Wine review: Ned & Henry’s Shiraz 2015

25 09 2016

Established in 1998 Hewitson winery is situated in the heart of the Barossa Valley. Hewitson’s vineyards are spread throughout the renowned wine regions of South Australia, including the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills.

As fan of Hewitson red wines tasted this time Ned & Henry’s Shiraz 2015. Wine comes from Barossa Valley. Grape used is Shiraz 100%.

Like the names many Hewitson wines have. Miss Harry is the favourite also when it comes to taste.

THE LOOK

Color is quite deep red like a crimson

THE NOSE

Forest berries and slight oak bouquet

THE TASTE

Berries warm texture and soft tannins. Fresh acidity on the finish

Ned and Henry’s is meant to be enjoyed young. Had couple of weeks earlier at restaurant Roster same wine but vintage was 2013. Must say that difference between 2015 and 2013 is not huge, but would have given 4 1/2 for 2013.

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As wine is not the strongest it can be enjoyed well as aperitif, if you like red wine before dinner.

Facts:

Alcohol: 14,0% by volume
Extract: 28 g/l
Acidity: 5,4 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml (370 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: metal

 

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

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Restaurant review: Gaijin – re-visit

19 09 2016


“Gaijin” is Japanese word meaning “non Japanese” or “alien”. Restaurant has been extremely popular from the date it was established, which means you must prepare to reserve table enough early. Easiest you get the table at 17.00 ro after 20.00. Before eight, you have 2,5 hours time to dine which is common nowadays in trendy and busy restaurants. There is also possibility to eat in the small bar, but tables are not actually meant for eating due to height.

Decided on third visit again to trust on chef’s skills and ordered tasting menu, MENU GAIJIN and VEGE, which you can also get as vegan version. But before eating tasted aperitives like Gaijin Martini which was really refreshing and tasty drink. Not os strong as martini’s usuallu are, but that was not a problem at all.

Gaijin menu included following dishes:

MUSSEL & YUZU HONEY

green shell mussel, yuzu-honey dressing, seaweed caviar


PORK BUN

pork belly, kimchi mayonnaise, pickled cucumber, soft bread


SASHIMI TASTING

selection of sashimi, roe, wasabi-yuzu dressing, wakami, wasabi mayonnese


SASHIMI PRAWN, FOIE & ROASTED ALMOND “NIGIRI”

Tigerprawn “nigiri”, foie gras, truffle, teriayki rice, almond snow


ROASTED “SAIKYO MISO” SALMON & CAULIFLOWER

‘saikyo’-miso marinated salmon, cauliflower, truffle, dashi emulsion, bonito


BABY BACK PORK RIBS

pork ribs, soy mirin caramel, togarashi


SEARED SCALLOP & X.O

seared scallops, rare chinese X.O. dressing dressing, X.O. mayonese, crispy garlic, seaweed caviar


GAIJIN TONKATSU PARTY

grispy fried pork, salad leafs, Japanese pickles, Gaijin’s kimchi, sesame dressing, chilli paste, brown butter mayonnese


 PUMPKIN & LICORICE

pumpkin & almond cake, licorice ice-cream, pistachio and vanilla creme anglaise, licorice cream, licorice marengue

You could order matching wines, but decided to have red wine, Antonutti, from Merlot grapes. Colorful label on the bottle. Wine itself is quite basic but paired well with all dishes enjoyed.

Most of the wines are quite expensive except few “table wines” like Antonutti. On the other hand asian fusion food does not require vintage wines as the taste of wine disappears under the spices and herbs.

Instead of describing and reviewing all dishes, I summarize dining experience.

All dishes were delicious and savory. The whole menu, when it comes to taste, was better than last time I ate it. More spices were used and if you look at the partly rare ingredients, combining them to different dishes, was briallianty done.

Could have given even litter better grade for FOOD, but using only pork for 3 different meat dishes menu included, lowered the grade. Last time also chicken and lamb was used.

VEGE version was also excellent. Maybe later will post a review about it.

