in in order to get more flavor. Mint and other herbs completed this taste of heaven. And if you would still be hungry big bowl of rice would take it away. You could choose whitefish also from a la carte list from “warm dishes to share” section but for two I would suggest to order two portions. You would not like to share this one :)

Whitefish at Yume - reijosfood.comWhitefis and rice at Yume - reijosfood.com

Passionfruit Pudding

Passion pudding, coconut sorbet

Dessert was one of the best in asian type of fine dining restaurants. Not too asian but still asian flavors. Means that sometimes different type of vegetables and herbs used in desserts make them almost snack or main course, not dessert.

Pudding at Yume - reijosfood.com

Interesting detail was the location of extra cutlery. They were hidden in a small box under the table, but only on one side.

At 5PM restaurant was still empty as it has just opened it’s doors. At 7PM most of the tables were occupied although Canada played against USA in Sotshi Olympic Ice-Hockey games. Unfortunutely Finland had just lost to Sweden and will play for bronze medal.

Cutlery at Yume - reijosfood.comYume - reijosfood.com

For wine we chose Gysler Weinheimer Riesling Trocken 2010 from Pfalz, Germany. Dry, but not too dry riesling with enough acidity and fruit flavors paired well with oriental tastes. Also had glass of pinot noir from Bourgogne, France with ribs. This wine would have been served if you would have ordered matching wines with tasting menu.

Yume is one of the best “gourmet” asian cusine restaurants in Helsinki. As it is in the center of the city, next door to Hotel Kämp, it’s location is also perfect. Modern rhythm music is not too loud and most of the tables are not thick on the ground, which makes discussion possible. A little bit more spices in some of the dishes and then food would have also scored 4,5. Service was professional as expected.

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

http://ravintolayume.fi/en/





Burger King opened 2nd restaurant in Helsinki – it happened again

22 02 2014

Have Helsinki resident’s missed Burger King so much, they have to queue up for hamburgers?

First Burger King was opened opposite the Stockmann department store on the 13th of Dec, 2013. What happened (click the link)?

http://www.metro.fi/uutiset/a1392272604404

Second Burger King was opened on the 14th January 2014 at Helsinki Central railway station, what happened then (click the link)?

http://www.metro.fi/uutiset/a1387800585624

Actually I like a lot of well-made burgers and crispy french fries, examples from Hard Rock Cafe Helsinki and Pirate Helsinki.

Hamburger at Hard Rock Cafe Helsinki - reijosfood.comHamburger at Pirate - reijosfood.com

But gosh! No more about this matter……





Hotel review: Fuerte Miramar (Marbella, Spain)

16 02 2014

Pool at Fuerte Miramar - reijosfod.com

As we shall visit Malaga early May, noticed that have forgotten to post one hotel review from last August.

4-star hotel Fuerte Miramar is located in right on the beachfront and close to the Marbella Old Town. Hotel is beside a pedestrian promenade (Paseo Maritimo) that links up in 5 minutes to the fishing harbour and the marina. You can also walk to Puerto Banus via Paseo Maritimo in 1 1/2 hours if you are sporty. Actually it is a nice way to observe Marbella from the beach side.

Hotel Fuerte Miramar - reijosfood.com

Fuerte Miramar - reijosfood.comFuerte Miramar lobby - reijosfood.com

Note that hotel is open only from March to November.

Hotel has three restaurant areas: Bar Noble, mainly drinks and light lunch. El Olivo, offering buffet-style dishes and breakfast. Beach Club Restaurante Grill that serves a large variety of fish and paellas beside the beach. Beach Club was open only during the lunch time.

Bar Noble at Fuerte Miramar - reijosfood.comBar Olivo at Fuerte Miramar - reijosfood.comRestaurant El Olivo - reijosfood.comRestaurant El Olivo - reijosfood.com

Hotel also has The Miramar Spa & Beauty, which is fully-equipped hydrotherapy centre that has sauna, Turkish bath, whirlpool bath and a wide range of treatments such as massages, algae wraps, etc.

