Restaurant review: Origo (Hanko, Finland)

29 07 2014

 

Origo candles

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

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

 

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

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

Tablet at Origo - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Whitefish at Origo - reijosfood.comLamb at Origo - reijosfood

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

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

Dessert St Origo - reijosfood.com

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

Origo dining room - reijosfood.com

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

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

Riesling at Origo - reijosfood.com

We were given table from the corner of the room although restaurant was almost empty. Usually customers are given tables so that by-passers can see them from the entrance door.

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

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

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






Restaurant review: PureBistro – hidden terrace in Torikorttelit blocks

25 07 2014

Pol Roger Champagne at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

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

PureBistro entrance - reijosfood.com

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

PureBistro terrace - reijosfood.com

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

PureBistro and Market Square - reijosfood.com

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

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

Pol Roger Extra Brut - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For desserts we ordered STRAWBERRYMILK” and CHEESEs.

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

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

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

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

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

Grappa at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

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

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

Previous PureBistro reviews can be found by using search.

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





Restaurant review: 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





Taittinger Champagne tasting at Taste of Helsinki

18 06 2014

Taittiger champagnes at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

If you like football and watch FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil, you should drink champagnes from Taittinger because it is official sponsor.

During Taste of Helsinki there was opportunity to participate in Taittinger champagne tasting. You must purchase tickets in advance because tasting events are so popular that they are always sold out. We almost missed opportunity becase had tickets for Friday but due to work obligation could not been able to participate. Luckily Taste of Helsinki founder Barry MacNamara personally helped us to change tickets.

We arrived early because of cold weather. Tasting pavilion was warmest place at picnic area.

Taittinger tasting at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Six different champagnes were already poured into the glasses before event opening.

Champagne glasses at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Tasting started from right to the left. Luckily we had our own bottle of San Pellegrino with us, because there was no water available. And without “cleaning” mouth between sipping different wines it makes it quite difficult task to recognize characters.

Taittinger Brut Reserve

Basic Taittinger, should be similar since 1980. 40% Chardonnay, 30 % Pinot Noir, 30 % Pinot Meunier. Amount of Chardonnay makes this wine balanced and enjoyable. Golden yellow in color. Taste is crisp and harmonious.

Taittinger Brut Millesime 2006

Strong and with lots of acidity and minerals. 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir. Color is golden yellow. Taste is balanced but a little bit contradictory. This wine is suitable even with meats, said sommelier. Maybe have to try…..

Taittinger Prestige rose

Champagnes are classified as white wines but this wine is rarity because producer adds 15% red wine (Pinot Noir grapes). 30% Chardonnay. Vibrant pink color. Taste is fruity and fresh.

Taittinger Nocturne rose

Champagne for celebrants and after dinner. Idea for bottle design comes disco balls. 17,5 g/l dosage of sugar makes this wine sec, not brut. 30% Chadonnay, 70% Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This wine is actually really enjoyable, can recommend.

Taittinger les Folies de la  Marquetterie

Classic wine, 45% Chardonnay, 55% Pinot Noir. This wine was not our favourite; would say price/quality ratio is suffering.

Taittinger Comptes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2004

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Nobel blanc de blancs champagne, 100% Chardonnay. Unfortunately this was already too warm because it was tasted last. However, wine was introduced with enthusiasm.

Taittinger champagnes are elegant and suit for any occasion. It would have been nice to be able to taste enough cold drinks but as they were poured beforehand, of course they were a little bit too warm. But as the weather was so cold, it did not bother too much. And champagne tastes always as good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gg2xZheafK0





Champagne glasses – does the shape matter?

7 06 2014

Champagne glasses - reijosfood.com

Usually we use traditional champagne flute for bubbling drinks but wanted to compare it with different types of champagne glasses. Results can be found below.

Iittala champagne glass (on the left-hand side)

The problem with Iittala champagne “flute” was that it filled mouth with bubbles. Iittala has same design for Essence glass series and although shape of the glasses look impressive, maybe the wine itself has been forgotten from the beginning.

Iittala champagne coupe (on the right-hand side)

The broad surface area allows champagne to lose its carbonation more quickly, making it less suitable for the current style of very dry champagnes, compared to the sweeter champagnes. So, you have to be quick drinker or pour only 8cl at a time.

Sparkling wines scent was not so pleasant but amount od bubbles in the glass was awesome. However, they disappeared before getting in to the mouth.

Basic tasting glass (in front of the picture)

As sparkling wines can be classified as a white wines, they can be served in white wine glasses too. “Tulip” or “belly” shape in which the rim of the glass is narrower than the midpoint, permits the drinker to get more of the aroma than a from traditional flute, while still not having enough surface area to cause the champagne to quickly lose carbonation.

For this sparkling wine it did not work out. As the bouquet was so delicate, it did not improve in this glass neither taste felt stronger.

