Home delivery by restaurants during Covid19 – SPIS and Jord as examples

10 04 2020

Who was thinking about the possibility restaurants would be closed some day because of pandemic? At least not me at the beginning of year 2020.

Seeing how difficult period we are going through especially when it comes to small businesses relying on customer visits and on-site spending, it makes me think who I can help. Fine dining restaurants changing their business model from table serving to home deliveries are worth of appreciation. Especially when owners themselves drive to homes and bring the food, because they think that whole value chain must be under control. Basic home delivery service companies might fail in some cases, although I use those also a lot at the moment.

As an examples I bring up two restaurants, SPIS and Jord. I have visited SPIS couple of times (see reviews), but never visited Jord. Both are family owned, serving excellent and partly traditional Finnish/Nordic food with their own twist.

SPIS delivers food to be warmed up at home with instructions and Jord serves portions you can eat without any preparation.

Below you can find sample of pictures of both restaurant dishes and portions.

SPIS

Weekend dinner: Pumpkin soup, Braised Veal and Cheeses

Easter dinner: Asparagus Soup, Braised Lamb and Carrot Cake

Ingredients for Easter dinner

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Jord weekend dinner: Vendaces and Confit Chicken

 

How often you get “gourmet” food delivered to home? Typically you get pizza, oriental dishes and finger food. If there is something good in pandemic (actually there is nothing), is that more and more people can get familiar to well prepared tasty dishes, which also look attempting.

And I urge everybody to support restaurants by using home delivery services and buying gift cards. We do not want them to disappear, do we?

 

SUPPORT RESTAURANTS!





Restaurant review: Magu

14 03 2020

Restaurant Magu was established in November 2018 to Kallio neighborhood. Year after it moved to Kaartinkaupunki in Kasarmikatu. Magu serves plant-based vegan food but you do not see vegan mentioned on their web-pages. Ecological approach can be seen in the restaurant interiors. All furniture, plates, glasses, cutlery, textile and kitchen equipment has been bought second-hand.

You can order dishes as separate portions but decided to try 2+1+1 menu. Of course you have to decide which you want to eat, which might be difficult due to different attempting options. After first reading of menu it is difficult to make conclusion that all dishes are vegan, but that is the fact.

 

For firsts two dishes had Jerusalem Artichoke Soup, Fungi Panko & Kale x 2 and Arancini & Yuzu. 

Soup was very tasty and artichoke flavor was top notch. You can see the bread above plate? That was one of the best ever eaten in restaurant.

Big Mushrooms and crispy kale paired perfectly with each other. Panko, Japanese breadcrumbs, made the ensemble even more enjoyable.

Italian stuffed rice balls with citrus fruit taste, Yuzy, where also delicious. Typically Parmesan cheese is used to complement the taste as in risotto. But as this was vegan, you could not find difference in taste of “real” Parmesan and vegan cheese.

 

For “primi piatti” had Mac & “Cheese” and Risotto Nettle & Broccoli.

Spaghetti with vegan cheese was palatable. Pasta was still al dente as it should be making the dish bull’s eye.

Risotto was, if you can pick any, the “weakest link”. Structure was a little bit too pap, but it did not matter too much due to flavors.

 

Must say that when main courses arrived we were already quite full. 1+1+1 would be enough to make you sated. Had ordered Sweet Potato & Gnocchi and Celeriac & Wild Fungi.

Smoky flavor repeated from one of the previous dishes and dominated a little bit too much in Gnocchi dish. It included two different kind of potatoes prepared with two different ways. Taste was again scrumptious but if you order pasta for third course, recommend to order Celeriac or King Oyster for fourth dish.

Celeriac was extremely tasty, therefore see previous comment. Roots are always lighter that pasta or risotto and of course very healthy. And have not seen celeriac to be used by chef’s so often.

For some reason Magu does not believe that wines and food belong together. Actually in many cases restaurants recommend light wines with plant-based dishes. There are already good vegan and organic wines available. And in Finland, if wine includes egg or other animal based products, it must be written on the label. That is not the case in many EU countries.
Most full-bodied wine available was Nada Nature Peinture which is a medium bodied wine made from 100% LLedoner Pelut grapes. Not typical red wine and for us the taste of wine was too light. And price, 75€, did not reflect with the experience expected with that price range.

 

Magu is welcomed newcomer to Helsinki restaurant scene. Vegan and vegetarian lifestyle is getting more and more popular and there is a need for tasty and well prepared restaurant food.

