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

 





Restaurant review: Valo (Savonlinna)

17 07 2014

Savonlinna is an active and vibrant summertime town in Finland. The town itself and its surroundings are one of the most popular holiday regions in Finland. Beside enjoying the opera, admire the breathtaking scenery in and around the town, have a giggle at some of the eccentric local events, and listen to the legends associated with the historical sites.

Savonlinna Castle - reijosfood.com

Dined at restaurant Valo (in English Light) the fourth year in a row, is it becoming a habit? No it will not, read futher…..Other 2 reviews can be found by using search and writing Valo.

Valo in Savonlinna - reijosfood.com

Because one has to dine outside in order to be able observe opera guests walking to Savonlinna castle 200 meters from Valo restaurant by Saimaa lake, it would be important to have a good weather. In Valo one can also just have a drink at the forefront bar and do the same.

Restaurant Valo - reijosfood.com

Restaurant serves local Finnish food, evidence for that used to be the names of local producers on the a la carte list. This year the names of local producers had almost vanished. Reason? Many local residents and summer vacationers had pizza which seems to be quite nice looking. We decided to keep up traditions and order form a la carte list. But in the future….

For starters we ordered Salmon & dill Sugar and salt-cured salmon, fennel salad, dill maynonnaise and potato crisps and Snails.

Nice looking small fish portion was a little bit too salty. It included two potato chips. I would not mention those in explanation of portion. Snails were soft with lot’s of smelted butter.

Salmon starter at Valo - reijosfood.com

Escargots at Valo - reijosfood.com

Main courses were this time Trout Pan fried trout fillet,warm new potato salad with crab sauce and Fish of the day from Saimaa with trimmings of the day.

Kitchen made some changes to trout portion as we requested them, which was  proofpoint of customer service. But amazing was that waiter said that fish of the day should be pike-perch but we got Arctic char! That kind of mistake we have not seen for a long time.

Unfortunately both fishes were over fried and therefore dry.

Fish at Valo - reijosfood.comFish at Valo - reijosfood.com

For desserts we had after long discussion with waitress Chocolate cake and Berries.

Berries were not on the list but as there were no lactose-free desserts, berries were only ones kitchen could serve. Delicious chocolate cake included same berries as well as vanilla ice-cream.

Chocolate dessert at Valo - reijosfood.comBerries at Valo - reijosfood.com

For wine we had rose because only riesling on the wine list was too light and without any riesling character.

Rose wine at Valo - reijosfood.com

Next time when or if we dine at Valo we try pizza. Small and therefore over priced portions (but it is opera month) do not earn more than 3. Location and terrace increase overall grade.

The problem with Savonlinna restaurant scene has, is the lack of small privately own Finnish restaurants. Most in the center of town are owned nowadays by S-Group co-operative company. But it is difficult to keep up restaurant business, if there are customers only during summer months.

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

http://www.savonmafia.fi/products/product/82/

 





Restaurant review: La Bottega (Tallinn, Estonia)

16 07 2014

Trattoria La Bottega offers a cross-section of the Italian cuisine, with a special emphasis on Italian food and wines consistency. Sardinian origin chef Nicolo Tanda favorites, fish and seafood are represented in restaurants menu.

La Bottega is part of Sparkling Group which owns several fine dining restaurants in Tallinn.

In Italian restaurant you must start the dinner with aperitivo. As Aperol Spritz was not available, we enjoyed Campari Soda’s.

Campari Soda's at La Bottega - reijosfood.com

For starters we ordered Antipasti and Prawn tails in spicy fresh tomato sauce and grilled focaccia.

Antipasti plate was generous including salami, Parma ham, eggplant, bruschetta,…..one of the biggest antipasti portions seen for a while. Tomato sauce with prawn tails was really scrumptious. It could have been used as pasta sauce, on top of a pizza or even to be eaten as such. Best flavor kitchen servedduring our visit.

Antipasti at La Bottega - reijosfood.comPrawn tails at La Bottega - reijosfood.com

Primi Piatti, or actually pasta, Spaghetti with garlic oil and chilli and Tomato salad with mozzarella buffalo cheese.

Had to order pasta in order to try how kitchen manages. And it managed well; spaghetti was al dente and garlic and chilli tasted nicely. As restaurant does not serve gluten-free pasta ordered caprese salad (tomato and mozzarella) for another Primi Piatti. Genuine Italian mozzarella di bufala beats cheeses made of cow milk.

Spaghetti at La Bottega - reijosfood.comMozzarella and tomato at La Bottega - reijosfood.com

Main courses this time were Herb marinated quail with oven baked eggplant and Braised rabbit in white wine and olive sauce, potato-spinach puree.

As La Bottega had quite challenging and rare meats on it’s a la carte list, had to try couple of them.

Two small quial legs made us mention to waitress that portion should be starter. The answer was separate side dishes are because of that. You have to choose them with certain portions. We had ordered two side dishes; Baked aubergine with garlic and parsley and Rucola and tomato salad. Unfortunately quail legs were also a little bit dry and should have been starters, with or without side dish.

Rabbit included side dish but rucola salad paired nicely with it. Meat was overdone, otherwise it tasted like rabbit should be.

Quail at La Bottega - reijosfood.comRabbit at La Bottega - reijosfood.comSide dishes at La Bottega - reijosfood.com

Wine list consists only of Italian wines. We chose Gavi di Gavi Fossili which paired well with all dishes. The dinner was finalized with Italian digestives, Grappa and Limoncello, of course. Taste of lemon was quite thin in Limencello and the color was not so deep yellow as it should be.