Restaurant Gaijin is cozy and relaxing place to eat as all 4 restaurants which are owned by same chef’s.

Service is great as you could expect although the spaces between tables are narrow. Ingredients of all dishes are opened up every time although remembering all of them must not be easy.

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

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





Restaurant review: Gaijin – re-visit

18 09 2016


“Gaijin” is Japanese word meaning “non Japanese” or “alien”. Restaurant has been extremely popular from the date it was established, which means you must prepare to reserve table enough early. Easiest you get the table at 17.00 ro after 20.00. Before eight, you have 2,5 hours time to dine which is common nowadays in trendy and busy restaurants. There is also possibility to eat in the small bar, but tables are not actually meant for eating due to height.

Decided on third visit again to trust on chef’s skills and ordered tasting menu, MENU GAIJIN and VEGE, which you can also get as vegan version. But before eating tasted aperitives like Gaijin Martini which was really refreshing and tasty drink. Not os strong as martini’s usuallu are, but that was not a problem at all.

Gaijin menu included following dishes:

MUSSEL & YUZU HONEY

green shell mussel, yuzu-honey dressing, seaweed caviar


PORK BUN

pork belly, kimchi mayonnaise, pickled cucumber, soft bread


SASHIMI TASTING

selection of sashimi, roe, wasabi-yuzu dressing, wakami, wasabi mayonnese


SASHIMI PRAWN, FOIE & ROASTED ALMOND “NIGIRI”

Tigerprawn “nigiri”, foie gras, truffle, teriayki rice, almond snow


ROASTED “SAIKYO MISO” SALMON & CAULIFLOWER

‘saikyo’-miso marinated salmon, cauliflower, truffle, dashi emulsion, bonito


BABY BACK PORK RIBS

pork ribs, soy mirin caramel, togarashi


SEARED SCALLOP & X.O

seared scallops, rare chinese X.O. dressing dressing, X.O. mayonese, crispy garlic, seaweed caviar


GAIJIN TONKATSU PARTY

grispy fried pork, salad leafs, Japanese pickles, Gaijin’s kimchi, sesame dressing, chilli paste, brown butter mayonnese


 PUMPKIN & LICORICE

pumpkin & almond cake, licorice ice-cream, pistachio and vanilla creme anglaise, licorice cream, licorice marengue

You could order matching wines, but decided to have red wine, Antonutti, from Merlot grapes. Colorful label on the bottle. Wine itself is quite basic but paired well with all dishes enjoyed.

Most of the wines are quite expensive except few “table wines” like Antonutti. On the other hand asian fusion food does not require vintage wines as the taste of wine disappears under the spices and herbs.

Instead of describing and reviewing all dishes, I summarize dining experience.

All dishes were delicious and savory. The whole menu, when it comes to taste, was better than last time I ate it. More spices were used and if you look at the partly rare ingredients, combining them to different dishes, was briallianty done.

Could have given even litter better grade for FOOD, but using only pork for 3 different meat dishes menu included, lowered the grade. Last time also chicken and lamb was used.

VEGE version was also excellent. Maybe later will post a review about it.

Restaurant Gaijin is cozy and relaxing place to eat as all 4 restaurants which are owned by same chef’s.

Service is great as you could expect although the spaces between tables are narrow. Ingredients of all dishes are opened up every time although remembering all of them must not be easy.

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

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





Restaurant review: Holiday

21 08 2016

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Restaurant Holiday is lively neighbourhood restaurant, bar and summer terrace, located on Katajanokka island. Building is old and siuates just below Cathedral of Uspensk. Spot was established by same group as The Cock and it operates under Royal Ravintolat new concept. This means that founders are responsible for running the business. Holiday’s kitchen serves seasonal menu with seafood, fresh fish from the nearby market and modern veggie dishes. Notice that meat dishes are not available.

Menu and wine list are quite short which makes ordering easy. It is worth to check also cocktail menu as they are also innovative.