Dining area is kind of a circle, you might get the table by the street or close to yard. Casual and cozy atmosphere makes the dining experience enjoyable.

If you have vegan friends, take them to Magu. And for food lovers who do not eat only vegetarian or vegan food, it is also experience not to bypass.

 

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

https://www.maguhelsinki.fi/

 





Restaurant review: Farouge

7 03 2020

Lebanese restaurant Farouge was originally established in 1995 in Helsinki. When building, it was located, was renovated, it closed its doors. Some time later it opened street food bar at Stockmann department store at 1st floor. New restaurant Farouge re-opened its doors in August 2018 in recently renovated Aurinkotalo.

150 seats and two dining areas make Farouge one of the biggest restaurants in Helsinki. First dining area after entrance is elegant and mainly for groups. Next to it is garden restaurant, which is more laid-back and actually has tree in the middle of the room.

You could eat only Meze’s if you want to taste different flavours of Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisine. We decided to order those as starters and go with main courses after that.

Started the dinner with glasses of Champagne. Great way to relax, check the menu and orientate for the dinner.

 

Started with BABA & GHANOUSH Aubergine and tahini, MUSHROOM & GARLIC Pan-fried button mushrooms with coriander and garlic and SHRIMPS & CORIANDER Shrimp pot with coriander. And of course pita bread was served with appetizers.

First two mezes were vegan. Baba & Ghanoush, did not remember what kind of dish that was, therefore should have ordered Hummus & Pine. There was not enough eggplant as you can see in the picture and hummus flavor dominated.

Shrimps were tasty with herbs and spices. Maybe not typical meze, but Farouge serves also some hints of Mediterranean cuisine.

Big mushrooms were delicious. Using spoon was easier as serving bowl was quite small.

 

For main courses decided to try SEA BASS & SAFFRON Sea bass with Jerusalem artichoke and saffron sauce and CAULIFLOWER Stuffed globe artichoke, quinoa, cauliflower and pumpkin.

Lebanese cuisine is healthy including an abundance of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and seafood. Therefore expected a lot from Sea bass dish. Two slices of white fish meat were cooked perfectly and sauce paired well with Sea bass. Most of the main courses were meat dishes like chicken and lamb. Next time have to try one of them.

Quinoa was the best part of Cauliflower dish. Cauliflower itself is mild-tasting and requires strong herbs and spices to make it enjoyable.

 

Most of the major wineries in Lebanon have their vineyards in the southern Beqaa Valley. Chateau Ksara remains much the biggest, with 70% of all the country’s production.

For wine had two different Lebanese wines. Most full-bodied was Musar Jeune Red Château Musar, from Bekaa Valley produced from Cinsault, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Winery is perhaps the best known in the West.

 

Restaurant Farouge is interesting choice if you are looking for fancy dining experience. Two dining rooms with different decorations and athmosphere influence in the experience. If you want to dine more casual, choose winter garden. If you have foreign business guests or dress code is Lounge suit or more, choose main dining room.

What makes restaurant also attractive is the music. Arabic rhythms take you to origins of food and make the dining more authentic.

FOOD 4-/5 – SERVICE 4,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4+/5

https://www.farouge.fi/en/





Restaurant review: Lucy in the Sky

22 02 2020

Restaurant Lucy in the Sky sits on top of Accountor Tower, the historical landmark building towering over the area of Keilaniemi in Espoo. Restaurant was opened in January 2020 by same owners as Pastor, which was closed few months earlier.

Lucy’s glass walls provide views to all directions showcasing the best of the Helsinki-Espoo region. Lucy serves lunch, dinner and brunch to both the tenants of the building and visitors alike. For visitors like us, easiest way to arrive to the restaurant is to take subway, as stop is only 100 meters from the tower.

Had first house Champagne Charpentier Blanc de Blancs at the bar, crisp and fresh, as 100% Chardonnay wines should be. Bar had been decorated respecting 70’s style when the tower was originally built.

For dinner ordered tasting menus: Taste of Honey (vegan version) and Slow Down I. Menus changed few days after visiting restaurant, so dish names are not the so exact. One suggestion is to share the menu on a paper before starting to serve it.

Taste of Honey started with miso soup and artichoke mousse. Both were very tasty, maybe the mousse was missing cracker or some bread for dipping.

Slow Down I menu started with “blini” and pork bun. Both were perfect way to start the dinner, right sized and tasty. Maybe the bun was a little bit too big compared to amount of fillings. Opening up it a bit more might have fixed it. Anyway, appetizing!