There is also small pool available behind the hotel with sportive activities and free pool towels. Pool was quite occupied during the busiest season but one option was to go to the beach opposite of the hotel. Major shortcoming at the beach was that there was no showers.

Pool at Fuerte Miramar - reijosfood.com

Rooms are quite spacious and most of them have a balcony with front and side sea views. All of them are equipped with Wi-Fi, satellite TV, minibar, desk and safe. We had Double Room with sea side view.

Doublre room at Fuerte Miramar - reijosfood.com Sea view at Fuerte Miramar - reijosfood.com

Best of all of staying at Hotel Fuerte Miramar was location; closeness to the Olf Town and by Paseo Maritimo. Hotel is excellent base for culture and shopping purposes. Also spa in the spring and autumn times sounds attractive.

Marbella Old Town - reijosfood.comMarbella Paseo Maritimo - reijosfood.com

When it comes to service e.g. at Bar Noble, there is opportunity to improve. Small pool and simple beach closest to the hotel do not encourage to sunbathing, if you are only looking for that. Fuerte Miramar has bigger sister hotel Fuerte Marbella which fulfills also this requirement. It is more expensive due to spacious pool area and better beach, of course.

However, hotel seemed to be favored by Spanish vacationers which is always a good sign of popularity and loyal customers.

Reviews of some of the restaurants we visited in Marbella, can be found at reijosfood.com (August 2013)

http://www.fuertehoteles.com/en/hotels/fuerte-miramar-marbella/





Restaurant review: Lumbini – Nepalese cuisine

11 02 2014

Naan bread at Lumbini - reijosfood.com

There are 28 Nepalese restaurants in Helsinki. Yes, 28 which is amazing amount! (source: Fonecta). Means that Nepalese cuisine is the second most popular ethnic kitchen after Chinese.

Lumbini is one of these restaurants serving traditional food in their dining room but also with take away opportunity. Nepalese food is affordable as well as few wines they have in their list.

Dinner at Lumbini starts always with Nepalese crackers. Crispy, well seasoned thin crackers increase the feeling of hunger appropriately.

Crackers at Lumbini - reijosfood.com

As portions are quite big we ordered for starter only one Deep Fried Chicken to be shared. Crispy pieces of chicken breast, not swings, were appetizing and with mint sauce the end result was perfect.

Fried chicken at Lumbini - reijosfood.com

Main courses always include Naan bread baked in Tandor oven, Basmati rice, Mint sauce, Raita and Green salad as side dishes. Portions at Lumbini are generous because the actual main courses are in separate bowls. Most restaurants serve them in the same metal plate as all side dishes.

Naan bread is really delicious, better than Indian version.

Food at Lumbini - reijosfood.com

Ordered for main courses our favourites Butter Chicken Chicken cooked in coconut-cream butter & tomato sauce and Spinach Chicken Chicken with spinach sauce.

Tender pieces of chicken in well-seasoned sauces are palatable. Thick sauces actually make the dishes what they are. If you do not like this type of sauces, you do not like Nepalese cuisine.

butter chicken at Lumbini - reijosfood.comChicken Saag at Lumbini - reijosfood.com

Wines are not so typical drinks for Nepalese food but this one pairs extremely well. Basic, affordable Gato Negro from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes makes the dinner complete.

Gato Negro - reijosfood.com

Nepalese or Indian desserts are not our favourites, therefore we were satisfied for starters and main courses.

Actually it does not make sense to compare Continental, Scandinavian or Finnish cuisines with ethnic ones because they are totally different. However, you can always judge food, you like it or not. We like Nepalese food, therefore score is high. Service is always polite, thoughtful and humble. Sometimes you are not so happy about too familiarity and effusive freshness which new fine dining bistros present.

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

http://www.ravintolalumbini.com/





Restaurant review: Alberga – dinner and comedy theatre

8 02 2014

Alberga - reijosfood.com

Our visit to Alberga, one of the oldest theatre restaurants in Finland, was probably the 20th or at least something like that. And proof of our long history with Alberga was warm welcome handshake by owner,  when we arrived.

