Restaurant review: Brasserie Kämp

3 07 2016

Brasserie Kämp

Hotel Kämp is a historical hotel in Helsinki. The hotel was originally built in 1887 by Carl Kämp. The building was demolished and the facade was rebuilt in 1965. 

Dining at Hotel Kämp gives a possibility on a culinary journey from East to West. Asian food is offered at restaurant YUME. Brasserie Kämp offers a wide range of European brasserie style food.

A la carte list is short which makes ordering easy, if you find suitable dish. One option is to order gourmet “fast food” like Kämp burger or club sandwich which are luxorious. Especially french fries are maybe the best in the city.

Wanted to challenge kitchen and decided to order for starters Salad a la Kämp Mixed salad, cucumber, plum tomatoes with marinated artichokes and button mushrooms

Crispy, fresh vegetables made for a very delicious salad.  The parmesan dressing was substituded by a vinagrette, and marinated artichoke with button mushrooms were the choice to make the perfect all vegan option.  The other options are shrimps or chicken.

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and Arctic Ocean Shrimps Hand peeled shrimps, fennel and apple salad, cold cucumber juice.

Shrimps were fresh and just hand peeled, of course. Cucumber juice was delicous and made the dish sort of soup like of starter.

Shrimps at Kämp

For main courses ordered Roasted salmon Creamed seasonal mushrooms seasoned with chervil and tarragon, potato puree.

Salmon was roasted well, meaning that it was not over cooked which can happen easily. Mixture of mushrooms and potato puree paired extremely well with the fish.

Salmon at Kämp

 

and from All day Dining list Black rice and cauliflower Black rice from Piemonte, roasted cauliflower, hazelnut vinaigrette.

From the “All Day Dinning” part of the menu, this is the perfect vegan option.  The original dish is served with goat cheese.  The dish is creamy, but the hazelnut vinagrette and roasted cauliflower keep it fresh and crispy.

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Recommend to dine at the terrace of Kämp Brasserie, which is perfect location to observe passers-by on Esplanadi promenade or pedestrian street. Most of the dishes can be ordered as starters or main courses which helps in keeping the menu short.

Service was unique with French touch. There is a difference between Kämp Brasserie and recently opened trendy bistro type of restaurants when it comes to service. But it is refreshing that there still are some traditions honored.

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

http://brasseriekamp.fi/en/

 

 





Restaurant review: Eatos – Mexican diner

15 05 2016

Eatos Mexican diner is inspired by the classic street food style of Mexico City and elevated it to a higher level to give its customers the best dining experience along with the authentic taste.

Menu includes variety of tacos served up on original soft corn tortillas, as well as filling burritos, quesadillas and tostadas. Restaurant serves dinner and lunch, which consists of various Mexican specials with an array of soups and salads that are already popular among its patrons. The Eatos bar is a home for new innovations with Habanero Micheladas and indigenous margaritas with tropical flavours. Restaurant also has range of mezcales and tequilas on drinks list, but Mexican beers, except Sol, had run out.

For starter ordered of course Totopos con guacamole Avocado dip with corn tortilla chips.

Tasty chips with tomato salsa and guacamole best start the journey to Mexican cuisine. Eatos serves real chips, not nachos, like tex-mex fast-food restaurants. Mark of genuinity.

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For main coursed decided to order tacos.

One with overripe pork, Carnitas. Three corn tortillas, lot’s of grilled pulled pork meat, onion, sour cream and tomato salsa. Amount of pork was sufficient, but as meat itself was quite flavorless, some chillis or additional chilli salsa would have completed the gusto.

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Other taco was Berenjena Stewed aubergine, bell peppers, onion and tomatoes with ginger and tamarind.

It is easy for a Mexican restaurant to serve vegan or vegetarian meals as tacos can be filled with just about anything.  Egg plant seems to be a favorite vegetable for many restaurants to substitute meat. The spices and combination of vegetables in this tacos make for a very tasty meal.  Salsa was not needed, but it is always a nice addition if you like extra spice.  Black refried beans were ordered as a side dish, and they make a great addition if you want real mexican taste.