 

Then came Tempuras which could have been ordered also as main course platter. Vegan version included cauliflower and broccoli. Slow Down I consisted of king shrimp and cauliflower. With soy based dip sauces third course was enjoyable. Tempura is one of the favorites in general.

 

Taste of Honey had one extra dish, risotto. Although it did not include any parmesan cheese, not even vegan, taste was excellent. Also chanterelles, which are one of the best mushrooms in Finland, made risotto perfect.

 

Main courses were actually large portions of food thinking about 5 course dinner.

Tofu and noodles in Taste of Honey were scrumptious. Tofu is quite typical in vegan dishes especially when cuisine is partly Asian.

Tender slices of and pulled black angus beef were excellent. Perhaps the best of all dishes in Slow Down I. Accompanied with delicious side dishes and sauces, the skills in the kitchen were noticeable.

 

Desserts were chocolate mousse sorbet and matcha latte. Not too sweat, perfect way to finish the dinner.

 

For wine ordered Corsini Armujan Barbera d’Alba 2016, which was chosen by Sommelier Pekka Koiranen. Lucy has comprehensive wine list and wines from Nebbiolo and Piemonte are well presented. Full-bodied, tasty wine which paired well with all dishes.

 

In the middle of dining area is open kitchen. Several chef’s and cook’s are preparing food between two islands. Positive was, that food did not smell at the dining area at all.

Visited restaurant couple of days later and had two course lunch with few friends. Lunch I enjoyed was very light, prawn cocktail for starter and arctic char for main course. Maybe with dessert which we I did not had, the amount for food would have been enough.

 

Lucy in the Sky will be success although it is in the middle of office area which is under constraction. Dining room was full during the dinner and when the terraces are open, spot will be even more popular.

Views to all directions are spectacular. When sun will shine or sky will be clear, you can spend some time just walking around the restaurant and observe surroundings.

Worth to visit again!

 

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

https://en.lucyinthesky.fi/

 





Michelin star restaurants in Helsinki 2020 – 6 restaurants awarded with star

18 02 2020

Michelin Guide announced new list of Michelin starred restaurants in Finland on the 17th of February in Norway, again one new restaurant got it’s first Michelin star, Inari. Restaurant Inari is owned by chef Kim Mikkola and Johan Borgar.

Five restaurants kept 1 Michelin star, all in Helsinki. 

It seems that other cities are not yet included in Michelin reviews although there are good candidates.

 

Restaurants with 1 Michelin star in Helsinki, Finland are:

Inari, Albertinkatu 19 A, Helsinki – http://ravintolainari.fi/

Ora, Huvilakatu 28, Helsinki – http://www.orarestaurant.fi/

Demo, Uudenmaankatu 9-11, Helsinki – http://www.restaurantdemo.fi/?lang=fi

Olo, Pohjoisesplanadi 5, Helsinki – http://olo-ravintola.fi/en/

Grön, Albertinkatu 36 – https://www.restaurantgron.com/

Palace, Eteläranta 10 – http://www.palacerestaurant.fi/fi/etusivu/

 

Demo bar - reijosfood.com

Picture from restaurant Demo which has had Michelin star since 2007.

Picture from Grön about 3 years ago – dish waiting for sauce

Restaurant Ask had last year 1 Michelin star, but is at the moment looking for new premises.

Bib Gourmand restaurants are Boulevard Social, Gaijin, Farang, owned by same chefs, incredible achievement year over year, and Jord. New Bib Gourmand restaurant is Nolla.





Restaurant review: SPIS – hidden gem in Kasarmikatu

20 10 2019

Restaurant SPIS is small 18-seat Nordic restaurant in Kasarminkatu, Helsinki. SPIS serves pure Nordic food, therefore it is excellent place to dine, if want to get familiar with local dishes. Visited first time SPIS already in 2015 when it was selected as restaurant of the year. Since then it has been able to keep high standards when it comes to cuisine and service.

Enjoyed Short Tasting Menu because dinner started already at 17.30. Prices vary from 50-57€ depending on ingredients. Vegan menu is also available, which is not yet so typical for fine dining bistros. But this is quite natural for SPIS, as main ingredients used are vegetables.

 

First surprises were “crackers” in two forms, which started the dinner. Had already ordered glass of champagne, which had tiny bubbles and was refreshing.

First dishes were soup and sortiment of local veggies. Tasty and well prepared.

Then restaurant served scallop with cucumber, which paired perfectly with each other. Then it was time to melt food with sorbet.

Main dish was enough big to make you full and now the wine was red.