Theatre restaurant Alberga is family owned scene in Espoo, Leppävaara (Alberga in Swedish). Restaurant was established 1988 and since then it has presented over 1000 plays, mostly comedies.

We came to see “Rich, Dear and Work” performed by Minna Kivelä and Annu Valonen. Both are well known comediennes from TV series “Handy hostess”.

What a play! These comediennes are the best in Finland and made us laugh bellies ache.

There is always special theatre menu available consisting of one starter, two alternative main courses and one dessert. Dinner is served before the show which usually starts at 20.00.

Dinner started with Beetroot flavored salmon which is basic delicious Finnish dish and never let’s you down. Salmon must be enough thin in order not be chewy.

Salmon at Alberga - reijosfood.com

For main courses kitchen served Roasted Arctic char with lingonberry sauce and Fried sirloin with red wine sauce.

Fish included cooked potatoes and made portion again basic scrumptious Finnish plate. Sirloin was tender and properly roasted, meat inside was rose. Side dishes, oven potato and roasted root vegetables complemented the dose perfectly.

Acctic char at Alberga - reijosfood.comSirloin at Alberga - reijosfood.com

Dessert served was Parfait which included orange, chocolate and strawberry. Could have eaten three of them.

Parfait at Alberga - reijosfood.com

Theatre restaurant Alberga is more sedate than Kaksi kanaa, which is also popular scene (review was posted 4.3.2012).

Alberga - reijosfood.com

You should visit Alberga although you would not like theatre. It is totally different to follow up the show two meters from the small stage than sit in the back row of big hall. And most of the plays are enjoyable, well written and acted out. Athmosphere is relaxed and informal. Therefore Alberga earns 4,5 for overall grade.

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

http://www.ravintolaalberga.fi/





Restaurant review: Blue Peter – all year round open yacht club

2 02 2014

Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Blue Peter, covered by snow and ice, is a restaurant in Lappland…….Not exactly, but snowfall during the past 24 hours made me imagine so.

Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Actually Blue Peter is situated on Lauttasaari island by Gulf of Finland 4 km from Helsinki city centre. In the summer time it is really popular due to large terraces and HSK sailing club members. Restaurant is open all year around hosting private events also in the winter time. On the evening we dined, there was a private party for 140 people. Not bad at all for summer restaurant.

For starters decided to order Smoked salmon mousse with malt bread and Thai-salmon soup from Soup and Salad menu, which ended the same day we dined.

Smoked salmon was more like hash than mousse because it was quite dry. Otherwise tasty starter. To add asian style spices to salmon soup is brilliant idea and must try also at home.

Smoked salmon mousse - reijosfood.comThai-salmon soup - reijosfood.com

Main courses were Reindeer fillet with game sauce and potato gratin and Whitefish, soy-ginger sauce and jasmin rice.

Reindeer was soft and tender and perfectly prepared. Potato gratin, I think, might have been more or less convenience food or not. Whitefish could have been fresher than it felt and sauce seemed to be more soy than ginger based. But whitefish is always delicious, choose it always if it is available in restaurant you eat.

Reindeer at Blue Peter - reijosfood.comWhitefish at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

For desserts had to order the favourite one; Crepe with strawbarry jam and vanilla ice-cream. As the only lactose free dessert was sorbet we asked if kitchen could prepare something else and they did; Chocolate muffin with vanilla ice-cream.

Crepes are best in Helsinki, as I have stated in previous reviews, and can confirm it again. But pimped dessert was bull’s-eye, just baked muffin with ice-cream was really a sweet. We even suggested that restaurant should add it to their a la carte list. Let’s see if that will happen.

Crepe at Blue Peter - reijosfood.comMuffin and ice-cream at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

For wine we had Weingut Liebfrauenstift Riesling QbA Trocken which is guaranteed safe choice. Suitable amount of acidity and minerals.

As you will get Geisha and/or Fazerin Sininen chocolate with coffee and bill that might be enough for dessert. Or nice take away to pamper yourself later.

