Restaurant review: Salutorget – Scandinavian bistro

19 08 2014

 

Riesling at Salutorget - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salutorget terrace - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Salutorget - reijosfood.comSalutorget bar - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

Hotel Manta - reijosfood.com

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

http://www.salutorget.fi/en





Restaurant review: Grotesk – across from Ragu

10 08 2014

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

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

Ragu and Grotesk - reijosfood,com

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

Menu at Grotesk - reijosfood.com

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

Dry and balanced taste as Pol Roger Brut usually has.

Pol Roger Champagne - reijosfood.com

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

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

Scallops at Grotesk - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riesling at Grotesk - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

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

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

 





Restaurant review: Ragu – Italian-Scandinavian menu

7 08 2014

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

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

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

Aperol Spritz at Ragu - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

Bread ad Ragu - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

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

Second course was Toast Skagen with crab soup.

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

Toast Skagen at Ragu - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Riesling at Ragu - reijosfood.com

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

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

Ragu dining room - reijosfood.com

Ragu - reijosfood.com

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

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

Worth to visit!

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





Restaurant and cruise review: Smuggler’s Dinner Cruise

3 08 2014

M/S Natalie - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buffet plate - reijosfood.comBuffet plate - reijosfood.com

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

Arctic char at Natalie - reijosfood.com

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

Nice piece of cake was perfect ending for the dinner.

Rasberry cake at Natalie - reijosfood.com

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

Yalumba riesling - reijosfood.com

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

J.L.Runeberg - reijosfood.com

Cruise at Natalie - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

Royal Line – Helsinki Sightseeing – Over 65 years of experience





Restaurant review: Faro – Channelside Bar & Restaurant

2 08 2014

Restaurant Faro - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Faro was re-opened in the spring after renovation by new owners. The interior has been designed by the most known Finnish interior designer Vertti Kivi. Faro locates in Ruoholahti by channel which is buzzing with boats on warm summer days.

Terrace around restaurant building is large providing opportunity for quick drinks or dining. Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and in the afternoon short Bistro menu is available. On Sundays brunch is also served.

For starters we ordered from Bistro menu Cucumber soup with mint and Cold-smoked salmon and crab.

On hot summer day cold cucumber soup was bull’s eye. Frozen soup knobs and cold soup which was poured on top of other ingredients from carafe by the waitress was really delicious. Few pieces of cauliflower paired well with the soup. Maybe the best cold soup ever eaten!

Salmon and crab portion was also scrumptious. Nicely laid out on the edge of the dish.

Cucumber soup at Faro - reijosfood.comSmoked Salmon at Faro - reijosfood.com

Main courses were Whole grilled fish, pickling cucumber and carrot beurre blanc and Fish’n’chips and tartar sauce.

We got last striped bass, next diners would have been served pike-perch. Fish was really delicious and perfectly grilled, not over-cooked at all. For most of the main courses you have to choose and pay extra for side dishes, for striped bass we chose new potatoes with dill-butter. If something could be asked to change, would be be bigger plate which would ease eating. Now you have to eat vegetabels first in order to be able to eat fish.

You seldom get Fish & Chips at a restaurant, therefore had to try them. Breading was crisp as it should be and fish soft as it also should be. With sauce tasty finger food supplemented with country potatoes.

Fish of the Day at Faro - reijosfood.comFish and chips at Faro - reijosfood.com

For wine we chose Dopff & Irion Riesling from Alsace, France. Wine was dry, fruity and included some green apple and citrus. Typical young riesling and tasty one.

Riesling at Faro - reijosfood.com

Portions we chose were excellent. It is difficult to compare Fish&Chips to other main courses but so what, open kitchen has professional chef’s. Service was polite and we were congratulated for the choises we made.

In the summer time dining at the terrace is enjoyable experience, either in the sun or under the sunshade. You can come with boat, bicycle or even with subway, because the stop is near.

Faro terrace - reijosfood.com Faro terrace - reijosfood.com

Have to try Sunday brunch someday because it seemed to be well organized. Noticed that when dropped by for glasses of wine a month earlier.

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

Faro Channelside Bar & Restaurant | Ravintola Ruoholahti





Restaurant review: HSF – Yacht Club restaurant in Hanko

31 07 2014

HSF in Hanko - reijosfood.com

Since 1938, HSF has been the venue for many to spend a happy summer`s day in Hanko, enjoying dinners and refreshing drinks. Restaurant HSF combines modern gastronomy and restaurant culture with Nordic traditions and the history of Finnish sailing. The roof, pier and sun deck terraces of HSF are great places to enjoy food, cocktails, wines and of course champagnes.

If you dine at the pier (terrace downstairs) as we did, you can enjoy of table service. Otherwise you need to order drinks from the bar between sun deck and pier.

HSF in Hanko - reijosfood.com

Menu is quite short, same at the terrace and at dining room inside consisting of 4 starters, 7 main courses and 4 desserts.

For starters we had HSF Tapas – 4 tastes of summer and Toast Skagen with archipelago bread.

Tapas included from right to the left prawn cake, mustard herring, potato salad and beef carpaccio. Excellent ensemble, on hot summer day herring tasted great and carpaccio was really tender. Toast Skagen was also delicious, the amount of roe was princely. Both portions included tasty avocado dressing.

Tapas at HSF - reijosfood.comToast Skagen at HSF - reijosfood.com

For main courses ordered Salad with roasted chicken and avocado dressing and HSF burger Full steak, gouda cheese, tomato slice, onion and BBQ mayonnaise with French fries.

Salad included pineapple, melon and grapefruit which made it juicy. Chicken was a little bit over roasted but otherwise ok. Burger bread was not white which was welcomed option. Steak was enough thick and medium and therefore succulent.

Salad at HSF - reijosfood.comBurger at HSF - reijosfood.com

And for desserts Ice-cream portion of course and Coconut brulee with pineapple compote.

For ice-cream chose licorice and mint ice-creams, both enjoyable. Licorice is Finnish speciality which you must try if it is available. Coconut brulee was also delicious but taste of coconut could have been stronger. Some berries made the portion more colorful.

Ice cream at HSF - reijosfood.comCreme Brulee at HSF - reijosfood.com

Wine chosen was Villa Huesgen by the glass which is modern and fresh german riesling. Paired extremely well with starters and with chicken salad but had glass of red wine (real glass not bottle) with HSF burger. Interesting name for wine, “by the glass”!

Riesling at HSF - reijosfood.com

You could also dine at round restaurant building but if weather allows, choose pier. We ate between lunch and dinner time and due to timiing there were some empty tables. During rush hours all tables are occupied and especially during weekends. Summer season starts from Mid Summer and ends about in mid August.

HSF - reijosfood.comHSF dining room - reijosfood.com

About 27C degrees at 6PM in Finland is marvelous and therefore each opportunity to eat outside raises overall grade. Food was great and service polite and customer-sensitive. If you decide to eat inside, ask for window tables opening to harbour.

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





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. Air conditioning on really warm evening was a plus because we decided to dine inside, not at the terrace.

Origo - reijosfood.com

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

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

 








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