Espresso and grappa at La Bottega - reijosfood.comGreen tee and Limocello at La Bottega - reijosfood.com

Dining rooms are cozy and first one behind entrance is really high in old historic building. We arrived so early that dinner time had not yet started.

La Bottega dining room - reijosfood.com

If weather allows you can also have lunch at the terrace; why not even dinner if evening is warm. Terrace is also perfect place to observe by-passers and other terraces close to La Bottega‘s one.

La Bottega terrace - reijosfood.com

La Bottega is good Italian restaurant with ambitious menu. No pizza’s which of course prune customer base. But you get a chance to eat in more peaceful athmosphere than in many pizzeria/trattoria type of restaurants in Old Town. When it comes to food, would classify La Bottega as ristorante but based on decor more trattoria type.

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

http://labottega.ee/





Restaurant review: Chedi (Tallinn, Estonia)

13 07 2014

Chedi starters - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Chedi is a contemporary treatment of Asian food culture. Contrasts, combination of tastes and mixture different raw materials are where the contemporary Asian cuisine is heading at. Chedi location is in Old Town, which is one of food culture areas in Tallinn.

Next to Chedi is another Sparkling Group restaurant Bocca (review 02.02.2013, use search at reijosfood)

Chedi - reijosfood.com

For several years Chedi has been chosen in TOP 5 of best restaurants of Estonia. The reason we decided to visit there and of course our penchant for Asian cuisine.

Started the dinner with Small eat’s Dim sum platter with mushrooms and vegetable, Fried soft shell crab with red chilli and curry leaves and Jasmine tea smoked pork ribs.

Dim sums were great, especially the red ones. Soft shell crabs were also delicious but maybe the taste of crabs disappeared under frying. Pork ribs were one of the best ever eaten. But this is maybe because never before have tasted Jasmine tee smoked ribs.

Dim Sum at Chedi - reijosfood.comSof shell crabs at Chedi - reijosfood.comPork ribs at Chedi - reijosfood.com

For main courses we chose Grilled salmon in Chef ’s special sauce and Spicy prawns with water chestnut, chilli and almonds. For side dish restaurant served rice in wooden bowl. Would have ordered Thai style pike-perch but restaurant had not got any pike-perch fish.

Waitress asked if the salmon shoud be medium or well-done. This was a proof that kitchen knew what to do with salmon. Ordered medium, got it and enjoyed.

Spicy prawns were not enough spicy although there was lot’s of curry. Luckily we had asked extra spices which we used with every portion. However, prawns were excellent.

Salmon at Chedi - reijosfood.comPrawns at Chedi - reijosfood.comRice at Chedi - reijosfood.com

For desserts we just had green tea and coffee due to the fact that our stomachs were almost filled with three hors d’oeuvres.

Chedi dining room - reijosfood.com

Chedi is a restaurant worth to visit in Tallinn, if you like Asian food. Decor is stylistic with buddhist features. You have to be ready to eat with sticks and spoon which are used instead of fork and knife. Of even with fingers, if it is easier. You do not have to worry about smearing your fingers because you can wash them afterwards and dry them thoroughly with hand cloth.

Chedi table - reijosfood.com

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

http://chedi.ee/en/

 

 





Restaurant review: Kappeli – Finnish food in historic building

11 07 2014

Champagne at Kappeli - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Kappeli was opened to the public 1867 as summer restaurant but since 1970′s it has been open all year round. Latest renowation was in autumn 2011 still keeping same traditions in building structure and decor.

In the summer you can also dine at the outside terrace which is behind main terrace. This summer first time it has separate grill menu which is not the same as inside. If you want to sit in the middle of the main terrace but inside, ask for oriel window table. It is small but you can even watch bands and singers on the Espa stage opposite the restaurant. We dined in that small glass walled space like we always do.

For starters we had Open sandwich with herring Haugesund herring on dark bread with sour cream, salad, potato, marinated red onion and organic egg and Kappeli’s fish assortment Smoked salmon mousse, cold smoked Baltic herring skagen, smoked whitebait, cold smoked salmon and organic scrambled eggs.

Cold fish starter plates are always excellent at Kappeli. Of course they are easier to prepare partly beforehand than warm starters or main courses. Main thing is what fish plate incudes and how pieces on the plate complement each other. Would say that the appearance of portions is not the main thing but it should be more because of the price level.

Herring at Kappeli - reijosfood.comFish assortment at Kappeli - reijosfood.com

Main courses were Smoked salmon and creamy false morel stew with potatoes seasoned with butter, dill and onion, courgette and oven-baked tomato and Grain chicken breast fillet with goat’s cheese and Pistou vegetables.

Simple salmon portion with delicious side-dishes. But what about the price? 34€ is robbery but as main target group is tourists it does not matter. Chicken was dry but goat cheese delicious and enough warm.

Smoked salmon at Kappeli - reijosfood.comCkicken bread at Kappeli - reijosfood.com

Had to try desserts which were Crème brulée and orange sorbet and Blueberry pie with blueberries and blueberry ice cream.

Would say that desserts were best part of the dinner. Creme brulee with orange sorbet was delicious combination. Blueberry pie, one of my favorites, included lot’s of blueberry jam although there was already plenty of it on top of pie. And when you add ice-cream, dessert is bull’s eye.

Creme brulee at Kappeli - reijosfood.comBlueberry pie at Kappeli - reijosfood.com

The picture below is taken from the oriel window table we dined. It really feels you are dining in the middle of the terrace but without hearing gabble outside. And of course the temparature remains the same although evening turns later.