Wine at Blue Peter - reijosfood.comCeisha chocolate - reijosfood.com

Blue Peter is especially summer restaurant but it does not mean that in can be cozy also in the winter time. Evening we visited there were decorations from past DTM, German Touring Car Masters, race in Helsinki. Wonder if there was some kind of remembrance earlier on coming next weekend?

???????????????????????????????Fireplace at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Desserts earned 4+ for Food but unevennes in starters and main courses dropped points. Our waitress forgot one of our orders, but as we got espresso and green tea for free, it corrected the event.

But it is great that there is stylish dining place outside of Helsinki centre because it is not easy to survive all year round. Especially in the summer one of the restaurants you should visit.

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

http://www.bluepeter.fi/articles/632/





Restaurant review: Pastis – French bistro

26 01 2014

Mussels at Pastis - reijosfood.com

Pastis is an anis-flavored liqueur and aperitif from France, but it is also French style “fine dining” bistro in Helsinki.

Pastis was opened in April 2013 by restaurant Muru celebrity chef owners. Similar concept but focus in French kitchen. Always available a la carte dishes in changing list are mussels, snails, sausages, fish and meat from France. On Fridays and Saturdays you can also enjoy fresh oysters for 5€ each or 12€, if you take 3.

Tables are located on two levels in small dining rooms but you could also try to pop in for a look if there is room by the bar counter. Reservations are for 2 1/2 hours which is just enough to eat three couse dinner. This is nowadays typical custome for popular “gourmet” bistros.

Started the dinner with Pastis, of course, Ricard. First hesitated a little bit to order ice cold aperitif, because if was freezing outside, around -13C degrees.

Ricard at Pastis - reijosfood.com

For starters we ordered Roquefort gratinated Bourgogne snails in pastis butter and Smoked mackerel, cucumber and fennel salad, marinated red onion.

Usually you get snails in snail pan where all snails are in small cups but Pastis served them in small open pan. Taste of Roquefort was perfect because if it would had dominated, starter would have been to salty. Mackarel was served with toast instead of brioche, as we asked it too be without lactose.

Snails at Pastis - reijosfood.comMackarel at Pastis - reijosfood.com

For main courses ordered only available fish portion Catch of the day Antiboise. Fish, “Cliff sole” was accompanied by tomato-based sauce/stew and by one of the 3 side dishes, Mixed salad with sherry vinegar, which had to be ordered separately. Also ordered large portion of Mussels á la Pastis with curry and Truffle salted french fries for side dish.

Fish was fried in oil and the level of maturity was perfect. It was a pity that it was over-salted. Mussels were smaller than you usually see, which was good as the big ones are chewy. About 10 had already came loose from the shells. Salt in fish and mussels under the broth were minor grievances, but took one quarter point out of the Food scores.

Fish at Pastis - reijosfood.comMussels and fries at Pastis - reijosfood.com

Dinner had to be ended with Calvados Domfrontains which is mix of apple and at least 30% pear. Had only tasted apple Calvados earlier and noticed that pear makes the flavor softer. Also ordered one House chocolate, which was truffle.

Calvados at Pastis - reijosfood.com

Restaurant or bistro Pastis is refreshing piece of French kitchen in Helsinki. Concept, which might by expanded to another locations, is French from decor to music. Chansons sang by Edith Piaf and check in a nice tin were the frosting for the French dinner.

Wines come mainly from France, of course, but it would be convenient to list also those which are available in glasses. Asked recommendations for wines for dishes ordered. Pinot Noir for snails was good choice but white wine for salty macarel not so felicitous. Riesling Vignoble d’E, Domaine Ostertag  from Alsace for both main courses was excellent choice.

Extra + for overall grade comes from the well planned and implemented French concept.

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

Pastis - reijosfood.comCheck at Pastis - reijosfood.com

http://www.pastis.fi/

https://fi-fi.facebook.com/pages/Ravintola-Pastis/249978811804861





Restaurant review: GOCE Bar & Kitchen – “gourmet” tapas in Helsinki

16 01 2014

Tapas at Goce - reijosfood.com

After vacation in Spain it was important to arrange smooth return to everyday life. Especially as winter arrived in Helsinki the same day. Therefore we decided to dine at new “gourmet” tapas place GOCE Bar & Kitchen.