From Raw Bar ordered White fish | avocado | cucumber | soya | sesame | ginger | furikake | cilantro.

White fish was under the vegetables, new asian fusion way to prepare spiced lavaret. However, taste of fish disappeared under excotic ingredients but it it always good to see innovative cooking. Close to ceviche type of starter, which seems to be popular in trendy restaurants.

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As other starter ordered from Garden Greens Fried sweet potato | mayo-zu | tomato

Crispy, and perfectly seasoned fries. The tomato sauce was not your regular sauce; it was cooked with garlic, and other spices that gave it a rich flavor.  The mayo was left out for a vegan option.

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For one main course had from Fisherman’s catch Soft shell crabs | Tokyo gold | mayo-zu | sushi rice | furikake.

Whole crabs were well prepared, crispy and tasty. You must like furikake (Japanese seasoning) in order to enjoy the whole dish as it is part of it. And look at the flower!

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Vegan main course ordered was Poke Bowl | tofu | sushi rice | avocado | seaweed | kohlrabi | daikon 

A full of flavor bowl.  The tofu is perfectly fired, and other additions like ginger, not added to the list of ingredients, give this dish even more flavor.

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For wine had Spanish El Gallito from Merlot grapes. Merlot is not so typical grape in Spain and wines are usually quite light as this one too.

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You can watch chef’s working in open kitchen. Small space requires seamless teamwork.

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Vegan food has quite remarkable role in restaurant Holiday and it tasted good. Dishes are imaginative and also well prepared.

When weather is good terrace is one of the most popular in Helsinki. When sun shines it is difficult to find free seat or table. Also dining room is very popular and one interesting detail was that 80% of the customers inside were women. Maybe the lack of meat on the menu is the reason?

When dining inside prepare for noise because DJ is playing music quite loud which makes diners raise more they voices when speaking over the table.

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

http://holiday-bar.fi/

 

 





Restaurant review: Roster Helsinki

13 08 2016
Roster is a Bar & Restaurant near Market Square opposite to statue of Havis Amanda. New concept replaced restaurants Sasso and Fishmarket in order to provide more trendy and casual way of fine dining. Chef Kari Aihinen and Paul Hickman and part of restaurant Savoy team established the restaurant and as it called Roster Helsinki, one can expect similar concept in some other cities.
You can drink aperitives in the bar before heading to tables upstairs or downstairs for dinner. One option is to book one of the three Chef’s Tables next to open kitchen and watch chef’s preparing food.

What makes Roster Helsinki attractive restaurant, if not already otherwise, is the pricing of wines. Wines are priced with fixed margin, which makes quality wines more affordable. Enjoyed Ned & Henry’s Shiraz 2013 from Hewitson. Usually this wine costs close to 100€ in most restaurants, but “only” 46,40€ in Roster. Wine paired well with all dishes, full-bodied with light spices.

For dinner ordered fish and vegan dishes. Was actually going to order Wagyu BBQ, but beef was fineshed.

To start with you get warm bread and with starters green salad without extra charge.

Fish starter was C.O.D Amanda Lemon verbena seasoned cod, capers and clam crème.

Usually spiced “raw” fishes are salmon and whitefish, but cod suits perfectly for same purpose, when it is prepared like C.o.d Amanda.

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Fish main course was Mrs. Pulpo Grilled octopus, Romesco sauce, avocado and chickpeas. Pulpo is difficult to prepare after octopus has been frozen. It becomes soft and loses it’s crispness, which was partly the case in M.r.s Pulpo. However, sauce and add ons were delicious and paired well with octopus, as well as Ned & Henry’s.

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Vegan starter was Grilled Salad Grilled baby gem lettuce, tomato, avocado and jalapeno mayonnaise.

The lettuce was too soft, but the dressing, which was replaced by a vinagrette to make the vegan option, saved this dish.

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Vegan main course was BOND Special Fried cauliflower, coriander and peanuts.

This is the only vegan option in the menu.  A big head of cauliflower covered in too much peanut butter sauce.  Not the most creative vegan dish.