Kappeli terrace - reijosfood.com

For wine we had champagne Nicolas Fauillette which is cheaper for loyalty card owners than most of the wines. Not the most tasty champagne we know but champagne anyway.

Restaurant Kappeli is a must place for tourists to visit and maybe even to dine, if you do not care about the high prices. Because of the price level can not give more than 3+ for food. Dry chicken cost 27€, which is again incomprehensible price, compared to what you get.

Service is polite and professional. But because Kappeli is Kappeli, overall grade is over 4. The building itself, Espa park around it, relaxed athmosphere and at least trying starters from the a la carte list are worth to experience.

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

http://www.kappeli.fi/index.php?id=23

 

 





Restaurant review: NJK – time stands still, dining continues

4 07 2014

NJK - reijosfood.com

NJK, the villa-type unique summer restaurant, located on the small island of Valkosaari, was built in 1900. It is one of the most popular locations for festivities and one of the most popular crayfish restaurant in Helsinki.  Suprisingly there was no wedding party on that specific Saturday when we had dinner. Usually it is really difficult to get table during summer weekends.

Before dinner, if weather allows, you must enjoy aperitives at the second floor small terrace. From there you can also see restaurant Saaristo which is located on island Klippan. It is one of the several island restaurants in the foreground of Kaivopuisto. (review posted 22.6.2013)

Saaristo and Klippan - reijosfood.com

There was few days left to try special 5 dishes Archipelago herbs menu, which 2 of us decided to order. Each portion included some Finnish herb from the restaurant’s own greenhouse. Portions were also named by the herb used to prepare dish. You could also choose recommended wines which we also did. Especially red wine deserved special attention.

Also chose 2 menus from a la carte list; those portions are marked with +. And with these dishes the wine choice was a bottle of Villa Huesgen Schiefer Riesling from Mosel. Dry and balanced German riesling.

SWEET CICELY

White fish ceviche and +NJK’s fish assortment

First herb dish was white fish ceviche. White fish (lavaret) is one of the best Finnish fishes and when it is served spiced and raw, it is always worth to try. Cicely paired well with white fish but saltiness ruled over a little bit. Excellent starter for dinner anyway.

Fish assortment included herrings, white fish roe with creme fraiche and onion, small smoked vendaces, shrimp skagen and salmon with mustard-dill dressing. But this was not all although most famous and best Finnish fishes were already on the plate. In addition to an assortment of fish, NJK served new potatoes and creamy morel mushroom sauce.

Ceviche at NJK - reijosfood.com

Fish plate at NJK - reijosfood.com

Campo Viejo Cava Brut Rosé, Spain 10 cl

Campo Viejo rose cava paired well with tart and salty ceviche. However, it did not beat Lanson Rose which we sipped for aperitives at the small 2nd floor terrace while enjoying sunny day and maritime landscape.

CHIVES

Mussel risotto with grilled scampi

After tasty ceviche we were served delicous risotto. Cooking time for rice was perfect and scampi complemented taste of mussels nicely. Not sure if flavor of chives was enough strong but excellent primi piatti anyway.

Risotto at NJK - reijosfood.com

Jacob’s Creek Reserve Barossa Riesling, Australia   12 cl

We were first served inadvertently red wine which should have been the third wine. It suited well with risotto, maybe even better than this riesling we got before finishing risotto. Rieslings are our favourite white wines but maybe this one required more acidity with risotto.

ITALIAN PARSLEY

Herb roasted fillet of lamb with dark parsley sauce and +Pike-perch with lemon beurre blanc

Third dish from herbs menu was fillet of lamb which you could have been changed to pike-perch if you would have preferred fish. Parsley suited well with the meat which had perfect rose inside.

Pike-perch had as a side dish cauliflower pyre which we asked to change for one of the portions. Fish was well prepared and tasty. Pike-perch is not so common fish to be served in restaurants in Finland. If it is on the a la carte menu, order it.

Lamb at NJK - reijosfood.com

Pike-perch at NJK - reijosfood.com

Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz, Australia   16 cl

Jacob’s Creek reserve shiraz rose to our favourite from all four wines. Deep and balanced bouquet as well as flavor. Wine which you should have in your wine cabinet. Perfect pairing with lamb but also with risotto as mentioned earlier.

CURRANT LEAF

Thyme flavoured melon with currant leaf sorbet

Sorbet came in handy after lamb. Perfect food melter before dessert.

MINT

Strawberries with mint and lime mousse and +Chocolate and fudge ganache with blackberry sorbet

Mousse looked like ice-cream and first thought why serve ice-cream after sorbet. Fresh and sweet strawberries are always perfect way to end the dinner.

Chocolate dessert was master piece. Really sweet fudge but sorbet suitably slimmed it down not to bee too heavy.

Dessert at NJK - reijosfood.com

Dessert at NJK - reijosfood.com

Mumm Demi-Sec 10 cl

Dessert champagne was second best of the pre-selected wines. Port or sweet wine would have been too twee for strawberries but even for chocolate dessert. Excellent choice by sommelier.

NJK maintains traditions of letting customers to choose avec for coffee from drinks trolley instead of ordering it from list. Might be costly if you do not know what you have chosen. We did.

Digestives at NJK - reijosfood.com

Restaurant NJK is a one of the few classic restaurants in Helsinki, like Savoy. You should invite your foreign quests there in order to get them familiar with Finnish archipelago and food. And both only from 2 minutes boat trip distance and a stone’s throw away from Market Square (Kauppatori).