Traditional champagne flute – the winner!

The stem allows to hold the glass without affecting the temperature of the drink. The bowl is designed to retain champagne’s signature carbonation, by reducing the surface area at the opening of the bowl. Both THE NOSE and THE TASTE were in balance and created best image of the wine.

Tasted sparkling wine was Bernard-Massard Cuvée de l’Ecusson Brut from Luxembourg. Review can be found from previous post.

Bernard-Massard sparkling wine - reijosfood.com

The traditional champagne flute and flat coupe glass are fine for young wines – but for complex older champagnes, only a wide glass that curves back in towards the top and is filled only a little way will present the bubbles correctly. Unfortunately we do not have this glass in collection, but maybe have in the future.

Champagne glasses - reijosfood.com





Wine review: Bernard-Massard Cuvée de l’Ecusson Brut – sparkling pearl from Luxembourg

5 06 2014

Bernard-Massard - reijosfood.com

A family managed company, Bernard-Massard is the main producer of traditional method sparkling wines of Luxembourg

After more than 92 years of existence, company remains true to the values of quality and entrepreneurship of the founder Jean Bernard-Massard. As of today, Bernard-Massard is Luxembourg’s first privately owned wine producer with about 4 million bottles leaving yearly our cellars.

Beside a strong presence in Belgium, Cuvees are well represented in countries like Finland. It is nice to see that Finland is important market for Bernard-Massard. Wonder if it is available in the biggest markets like Germany and of course France?

Tasted Bernard-Massard Cuvée de l’Ecusson Brut is a blend of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Riesling grapes. Quite a mix, but not in bad sense. The finest of Bernard-Massard’s Cuvées since 1971, the Cuvée de l’Ecusson range epitomises the expertise of the company which affords this Cuvée its place amongst the most interesting European sparkling wines.

THE LOOK

Light yellow, almost translucent. Small bubbles which rise from the bottom of glass in continuous stream.

THE NOSE

The scent is delicate, some citrus and pear but need to sniff carefully. As we tasted wine is different glasses, also bouquet varied.

THE TASTE

Although wine is brut, amount of sugar is more than usually in dry wines and that can be noticed in taste. Could found some fruits but was also as delicate as was scent. Tasted wine in different glasses and there was clear differences to be found.

Champagne glasses - reijosfood.com

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 12,00 %
Extract : 31 g/l
Acidity: 6,6 g/l
Sugar: 13 g/l
Energy : 80 kcal / 100 ml (330 kJ / 100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

I am not sure, if 13 g/l sugar categorizes Bernard-Massard Cuvée de l’Ecusson Brut as brut wine. However, this is one of the easiest sparkling wines to start tasting, (if you do not have found world of bubbling drinks yet). Exellent aperitif and pairs well with different kind of foods, even with desserts due to sugar.

As we tasted this wine with different champagne glasses, review of those glasses will follow.

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

http://www.bernard-massard.lu/en/

 





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/

 





Wine review: Wolfberger Riesling-Pinot Gris 2012 – dry or semi-dry?

24 05 2014

Wolfberger - reijosfood.com

Semi-dry or semi-sweet wine? If the amount of sugar is 8 g/l what kind of scale there is on the label? Maybe someone knows better?

Wolfberger is cooperative in Alsace established 1902. It is located in Colmar, Eguisheim south-west of the city. Wolfberger annually produces about 13 million bottles of wine. The size of wineyard is about 1 200 hectares.

Wolfberger Riesling-Pinot Gris 2012 has been blended with Riesling (60%) and Pinot Gris (40%) grapes. Wine got certificate of honor in Series 08: the white wines, the price of over 11 in “Wines of the Year 2014″ competition. This is maybe the most known Finnish competition for wines. http://www.vuodenviinit.fi/en/

THE LOOK

Light yellow with strong shade of green

THE NOSE

More Pinot Gris than Riesling although it should be opposite; slightly flowery bouquet, similar to citrus and ripe green apples

THE TASTE

Quite dry, lightly tart, ripe citrus, peach, pale floral and light minerals

Wolfberger - reijosfood.com

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 12,50 %
Extract: 27 g/l
Acidity: 7,5 g/l
Sugar: 8 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal / 100 ml (340 kJ / 100 ml)
Closure: metal screw cap

Wine paired with Italian food nicely. We had bruschetta with fresh tomato slices and chicken pasta with cream-honey-spices sauce and blue cheese. Also suits well with fish and shellfish.

Bruschetta - reijosfood.comPasta - reijosfood.com

Misleading information on the label may make you purchase more dry wine you planned. Therefore points drop a little bit lower than wine would otherwise earn.