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Before dinner had visited restaurant terrace and enjoyed lunch. You could choose small dishes one by one but chose to taste all of them Bit’s and Bites. You could also call this tapas or antipasti.

Two type of cheeses, grilled sweet pepper, spiced whitefish, foie gras and sausage/olive bowl were excellent. Dish also included roasted almonds and pop corn, but could have survived without those. Suitable separately with beer, but not so matching with Pinot Noir red wine.

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Roster Helsinki is combination of fine dining in casual athmosphere. Dishes are ambitious and their names entertaining.

Overall grade is 4+ because of pricing of wines. That way should be more common and would definately attract customers to explore better wines they would not usually do at restaurants.

 

REVIEW (FISH): FOOD 4/5 – SERVICE 4+/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4+/5

REVIEW (VEGAN): FOOD 2+/5

REVIEW (LUNCH): FOOD 4,5/5

https://rosterhelsinki.com/

 

 

 

 





Restaurant review: Lemon Tree Garden – Rethymnon, Crete

5 08 2016

Summer vacation in Crete, Rethymnon meant also visits to several restaurants and tavernas. Tried about 10 places and always tested starters and main courses. Better avoid dining spots with most aggressive “in throwers”, best ones are those counting on menu, location and athmosphere.

 

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Mostly ate in Old Town where you can find many good and not so good dining spots. When it comes to taverna type of restaurants servining traditional greek food, Lemon Tree Garden is the choice. Judgement is based on two visits, which both were above average in “tavernas category”.

Restaurant has good service, fresh ingredients and well prepared dishes not forgetting vegan choises.

During second visit had for starters Spinach Pies, Vine Leaves Rolls and Feta Cheese. Usually spinach pies include cheese, but restaurant had vegetarian version available. Two types rolls, vine leaves (dolmades) and zuccini flower rolls. Both were prepared at restaurant, too often you get canned rolls. Greek style feta cheese was delicious, right mixture of herbs and tomato.

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For main courses had Gyros, which in this case were perfect. Best part of this was just grilled pork. In one taverna get meat which had been grilled earlier and was warmed before serving.

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….and Stuffed VegetablesSweet pepper and tomato stuffed with deliciously spiced rice. A perfect vegan dish accompanied by sliced potatoes.  Olive oil is always part of the dishes, and combined with the proper spices, makes for the perfect sauce.

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In previous post you can find some information about Greek wines, which are part of dining. In Lemon Tree Garden had Melios and Chateau Julia, both Merlots.

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Chateau Julia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon Tree Garden has nice outdoor terrace inside old walls. The name comes from the trees above tables, lemon and orange trees are the roof of restaurant.

After dinner restaurant serves fresh water melon, lemon cake and raki depending on what you have eaten. Nice way of ending dinner, but as you know what to expect, do not order dessert.

 

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

 





Greek Merlot red wines

29 07 2016

Greece is one of the most popular destination for Finnish holiday travellers in the summer time.

However, Greek wines are under valued and difficult to buy in Finland. Only 4 red and 4 white wines available in Alkos as shelf products and 4 more wines which you can pre-order. Greek restaurants, few in Helsinki, offer also some other Greek wines, which they import by themselves.

During our visit to Crete in July 2016, tasted few young, good and ok red wines. Focus was on Merlot grape, which is actually quite popular, but not as popular as local grapes like Agiorgitiko, Asyrtiko, Mavrodafni and Xinomavro. Sometimes Merlot is additional grape as in few wines tasted.

Chateau Julia Merlot 2011

Winery Domaine Costa Lazaridi with distinctive title “Chateau Julia”, was founded in Adriani, Drama in 1992. The first bottles were marketed also in 1992. Amethystos white, Amethystos Rose and Amethystos Red. Today the Estate produces five families of wines, Amethystos, Chateau Julia, Domaine Costa Lazaridi, Oenodea and Oenotria Land. Today company exports wines even to Sweden but not to Finland, yet.