NJK garden - reijosfood.com

Regarding the headline, time stands still at restaurant NJK. And it really does when you step into the buiding and sit at a table. If all the boats in NJK yacht club harbour were old sailing boats, then you really would wonder if time has gone back.

NJK entrance - reijosfood.comNJK main dining room - reijosfood.com

Food at NJK is excellent but unfortunately this time there was some instability in service which should not be there, not at NJK. Waitresses should be guided to details when it comes to menu and drinks, although she would be temporary worker. However, arrangement of aperitives at the 2nd floor terrace earned 5 points which increased service grade. And overall grade is high due to unique milieu, solemn but relaxed athmosphere and dinner entourage.

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

http://www.ravintolanjk.fi/en





Restaurant review: Minos – genuine Greek food

29 06 2014

Restaurant Minos is over 25 years old restaurant which serves traditional Greek food.  Clear proof of authenticity is language used by waiters/waiteresses; they talk to each other in Greek. Minos has pleasant covered terrace which can be used also in winter time, as it is heated. We always choose to dine there because you can observe by-passers at the same time. In the summer Minos has it’s own spot in popular Kamppi shopping center terrace area serving Greek wines and Mythos beer.  We started our journey to Greece there.

Unfortunately photos are not the best quality because in bright sun shine some shadows covered parts of the portions.

For starters we chose of course Tzatziki yoghurt and cucumber salad, Dolmades vine leaves stuffed with rise and herbs and this time also Tiger prawns fried with garlic, butter and white wine.

Greek starters are always delicious, still miss taramosalata from holidays, but unfortunately it is not available at Minos. Tzatziki was made from genuine Greek yoghurt, not from Finnish or German and therefore really enjoyable. You can purchase similar dolmades from supermarkets in tins but so what, they were excellent. Only three prawns :( could have eaten six because the cooking sauce was so scrumptious.

Starters at Minos - reijosfood.com

For main courses we had Grilled corn fed breast and halloumi cheese and Gyros grilled pork with pita bread and tzatziki.

For corn fed chicken you had to choose side dish and we chose potatoes because vegetables included too much onions.  The size of of halloumi cheese could have been bigger. Gyros in pocket bread is one of my favourites but it is also good at Minos. Of course pork is a little bit greasy but you do not eat gyros every day, do you?

Chicken at Minos - reijosfood.com

Gyros at Minos - reijosfood.com

And for dessert Your choice of hand made ice cream, vanilla, chocolate truffle or raspberry sorbet with cherry or chocolate sauce.

Sorbet was excellent, not frostwork which meant that it had been prepared at the restaurant kitchen.

Ice-cream at Minos - reijosfood.com

With food we had Greek white wine 2009 Petra, Kir-Yanni. Wine list lets you understand Petra is from 2009 but it’s vintage was 2013. Wonder why restaurant does not take the vintage away because it does not mean so much when it comes to Greek wines?

Wine at Minos - reijosfood.com

Minos is one of our favourite restaurants in Helsinki for meny reasons. We like Greek food and Minos prepares it well. All waiters and waitresses have Greek background and it is nice to hear them speaking their mother language. And dining at terrace, either under glass roof our outside is always pleasure. Therefore overall grade is high.

Note that restaurant is not open on Sundays.

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

http://minos.fi/

 





Restaurant review: Blue Peter – 2014 2nd review

26 06 2014

Dinner table with a view - reijosfood.com

I believe we dine at Blue Peter over 10 times per year and mainly in summer time. Therefore it makes sense to post a review regularly in order to confirm the level of quality. Compared to last year free salad buffet for diners is not anymore available. You need to order starter, if you want to eat such, which we anyway often did earlier despite of the buffet.

This time for starters we had Warm smoked white fish, salad and mustard-dressing and Green asparagus, Parma ham and hollandaise sauce.

You can order also this delicious salad for main course, but it suits well for starter. You seldom get white fish (lavaret) on top of salad; therefore order it, if you have a chance. Green asparagus was cooked like it should be, not too soft. Parma ham paired well as well as hollandaise but the amount of sauce was overwhelming.

Fish salad at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Green Asparagus at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

For main courses we ordered Grilled salmon, teriyaki-sauce with pumkin pyree and Cheddarburger, minced beef steak and french fries.

Salmon is always delicious and with pumkin pyre even better. Burger is one of the best in Helsinki, but has the beef steak shrinked? Must try again soon.

Fish at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Burger at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Most important, of course, are desserts. And of course Crepe, strawberry jam and vanilla ice-cream and this time also Ice-cream and berries.

As mentioned in earlier review, crepe is really scrumptious. But now Blue Peter had added lactose free vanilla ice-cream on it’s menu which was warmly welcomed by us. So far only standard ice-cream but our wish had been fulfilled.

Crepes at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Dessert at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Behind the window there were also some other diners enjoying of stand-up meal.

Blue Peter window - reijosfood.com

Friday evening when we dined at Blue Peter was one of the busiest for them. Big private party and yachtsmen enjoying dinner before weekend sailing. However, head waiter was as calm as usually and arrange us window table although had first some troubles to sit at another table. And despite the pressure in kitchen portions earned a little bit better points than in previous review, as well as overall grade.

http://reijosfood.com/2014/02/02/restaurant-review-blue-peter-all-year-round-open-yacht-club/

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

http://www.bluepeter.fi/

 

 





Restaurant review: Havis – Midsummer’s Eve dinner

21 06 2014

 

Restaurant Havis - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Havis used to specialize only in seasonal Finnish and Scandinavian seafood. Restaurant consists of three different dining room styles. Dining room Havis looks as historic as building restaurant is located. Reserved window table from this room. One can see new Finnar SkyWheel at Katajanokka and old Market Hall through the windows. Vanha Kauppahalli was re-opened on the 9th June 2014 after being renovated almost 2 years.