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Restaurant was this time quieter than time, but waiter remembered our last visit, extra plus for service. Location is off the beaten track in recently built building behind railway station close to Sanoma Building. That my be the reason also for more quiet evening.

There is a boom of Mexican restaurants in Helsinki. Some chains have opened fast food places with try to copy this special latin cuisine, but recommend to choose qenuine ones.

 

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

http://eatos.fi/en/





Restaurant review: Sunn

5 05 2016

Restaurant Sunn

Restaurant Sunn is located at the edge of the Senate Square, directly opposite to the Helsinki Cathedral. The name of old building is also called Sunn, which has inspired the naming of restaurant. The view from the second floor, where restaurant is, is one of the best in Helsinki.

Sunn is open every day of the week serving brunch on Weekends, lunch and dinner. This gives the traveler a chance to see all the festive seasons with the locals including Christmas, May Day and Midsummer.

Actual idea was to try dishes from dinner a la carte menu, as there was also some interesting vegan options. But instead of a la carte, restaurant served May Day Eve buffet “Let’s party”. Should have guessed that because of the special day.

Starter buffet included many goodies, but as vegan choises were limited, restaurant served special starter edition to the table. Duck breast, curry chicken, salads and cheeses had main roles.

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The vegan starters were: Cabbage and broccoli, beet root and spinach, asparagus, cherry tomatoes and strawberries, and tofu and potatoes.  The tastier was the one with strawberries. This mixture worked well together.  The tofu and potatoes was missing something; some salt would’ve added enough flavor to this dish.

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Main courses, 3 options, were served to the table. Chose Whitefish ”Monte” with asparagus, cauliflower and spring onion sauce and pimped version of Asparagus, fried mushrooms and truffle-boletus foam.

As it is asparagus time, all main courses included that vegetable.

“Monte” might mean hill or mountain as dish was placed in layers on the plate, or not? However, fish was excellent, cooked as it should. Sauce tasted delicious and paired nicely with whitefish.

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Tofu can be paired with about anything, but in this case the combination was a bit bland.

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Dinner included also dessert buffet which included different type of cakes. As it did not offer so many vegan choises, also got one portion to the table.

Remember to ask window table and you can enjoy of one of the best views in Helsinki. Part of the windows open to narrow side street, so try to get table by window which opens to the Senate Square.

Senate Square

Buffet was average although the name was fancy, “Let’s party”. If you compare it to many other buffet’s available during May Day time, you could eat similarly everywhere.

Would be interested in to try a la carte, which was the original intention and still is in the plans.

Service was good and especially serving one starter and dessert to the table made it even better.

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

The Restaurant

 

 





Restaurant review: Taqueria El Rey

24 04 2016

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El Rey is small Mexican taqueria in Southern Helsinki. Restaurant was opened about a year ago and today is so popular that table reservation is required.

Menu is short consisting of starters, tacos, 1 enchilada and dessert. In Mexican restaurant one can of course enjoy tequila and even mezcal. Wines are not not main thing in Mexican cuisine, only house red and white available.

If you have not tasted Mexican food before, it might make sense to order tasting menu La Reyna, which includes 6 different goodies from the menu.

For starters had:

Guacamole fresh avocados, tomato, onion, chilli & coriander. Served in a traditional molcajete with home made tortilla
A large serving enough for sharing.  The taste was fresh, and the consistency, thick with some pieces of avocado in it.  Perfect as a topping for the tortilla chips, and add some salsa for an even better taste.
Chips are made in the restaurant, so you do not have to eat those supermarket nachos which are served in tex-mex restaurants
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Sopesitos de Chorizo 3 small market corn sopes, topped with smashed beans, chorizo, lettuce, crème fraîche and queso fresco
Excellent combination, spicy and greasy taste of chorizo crowned the dish. With salsas one of the best Mexican restaurants starters in Helsinki.
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For main courses had:

Gringa de Pastor 3 big flour tortilla tacos made of spit-grilled pork meat marinated in a combination of dried chillies & grilled cheese. Served with pineapple salsa

Portion was big but amount of pork was not sufficient. It was difficult to find pieces of pork but the quntity of pine apple salsa was overwhelming.
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Enchiladas verdes 3 corn tortilla enchiladas in green chilli sauce filled with beans served with red cabbage

Not meant to be a vegan dish, but they were nice and tried to give a good version of the dish.  Beans replaced the chicken, but some lettuce and tomatoes could have been added.  Too much of the tomatillo slasa made the tortillas a bit soggy.  The red cabbage was a strange topping for a Mexican dish.
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Beer suits often better with Mexican food but wine lover always has to try wine list. although it was the shortest ever seen.  Red house wine was from Argentinean Bodega Norton.
Wine was red in color, sweet and spacious aromas reminding of black pepper. Fruity on the palate, with sweet and harmonious tannins. Paired well with dishes eaten.
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Taqueria focus is on authentic tacos. This was also noticed by local newspaper Nyt, as it gave El Rey best points for Cochinita Pibil taco of reviewed Helsinki taco restaurants.
Starters were perfect. Portions are big and prices affordable, bottle of wine was only 29 euros. Some improvement for main courses and it would be easy to give 4 points for food.
Service was professional but maybe little bit timid. However, waiters had time to explain what dishes consist although place was full of hungry customers.
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REVIEW: FOOD 3,5/5 – SERVICE 4/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4-/5




Restaurant review: The Cock

2 04 2016

The Cock is an Eatery, Rotisserie and Bar. Restaurant is open all day, serving food and drinks from breakfast until late night. Restaurant consists of two dining areas , one at street level and one in the basement, which is reserved for bigger groups and private parties.

Breakfast menu is served from Monday to Friday 7.30-10.00. Lunch buffet is served up- & downstairs 11.00-14.30 and for dinner kitchen opens daily at 17.00 and orders can be placed until 23.00 every night.

At dinner chose for starters Caesar Kale, quinoa, avocado and parmigiano and Broccoli tempura Avocado and wasabi

Caesar salad usually consists of simple romaine lettuce but this one was lavish when it came to vegetables. Healthy dish without croutons but also vegan if you leave parmigiano away. But then it would not be Caesar salad anymore
The tempura took the strong taste of the broccoli, and together with the avocado made for a very interesting dish.  You can’t really taste the wasabi, but the dish didn’t need it.  A nice addition to the dish, just lightly salted, and crispy enough, were the kale chips.

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Main courses were Rotisserie grilled chicken Frites and house salad and Saigon bowl Rice noodles, lemongrass, sprouts, market greens, peanuts, coriander and thai basil with Choice of Jalo basil tofu or Veef

Chicken portion was simple but tasty. It makes differece how you prepare meat and in this case way of grilling was successful. Fries were also delicious not to dry either soft.
Veef was the one chosen for this main.  Veef  is a combination of chickpeas and grounded grains. The consistency is very meaty, but it takes the taste of the dressing.  The market greens included carrots, zuccini, and spinach.  Overall a nice crispy, fresh dish.

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For wine tried Château de Bel La Capitane 2011. Wine was Full-bodied, tannic with berry and oak notes and also aromatic. Wine is also available from Alko at a price of 20,30€ from sale-to-order selection.

Note the wine glasses, not the typical ones.

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When it comes to tables at street level, do not accept the table by the door. Door is partly open when people wait in line in. Might get cold and someone is standing by the table all the time. Not our table, anyhow.

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The name of the restaurant, The Cock, might be a topic of interesting discussion. From the bill you can find even more confusing messages. The owners of restaurant might have written it on purpose….or accidentally with small C.