OVERALL GRADE 3+/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++/+++

http://www.wolfberger.com/

 





Wine review: Weingut Liebfrauenstift 2012 Trocken Riesling

12 04 2014

Weingut Liefrauenstift - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

THE LOOK

Typical riesling color, light yellow straw.

Riesling - reijosfood.com

THE NOSE

Fruity apple and peach and fresh citrus aromas

THE TASTE

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

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

Riesling - reijosfood.com

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

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

 





Restaurant review: Bronda – 4th BW restaurant in Helsinki

9 04 2014

Beef tartar at Bronda - reijosfood.com

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

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

Bronda name comes from the building restaurant is located.

Bronda - reijosfood.com

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

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

Tasting menu at Bronda - reijosfood.com

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

Sashimi and prawns at Bronda - reijosfood.com

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

Beef tartar at Bronda - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

Wiener Schnitzel at Bronda - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read also this http://nyt.fi/a1305818948042





Veuve Clicquot Champagne bar at Stockmann, Helsinki

6 04 2014

Champagne bar at Stockmann - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Veuve Clicquot bottle and glass

Veuve Clicquot champagne - reijosfood.com

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

Veuve Clicquot glass at F8 - reijosfood.com

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

Snacks at Champagne bar - reijosfood.com

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

 





Restaurant review: Presto – A mangiare!

29 03 2014

Aperol Spritz at Presto - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

http://www.ravintolapresto.fi/

https://www.facebook.com/prestohelsinki





Summer drink Aperol Spritz arrived in Helsinki

24 03 2014

Aperol Spritz - reijosfood.com

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

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

Add ice to fill red wine  glass or tumbler

Add 3 parts of Prosecco

Add 2 parts of Aperol

Add 1 part of Soda

Mix with a long spoon

Serve immediately

Enjoy!

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

Aperol Spritz at Viini Expo 2014 - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

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

Facts and figures:

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

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





Wine Expo 2014 in Helsinki – Champagne tasting hour

22 03 2014

Champagne tasting - reijosfood.com

Wine Expo (Viini Expo) is arranged every two years in Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Centre. When noticed there would be opportunity for champagne tasting on Friday, signed up right away.

Tasting event was guided by Andreas Larsson, Best Sommelier of the World 2007 and Finnish Essi Avellan, MW. Essi Avellan specializes in champagnes. Her appreciation reflects in the fact that she very recently appeared in Christie‘s world encyclopedia of champagne & sparkling wine book. To do the revision of the third edition, writer Tom Stevenson chose Essi Avellan, the second person from the Nordic countries to gain the coveted Master of Wine qualification. http://www.essiavellan.com/.

Essi Avellan - reijosfood.com

Tasted champagnes and short notes:

Champagnes - reijosfood.com

Ayala Brut Nature (NV)

Really dry, no sugar (zero dosage), 50% Pinot Noir grape – because of dryness and amount of PN grape, bouquet and palate not in balance, even disturbing (would not buy)

Overall grade: 2,5/5

Henriot Blanc De Blancs (NV)

Brut, less than 10g/l dosage, 100% Chardonnay grape – balanced aroma and taste, blanc de blancs is always structured (would buy, affordable price compared to what you get)

Overall grade: 4/5

Henriot - reijosfood.com

G.H.Mumm Bland De Blancs – Mumm de Cremant (V)

Brut, Grand Cru Prestige Cuvee, 100% Chardonnay grape – luxorious style, bouquet and flavor in equilibrium, blanc de blancs continues the triumph (must buy)

Overall grade: 4,5/5

Mumm Blanc de blancs - reijosfood.com

Pol Roger 2002 (V)

Extra Cuvee de Reserve, Blanc De Blancs (100% Chardonnay grape) – precious, balanced bouquet and palate as blanc de blancs typically have (would buy)

Overall grade: 4/5

Pol Roger 2002 - reijosfood.com

Henriot Millesime 2005 (V)

Blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape, dosage less than 10g/l – elegant on the nose and on the palate, PN brings out some side bouquet but does not disturb in taste (would consider a little bit because of the price tag)

Overall grade 4-/5

Henriot Millesime 2005 - reijosfood.com

Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rose

Color of the bottle label reflects the 100% Pinot Noir grape used, method used takes best out of this grape – best rose tasted so far, elegant color, fresh bouquet, fruity taste (must buy – our opinion: best of all tasted champagnes)

Overall grade: 5-/5

Laurent-Perrier rose - reijosfood.com

All champagnes were tasted in an hour, which was a little bit short time to really dig in. Serving temperatures were perfect because each champagne was poured one by one in glasses. Both presenters were professionals, no doubt about that.

Tasting room was half empty or half full (like wine glass can be). Maybe the time 6PM on Friday was not the best one, but at least we enjoyed tasting champagnes and listening interesting facts and backgrounds of the wines.

Champagne glasses - reijosfood.comChampagne at Viini Expo - reijosfood.com





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








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