Dining room Kitchen includes open-plan kitchen and dining room Terrace is more relaxed sheltered patio which might be cold depending on weather.

You can not call Havis fish restaurant any more, because it serves also hamburgers and caesar salads. Wider menu might be due to hotel Haven, which is a member of Small Luxury Hotel of the World. Hotel Haven is part of the same Royal Ravintolat Group as three restaurants in the same building  including Havis.

Midsummer is quiet period in Helsinki and most restaurants are closed. Partly because of this, restaurant was full of mainly tourists.

Havis had special Midsummer menu with only 2 starters, 2 main courses and 2 desserts. Almost cancelled reservation when noticed that but luckily decided to keep the reservation. We got the table we had requested, first table on the right by the window next to the entrance. Also all portions were lactose free which is still really rare. We tried all portions.

STARTERS

Asparagus soup with vendace roe

Asparagus tasted enough and structure of the soup was perfect. Green asparagus was properly cooked, not too much.

Asparagus soup at Havis - reijosfood.com

Fishplate with local fish and season potatoes

Cold fishplate included herring, baltic herring, smoked fish mousse, salmon tartar and white fish roe. Excellent assortment of Finnish fishes accompanied with new potatoes with butter and dill.

Fishplate at Havis - reijosfood.com

MAIN COURSES

Char-grilled arctic char with summer vegetables and false morel stew

Arctic char is rare fish at the restaurants which made this portion special. Summer vegetables were baby carrot, peas, green asparagus, early cabbage, potatoes, radish and cauliflower. For tourists good chance to taste fresh Finnish vegetables on one plate.

Arctic char at Havis - reijosfood.com

Roasted beef marble fillet with bean cassoulet and Bearnaise sauce

Roasting time had been consummate but unfortunately meat included parts which were chewy. Cassoulet and sauce paired well with meat as well as glass of Capitel San Rocco Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso. Wine had suitable amount of tannins but was also round at the same time.

Roasted beef at Havis - reijosfood.com

DESSERTS

Cheese selection with Havis crisp bread and compote

First of all thanks to our waiter who wrote down the names of cheeses because have to try to find Klosterkäse from Austria from supermarkets because it was really tasty. Other cheeses were Fourme Dambert from France, Capratraminer from Italy and Brie de Meaux from France which is always unbeatable white cheese. Wonder why Havis does not serve Finnish cheeses?

Cheese plate - reijosfood.com

White chocolate pannacotta with marinated strawberries

Dessert without lactose but includes milk, well done Havis!

Pannacotta at Havis - reijosfood.com

 

We had for white wine Prinz von Hessen Classic Riesling which paired well with starters and arctic char. Dry and enough minerals and acidity, not too dominant but complementary.

The old ship on the back end wall was heading to …..?

Havis dining room - reijosfood.com

Roasted beef lowered a little bit the food points but otherwise dinner was delicious. Especially using lactose free milk products is big plus. Overall grade is high because it is great that Havis is open on Midsummer’s Eve and we got exactly the table we had been requested when making on-line reservation.

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

Typical Finnish summer weather forecast: “If it does not rain, it is cloudy or sunny. Sometimes or usually all three at the same time”.

Rainbow - reijosfood.com

http://www.ravintolahavis.fi/en

https://fi-fi.facebook.com/SkywheelHelsinki

https://www.facebook.com/Vanhakauppahalli





Taste of Helsinki 2014 – review of tasted portions

15 06 2014

First of all big thanks to Taste of Helsinki founder Barry MacNamara for organizing ticket change from Friday to Saturday and inviting us to opening ceremony for invited guests. Due to work obligations outside Finland we had to suspend the participation by one day and therefore could not either join the opening ceremony on Thursday.

Taste of Helsinki is a culinary festival, which takes you on a journey through the gourmet flavours of some of the best restaurants in Helsinki and Finland. It is also unique chance to get familiar with fine dining restaurants at the same time without paying high prices for gourmet food. We participated third time, the same number of times the event has been organized. This year the weather has been typical Finnish summer, rainy and cold. Challenging for outdoor events.

Below you can find pictures with comments of some of the best small dishes restaurants served.

Bertha: Cod, bean, scallops 5-/5

Excellent combination, cod and scallops was served as a crispy croquette by Tampere restaurant

Bistro o Mat Anise spiced salmon at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Juuri: Terrine of cured perch 5/5

Perch is one of the best Finnish fishes and served like this on of the best portions

Juuri Terrine of cured perch at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Bistro o Mat: Anise spiced salmon with prawns and avocado 4+/5

Fresh spiced salmon and shrimps are always tasty but anise flavor was hidden somewhere. Kirkkonummi is home town of this restaurant

Bistro o Mat Salmon at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Smakbyn Åland: Fish tartar from the Baltic, crayfish and white fish roe  4,5/5

Excellent ensemble from restaurant in Åland owned by celebrity chef

Smakbyn Åland Fish tartar at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Emo: Crab cake with fennel  5/5

Bull’s eye, maybe the best of the best, croquette tasted of crab and fennel accomppanied perfectly

Emo Crabcake at Taste of Helsinki - reijfosfood.com

Postres: New potatoes and anchovy butter 4/5

New potatoes belong to Finnish summer and butter was tasty but too simple compared to any other portion

Postres potaoes at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Emo: Spring chicken with spring cabbage 4,5/5

Chicken skewer was grilled in front of you, with some more spices would have been unbeatable

Emo Chicken at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Postres: Smoked salmon in Can and Postres archipelago bread 5/5

Makes you drooling, Finnish summer hit and should be available from supermarkets for Mid Summer fiesta

Postres Smoked salmon at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Farang: Coconat caramel pork 4,5/5

Farang knows how to use spices, long queues all the time proved time, pork maybe too much kassler (pork loin) type

???????????????????????????????