As The Cock is part of Royal Ravintolat (Salutorget, Strinberg, Sasso, Savoy,….), it is a huge change in chain style. More relaxed, more trendy.

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

http://thecock.fi/

 





Restaurant review: Grön

25 03 2016

The idea behind Grön, which was opened in November 2015, was to create tasty, focused, plant-based and  inspiring food that concentrates on high-quality ingredients. All this is prepared in an atmosphere that should make guests feel relaxed, happy and welcome.

 

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Restaurant offers a small selection of à la carte dishes as well as a four course “Grön Menu”. The food is based on seasonal, organic, wild and the Scandinavian produce.

The name Grön (Green) also means that vegan and vegetarian dishes should be in major role. With only about 20 seats, Grön is one of the smallest restaurants in Helsinki. Therefore, with growing popularity, it is wise to reserve table in time.

For starters had vegan ones, Beetroot with beetroot leaves, woodruff flavours and beetroot broth and Broad beans “Nordic hummus”, seeds, sprouts and fermented buckwheat bread.

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The idea of serving beetroot in different formats sounds brilliant but the uppermost taste was raw root. Dish was also quite difficult to eat due to long beetroot slices and big salad leaves after broth was poured on the vegetables. Must be careful not to splash red color on clothes.

Nordic hummus consistency was more like mashed potatoes.  Not very tasty.  What made this dish worth ordering was the buckwheat bread.  The consistency of this bread was very meaty; hard to believe it was bread.

For main courses had Smoked chicken with onion, jerusalem artichokes and a sauce of roasted chicken skins and as vegetarian option Celeriac cooked in grain crust  with grain “porridge” and hazelnut.

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Smoked chicken was cooked properly as it was not dry. Also the taste of sauce was perfect and paired well with vegetables. The amount of potatoes was bounteous and partly concealed the taste of artichokes.

The main course…..Seeing the word “porridge” in quotation marks, made it sound like it would be porridge like, not actual porridge. To make things worse, the consistency was more like baby food.  If you’re vegan, make sure to ask to leave the cheese out.  It is not included in the list of ingredients, but it was mentioned by the waiter that it was what “made the dish”.

Restaurant has separate wine list in a small notebook and you could enjoy vintage wines, but the prices are not so affordable. Decided to order from “standard” list organic Marcosaras’s Chiopperttino, which tasted like a combination of cigar box and sheep stables. Very organic, very original would say.

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Restaurant Grön is trendy place and it’s chef Toni Kostian was chosen as chef of the year at Gastro Fair in Helsinki on 18th March 2016. Gastro arranged competition between cook’s. As restaurant is small, one interesting detail of taking advantage of all facilities, is wine cabinet in toilet.

Service was polite and easy-going. When it comes to food, unique dishes and way to prepare them will keep restaurant busy for many months to come.

 

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

http://www.restaurantgron.com/





Farewell to Wine Expo in Helsinki?

21 03 2016

For several reasons Wine Expo in Helsinki has to be renewed or there has to come decision to stop keeping the fair.

  • Only Spanish bodegas were enough interested in to be exhibitors with country department. Visited Bodegas Penafiel and tasted two nice Crianzas.

 

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  • Almost as many beer exhibitors as wine exhibitors or importers. What beer has to do with wines?

 

  • Entrance fee 23€ and you were forced to take tasting glass with you.

 

However, tasted few wines. From Hewitson always reliable Ned & Henry, Le Lecateur and Miss Harry. One of the best wineries in the world come from Australia.

http://www.hewitson.com.au/

 

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From Sweden wine agent Granqvist offered wines from Scriani, Amarone Della Valpolicella and Valpolicella Ripasso. These wines differed from standard similar wines, especially Amarone. It was not that sweet as Amarones typicall are. Also the strong aroma of stable make this wine extraordinary.

http://www.scriani.it/

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But with same setup prefer to visit wine importers own events and new Champagne tasting in April sounds more interesting than Wine Expo in the future.








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