Restaurant was re-opened in new premises in November 2013. We made reservation on 6th Jan and noticed couple of days later that a la carte list had shortened. Only two main courses and desserts. Reason why we decided to try a big bunch of tapas portions, which sounded delicious and were familiar from previous visits to Spain.

Chose 9 portions from the list. 10th, Grilled Secreto and Sofrito, was recommended by waitress. All portions looked well prepared when they arrived to the table.

Goce menu - reijosfood.com

First we got Pimientos de Padron, which were exactly as they should be. Warm, soft and not too salty.

Pimientos de Padron at Goce - reijosfood.com

Then arrived Gambas Plancha, see the burning flame in the middle of the plate! Delicious ones, but only three pieces.

Gambas Plancha at Goce - reijosfood.com

Annoying events started at this point.

As we were early diners, in fact the first ones, after restaurant had opened at 5PM, kitchen decided to prepare everything at once. That might be typical for affordable tapas bars, but at GOCE‘s price level, you expect to be able to enjoy warm dishes warm.

Our gambas were still uneaten when we got Patatas Bravas and Beetroot to the table. Both were delicious especially beetroot but we were now confused; which portions to eat next?

Potates and beetroot at Goce - reijosfood.com

We already had 4 dishes on the table and got 5th, PulpoOctopus. This one was not so successful as previous portions. It should have been more crisp or solid, but instead was too soft.

Pulpo at Goce - reijosfood.com

We managed to fill up our small plates in a hurry with mixed selection of 4 tapas portions but during we emptied plates came Boquerones, Chorizos, Iberico -pork and soon after that Green salad and Manchego cheese. It was easier to take a picture of all of them than to try photograph portions one by one.

Unfortunately we had to send back sausages and Iberico -pork because they were already cold when we started to focus to eat them. However, had tasted pork plate and did not want a replacement for that because meat pieces seemed to be mostly pigskin. Would not have done that, but waitress had encouraged us to order it.

Sausages were juicy as they should be and Manchego was ok. It could have been a little bit older compared to the price.

There was a pile of croutons on green salad which is odd, is it then green? As we were served fresh bread to start with, it would have been enough.

Goce tapas - reijosfood.com

Green salad at Goce - reijosfood.com

Restaurant and dining room are huge compared to any other bistros or tapas bars. Decoration is stylish, one of the most elegants in the city for concept GOCE has.

Goce Bar & Kitchen - reijosfood.comGoce - reijosfood.com

If we would have had enough time to enjoy tapas portions, GOCE Bar & Kitchen would have earned better scores for service. Waitress said that she tried to slow down the speed kitchen had. Therefore suggest to take couple of tapas to start with and then try main courses. Also would have appreciated if our plates would have been changed once or twice. We were asked if we want clean ones when we had only one piece of cheese left….

Would also hope that there would be more affordable choises for wines in the glass. At least found interesting basic tempranillo, Disco 2012, which paired well with all tapas portions.

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

http://goce.fi/





Two climates – Helsinki, Finland and Costa Meloneras, Spain

11 01 2014

I have not sent posts just consisting of pictures of traveling photos, but after leaving today’s dining place, sort of lived de javu. Not because of Spanish type of restaurant we just dined (which was not de javu), but because of Christmas lights.

Christmas unite nations all over the world. Sometimes it seems exaggerated, but it is always familiar for almost all nations.

First picture is from Costa Meloneras, Gran Canaria, Spain one week ago.

CostaMeloneras_evening - reijosfood.com

Second picture is from Park Esplanade, Helsinki, Finland today.

Esplanade park evening - reijosfood.com

Because of first snow which landed today, yes today on the 11th January 2014, we shaked from the cold.

Cold equals -1C degrees, which is the first time when temperature is below zero in Helsinki this winter. Odd?

Although we are Finns, we are never accustomed for winter. But when it arrives we kind of like it….., or have already started planning next trip to avoid it.








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