Bertha: Chocolate, banana, Brazil nuts 5/5

Happy endings! Lucky we did not miss this one. Unfortunately so many starters did not allow more dessert portions

Bertha Dessert at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Plan was also to taste Oscar Hot Dog with veal, asparagus, and giant prawn from Kaartin Hodari & Hummeri, but the queue was so long all time. In the cold wind it was more convenient to stay sheltered from it.

To summarize, all tasted portions were impressive which can be seen from the points. I really hope that there will be 4th Taste of Helsinki because plan is to visit there twice. Quite difficult to try all portions at the same day. Also have to taste olive oils which were available at the fair. And wines, Kung Fu Girl Riesling and Miss Harry, paired well with dishes tasted. Vindirekt, the importer of these wines, made also best offers for glass of wine.

Event itself gets 5-/5 points and only cold weather was the reason for not giving 5. With sun shine it would have been 5+/5.

There will be separate post about champagne Taittinger tasting later.

http://www.tasteofhelsinki.fi/





Restaurant review: PureBistro – with Bib Gourmand status

1 06 2014

PureBistro and Market Square - reijosfood.com

PureBistro is a modern bistro and bar with two terraces next to the Market Square in Torikorttelit buildings.  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 and earns to keep that status.

PureBistro entrance - reijosfood.com

Dining room at PureBistro is quite small and therefore in the summer time you might decide to dine outside, if temperature allows that, which it did not on the last day of May. If you dine inside, ask for window table and you can enjoy sea view and observe bustle at the Market Square. That is exactly whatwe did.

PureBistro - reijosfood.comPureBistro terrace - reijosfood.com

Menu is short – 3 starters, 3 main courses and 2 desserts. If you choose 3 course dinner, the price is 45€. One option is to have drink at the bar and taste some small bites, in Finnish Snadit. As English and Finnish versions of the names of the portions are not exactly the same, I included both language versions.

After placing order customers will get fresh bread paper bag on the table.

PureBistro menu - reijosfood.comPureBistro menu and bread - reijosfood.com

Starters we ordered had fancy names; Hamashi Sashimi with Avocado & Seaweed Piikkimakrillisashimia, avokadokreemiä, soijaa ja levää and Carpaccio, Bloody Mary Sorbet & Tallowvinegar Kotimaista rotukarjaa, bloody mary sorbet ja emmentalia.

Sashimi was fresh and side dishes accompanied fish in oriental portion well. Lack of salt was only minus. Beef carpaccio was so soft that it could have eaten with spoon. I am not sure if kitchen tried to create picture of hedgehog on the plate, but portion looked like it.

Sashimi at PureBistro - reijosfood.comCarpaccio at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

For main courses we had two times Fried Trout, Cauliflower & Cassis Ahvenanmaan taimenta, kukkakaalia ja herukkaa but requested some changes to one of them. Restaurant created excellent version of this portion by replacing cauliflower with ratatouille.

Trout itself was perfectly fried, you could also eat fish skin as it was enough crispy. And what is most important, fish was not over-fried which happens too often also in so called good restaurants.

Fried trout at PureBistro- reijosfood.comTrout at PureBistro

For desserts ordered Tosca, VanillaIceCream & MilkXoco Toscakakkua, vaniljajäätelöä ja maitosuklaata and “Macedonia De Frutas” Liqourice “Hedelmäsalaattia” ja lakritsisorbettia.

Tosca cake was scrumptious. Amount of toffee sauce was maybe too much, but had to eat all of it anyway. Take a look at how fruits and sorbet was placed on the plate! PureBistro really has an artist in the kitchen, remember the hedgehog.

Dessert at PureBistro - reijosfood.comFruit dessert at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

Had to order bottle of Tesch 1 Liter Riesling for two reasons; riesling weeks with special menus had just ended but Tesch riesling was still available and the unsual size of the bottle (1 liter) is rare apparition.

Wine paired well with all dishes we had; well, maybe not with desserts. Dry, about 6 g/l sugar if I remember right what waitress told, and balanced acidity and minerality.

 Tesch 1 litre riesling at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

As we got window table, overall grade is 4,5. Propably next time we shall dine at the terrace; waiting for warmer summer days….Service is in balance with kitchen’s creativeness and skills.

PureBistro is genuine Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant and actually one of the first fine dining bistro type of restaurants in Helsinki. Nowadays there are several sophisticated bistro restaurants close to each other, like Gastrobar Emo, Gastropub Rikhard’s, Spis and Copa’s y Tapas. Reviews of there restaurants can be found by using search. Also previous PureBistro reviews can be found the same way.