Chateau Julia Merlot 2011 was facinating or even surprising wine. Unfortunately wine was served too warm, but did not want to use cooler although waitress asked it. Complex aromas of forest fruit, mint and eucalyptus; rare bouquet for Merlot wine. Taste was warm, full-bodied and due to aroma, a bit complex too. Requires food with spices, pairs well with gyros, for instance.

 

Chateau Julia

 

Karipidis Merlot 2012

The Karipidi Winery is a family business in Vounaina Thessaly in central Greece that manages 30 hectares of privately owned vineyards. The vineyards, which are registered in a institution for inspection and certification of biological products, are being cultivated exclusively with methods of biological agriculture.

Karipidis Merlot 2012 is organic wine and has aromatic bouquet with hints of plum, currant, chocolate and vanilla. Mouth-feel of high density flavor, rich structure and robust body.

Pairs well with shellfish and seafood pasta and vegan foods too.

 

Wine

 

Biblia Chora Red 2014

Domaine Biblia Chora was established in 1998 by Vangelis Gerovassilou and Vassilis Tsaktsarlis being one of the newest wineries. In June 2001, the construction of this modern Domain began. In the same year, the first wine was made. Today, the Estate has a private vineyard of 350 acres, which surround the winery, and in which Greek and foreign varieties are cultivated in accordance with the biological standards of viticulture.

Biblia Chora Red 2014 is produced from two grapes; Cabernet Sauvignon 50% and Merlot 50%. It has pure and complex bouquet of ripe red fruit, chocolate and some spicy notes on the finish. Intense flavour with a full body, good structure and a high tannin content, which provides a lasting aftertaste

Pairs with quite variety of foods because of Cabernet Sauvignon, which smoothens the taste.

 

Red wine

 

Melios Red Dry Wine

Domaine Brintziki cultivates vineyards owned 120 acres applying faithfully and with love of the principles of organic agriculture for many years planted with local varieties of Greek. Winery uses also the Avgoustiatis, which belongs to a group of very rare Greek varieties, grown in small size, few producers, but with remarkably high quality results. It is a red wine variety, which gives mostly red dry wines, leading the exploration of the world’s vineyard at the edges. Products product at winery are Tinaktorogos, Augoustiatis, Sign, Melios and Enipeas.

Melios Red Dry Wine is produced from Merlot 80% and Mavrodaphne 20% grapes. Wine has dark red color, intense aroma of red fruits, vanilla and cherry. Full mouth with soft tannins.

Pairs with meat, vegetables and pasta.

Unfortunately winery’s web-pages did not work properly.

 

Melios

 

 

Idisma Drios Merlot 2013

Wine Art Estate was created by Yannis Papadopoulos and Yannis Kalaitzidis 1993. 26 hectares of vineyards at a location known since ancient times for the cultivation of the vine and the production of wines, as indicated by the ruins of a Sanctuary of Dionysus. Wine Art aims to present how well certain Greek and cosmopolitan varieties are adapted to the microclimate of Drama. Towards this direction, a new wine, Chardonnay Idisma Drios was put to market in 1999. This was the first of a new range of products, Idisma Drios (“sweetly oaked”), to be followed by Assyrtiko, Merlot and Syrah.

Idisma Drios Merlot 2013 has deep purple colour. Quite complex bouquet of spices and dark berries.
Wine is balanced and has noble tannins. It is mature, full-bodied, with a long aftertaste.

Pairs with meat, cheeses and even with asian flavors.

 

Idisma Drios Merlot

 

As said earlier, Greek wines are undervalued. Many of the wineries produce organic tasty wines, but production amounts are so small, that many times only Greeks can enjoy of these wines.

Visited Agreco Farm http://www.agreco.gr/ which is partly tourist attraction but also produces organic wines. Wines are sold from their own shops and via some hotel chains and restaurants but production quantity does not allow export these wines.

Maybe some day there are more quality Greek wines available in Finland. But travellers should first choose better wines (not the best ones) instead of grape juice (house wines in caraffes).

 








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