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

http://www.purebistro.fi/

 





Restaurant review: El Cafe de Bolsa – Malaga, Spain

28 05 2014

El Cafe de Bolsa - reijosfood.com

El café de Bolsa is located at hotel Molina Lario serving hotel guests with breakfast, lunch or dinner. It has two different atmospheres: an interior space and an exterior courtyard. In both spaces you can taste Spanish cuisine, modern and up-to-date with Andalousian roots. 

We had breakfast each morning at the restaurant, but also tried lunch in order to evaluate it better. We were only ones having lunch at dining room, couple people seemed to eat something at patio.

Promising start was small delicious green olives which were brought to the table. Unfortunately this was the best part of visit.

Olives at Cafe de Bolsa - reijosfood.com

Our intention was to try 3-4 different half portion starters/tapas. We chose four but after placing the order waiter seem to be apalled and said loud “That is too much!”. Well, if that would be too much (of course we would not have emptied all plates), then we should have to settle for two.

We ordered Potato salad with “pil pil” prawns and maynonnese and Iberian serrano ham croquettes with marinated onions.

Potato salad was greasy and seemed to have extra oil. Prawns were soft which meant that they were not enough fresh. Second best part of the lunch were croquettes, they actually were tasty.

Potato salad at Cafe de Bolsa - reijosfood.comCroquettes at Cafe de Bolsa - reijosfood.com

Four main courses had Sea bass with small dried tomatoes served with lemon and thyme sauce and Beef tenderloin, potato and vegetable cake, mushrooms and foie gras sauce.

Fish was over cooked and portion included too much sauce. Beef was dry, almost well-done although asked medium. Side dishes were not so palatable as name of the portion let you imagine.

Sea bass at Cafe de Bolsa - reijosfood.comBeef tenderloin at Cafe de Bolsa - reijosfood.com

El Cafe de Bolsa tries to serve also customers who do not stay at the hotel, it even has own web site. However, it is difficult to develop kitchen for other purposes than breakfast and business usage, if you do not have enough customers providing feedback. Modern interior, delicious breakfast and hotel itself raises overall grade.

REVIEW: FOOD 2/5 – SERVICE 3/5 – OVERALL GRADE 3+/5

http://www.cafedebolsa.com/en





Restaurant review: Toscanini

25 05 2014

Campari Soda at Toscanini - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Toscanini has received its relaxed atmosphere from Tuscany, Italy. Menu is based on essential elements of Italian kitchen, such as olive oil, herbs, tomatoes and Tuscan cheeses and cold cuts. In addition, bread is baked daily by restaurants own baker, or is it?

Location is perfect, almost opposite of Svenska Teatern and Stockmann. Famous BW- restaurants, Gaijin and Boulevard Social are neighbors. Being part of Klaus K hotel means that many of the dining customers also enjoy luxorious hotel premises. Design hotel with white decoration in the lobby. Klaus K and it’s restaurants were recently acquired by Kämp Group which might have been the reason for lame service.

Toscanini - reijosfood.com

Because of excellent weather we had late lunch at the terrace. No one wants to eat in as you can see from the picture above.

Started lunch with Campari Sodas which is always appropriate way to lead to the right mood. Bread basket came right away after ordering; foccaccia was not as fresh as it should have been, but tapenade was delicious.

Bread basket at Toscanini - reijosfood.com

Lunch started with Antipasto variety for two including two type of salami’s, parmesan cheese, small olives, artichokes, grilled sweet peppers and mushrooms.

If restaurant is Italian, it can not flop in serving traditional Italian starters. Nor did Toscanini. Everything on the plate was perfect, fresh and you could imagine to be in Tuscany.

Antipasto at Toscanini - reijosfood.com

For main courses we had Sautéed fillet of cod with seafood flavoured Nerone rice and Braised lamb neck with fried lemon polenta and Marsala sauce.

Unfortunately these portions brought us back to Helsinki and Bulevardi. Cod was way too much over-salted but shrimps and octopus pieces in rice compensated a little bit. Lamb was tender but dry and it seemed that salt had been completely forgotten. Wonder if polenta had been prepared at the restaurant kitchen, because it tasted and felt like industrialized product?

Cold at Toscanini - reijosfood.comLamb neck at Toscanini - reijosfood.com

Service was this time the weakest link. We have been at Toscanini several times before, but now there were too many failures.

We had to order mineral water twice, had to remind waiter to bring wine glasses (soave and chianti of course) we had ordered and never got menu back again in order to be able choose desserts. Therefore just ordered coffees and chardonnay grappa. As I wrote earlier company has new owner, which may have impacted to the service, if employees are worried about restaurant’s future.

Toscanini used to participate in Taste of Helsinki, but not this year. Will miss tiramisu they have served there.

Grappa at Toscanini - reijosfood.com

It is always great to eat outdoors, at nice terrace, therefore overall grade is higher.

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





Review: Spaghetti Opera – Show & Dinner

18 05 2014

Spaghetti Opera - reijosfood.com

Humorous Spaghetti Opera is three-course meal and show package which is presented at Helsinki Music Centre (Musiikkitalo). Spaghetti Opera twists and turns of the winding up of Mozart’s opera buffet-style. At that time, the opera was a popular entertainment, listened with picnic baskets or sitting at the dinner tables.

The music in show was gathered from known and most popular opera songs like Mozart and Vivaldi, and they are song in the original Italian, as well as a fun, musical re-Finnish translations. Presentation costumes and expression takes out the most of the opera world’s delicious clichés.

Simple buffet included following dishes:

Prawns fried in garlic butter on the rocket-melon salad, lemon aioli

Roasted red peppers, asparagus salad, pecorino cheese

Air-dried pork neck ravioli salad

Ciabatta and foccacia, tapenade
• • • • •
Chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella, tomato and white wine sauce

Sliced ​​potatoes seasoned with sage

Roasted spring onions and carrots
• • • • •
Tiramisu and coffee / tea

Food itself was quite OK. Salads were fresh and olive tapenade excellent. Chicken was a little bit dry, but it is difficult to prepare it for buffet because it might stay too long in the heater. Tiramisu was sweet and moist like it should be. We also got lactose-free cake instead of tiramisu which demonstrated flexibility of kitchen.

There were some differences on the serving table compared to menu. Could not find lemon aioli, think is should have been in separate bowl. Only ciabatta, at least we did see any foccaccia. Chicken breast was not stuffed with mozzarella, some cheese might have been on the top of chicken.

Starters at Musiikkitalo - reijosfood.comStarters at Musiikkitalo - reijosfood.comMain course at Musiikkitalo - reijosfood.comDessert at Musiikkitalo - reijosfood.comTiramisu at Musiikkitalo - reijosfood.com

Show was brilliant! Story was about dandy and two sisters in triangle drama. Snobbish dandy role was played credibly and with talent. He tried to dupe two sisters but they set up trap and dandy was beaten. Actors or singers were from music theatre Kapsäkki which is coalition of actors and singers.

Opera at Musiikkitalo - reijosfood.comOpera at Musiikkitalo - reijosfood.comSpaghettiooppera - reijosfood.comOpera at Musiikkitalo - reijosfood.comimage

Wine list was so short that we could not find white (2) or red (2) wine to accompany food. Therefore only option was to order cava which suited for dinner enough well. Unfortunately restaurant did not know how cava should be served because we had to ask for cooler. Other diners drinking cava just settled for warming up their cava bottle on the table. And the “cooler” which we got, was actually red wine pitcher. There was some ice at the bottom of “cooler” but cava bottle did not even touch ice cubes.

Campo Viejo cava - reijosfood.com

There are couple of theatre restaurants serving dinner during show but frivolous opera is refreshing way to replace theatrical presentation.

When serving improves this may be hit in the future. Vodka Martini for aperitif was served in wine class, already told about the cooler, …. But part of clumsiness was compensated by not taking charge of aperitifs. Therefore overall grade is 4 and show earns anyway 4,5.

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

http://www.musiikkitalo.fi/en





Restaurant review: La Reserva 12 – Malaga, Spain

16 05 2014

Cava at La reserva 12 - reijosfood.com

La Reserva 12, located in the center of Malaga, next to the Larios Street, Constitution Square, the Picasso Museum and the Thyssen Museum, is qenuine Spanish restaurant.

Restaurant has terrace, which seemed to be always reserved during lunch and dinner times, stylish tapas bar and dining rooms at the 2nd floor. You can see after stepping in that you have entered into fish restaurant. That might be the reason why locals enjoyed the place. We did not see any tourists in this restaurant during our dinner neither at the terrace when we passed it by several times during our stay in Malaga.

La reserva 12 - reijosfood.com

First of all you must order cava, if you dine at Spanish restaurant. Actually we tried to order Gramona III Lustros, but it was finished. That dropped overall grade right away. Instead we had Gramona Imperial which was anyway good choice. You can buy that also from Alko stores in Finland, but it costs more than in this stylish restaurant (VAT….). Cava is made from Xarel.lo, Macabeo and Chardonnay grapes; Chardonnay makes the cava taste balanced and therefore extremely enjoyable.

For starters we ordered Spanish Potato Salad with Prawns – Ensaladilla Rusa con Langostinos and Baby Squid – Calamaritos.

Potato salad was excellent and it really included prawns. At restaurant reviewed in coming post we had totally different portion. For one person amount of mayonnaise would have been too much but as we shared starters, no problem with that.

Baby squids were hot, fresh, crisp and tasty; just as they should be. Some lemon drops on top of calmaritos and plate was quickly emptied. Excellent kick-off for the dinner.

Potato salad at La reseva 12 - reijosfood.comSole at La reserva 12 - reijosfood.com

For main course ordered two Grilled Sole – Lenguado a la Plancha portions which is always easier for the kitchen.

Fish was also delicious, perfectly fried and no sauce at all to ruin it. Side dishes were simple but as sole is also quite simple, and also easiest fish to get rid of fish bones, they paired well. Starters were quite big, so it was easy decision to focus on fish.

Sole at La reserva 21 - reijosfood.com

This time no dessert as it was quite late and starters made their job.

Our hotel (Molina Lario) was only few steps away from La Reserva 12. First we wondered, if restaurant just placed reserved signs on the table in order to bluff, but every day all tables were occupied by diners at lunch and dinner times. Also tapas bar seemed to be crowded, especially in the evenings.

Pictures are taken at times when dinner time has not yet started and after it. Finns usually eat a little bit earlier than rest of the Europe.

Restaurant La reserva 12 - reijosdfood.comTapas bar La reserva 12 - reijosfood.comLa reserva 12 - reijosfood.com

La Reserva 12 is right place if you are looking for genuine Spanish athmosphere and Spanish dishes. You will not see tourists like in almost every other restaurant or tapas bar near pedestrian precinct and old town.

Service was a little bit rigid but polite. I believe restaurant tried their best in the dining rooms also when it comes to interior; and as a matter in fact they managed quite well. Worth to visit, if you are in Malaga.

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

http://www.restaurantelareserva12.com/EN








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