Two desserts finalized the dinner.

Restaurant is located in Kasarmikatu and when it is closed, it easy to bypass it without noticing.

Pairing wines can be also ordered with the price of 34€. For digestive ordered Helsinki Applejack  which is a spirit produced from the best Finnish apples. Today in Finland there are several distilleries producing famous gins, whiskies and other excellent spirits and The Helsinki Distilling Company is one of them.

SPIS is one of the best Nordic food restaurants in Helsinki. Food served is well prepared, creative and tasty. And I really appreciate that restaurant is willing to prepare all snacks between the dishes.

Service has always been one of the strengths of restaurant. Chef”s bring some of the dishes to tables, which makes the dining more intimate.

Can warmly recommend SPIS!

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

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HELSINKI APPLEJACK

 

 





Restaurant review: The Souk

12 10 2019

Restaurant The Souk was opened in October 2019 in Kortteli at 5th floor in Kamppi Shopping Center. Before The Souk restaurant Jord was at the same location, but it moved to Kruunuhaka. Restaurant still had empty tables on Friday afternoon although almost all other restaurants in Kortteli were already very busy. The Souk does not yet have web pages either it is listed on Kamppi pages when writing this blog. One reason for not yet being that busy as the other restaurants.

Menu as well as wine list are short. The name of the restaurant reflects the cuisine, hints from Middle East and Mediterranean. First you get small tasty bruchetta’s with tapenade.

For starters ordered Cauliflower wings and Warm goat cheese & beetroot carpaccio. Cauliflower portion was huge for starter, could have been shared. Goat cheese on top of beetroots was as it should be. Difficult to fail when warming up cheese on grill.

Main courses were Spinach Arancini and Roasted Chicken Supreme. With main courses one has to choose one side dish, in our case they were Potatoes and Souk salad.

On the menu it is written risotto as one of the main courses, so it was a little surprise to get filled rice balls. Forgot to ask, if this was vegan version of risotto. Arancinis were big enough to fill up really hungry stomachs. But after wings a little bit too much.

Chicken was nicely cut into two pieces. Sauce was tasty and paired well with roasted meat. Side dish was modest consisting of some canned veggies on top of basic green salad.

For wine had Italian Conti Serristori from Sangiovese grapes. Light but paired nicely with low-spicy dishes.

The Souk will be busy in the coming evenings and lunch hours due to location. Kortteli restaurant area is popular especially in the cold and rainy season which has started already in Finland. Restaurant will definately develop during the first months after opening.

 

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





Restaurant review – Penelope

7 09 2019

PLATO PEQUEÑO, GRAN SABOR

Restaurant Penelope was opened late 2018 by celebrity chef’s Hans Välimäki and Arto Rastas. Modern fine dining tapas kind of bistro serves well desingned and tasteful dishes. Restaurant has 60 seats but you can also dine by the bar desk as we did at the first time or in the summer time at the terrace.

Had 8 course dinner when eating first time. This time let you enjoy pictures because Penelope is one of the best restaurants in Helsinki, when it comes to international food.

Ordered for wine Enemigo Mío Garnacha from Casa Rojo. Cherry red wine with purple trim. The nose is fruity and floral, with notes of rose petals. Delicate, elegant, with a rich complexity in which the aromas of red fruits and balsamic. Nice with all dishes enjoyed.

 

Restaurant is cozy and laid-back. You can see chef’s working in the open kitchen.

Food is excellent and dishes well prepared. Service was professional but as we dined by the bar desk, there were some limitations.

Waiting for third visit…

 

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

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Restaurant review: Frida’s

7 09 2019

Frida’s – modern mexican restaurant & garden bar was opened almost at the same time as El Rey. Owners are the same who used to run Patrona before selling it. They also have Italian restaurant Bastardo in Kamppi shopping center, but as roots are in Mexico, quite natural to make a come back.

However, Frida’s is closer to Patrona than genuine Mexican restaurant. Decor is international, music is global and Finnish staff is dressed closer to fine dining bistros Helsinki is full of nowadays.

Started the dinner with aperitives, Margaritas. For some reason drink includes egg in the foam.

 

For starters had Guacamole and Roasted Pork Taco.

Restaurant’s vegan options are limited, that was the reason to choose nacho’s as one starter. Typically they are eaten before any actual dishess.

Pork taco was delicious. Small but tasty with all ingredients professionally chosen.

For main course had Mole Negro Flank Steak.

Mole is a traditional sauce originally used in Mexican cuisine. Two states in Mexico claim to be the origin of mole: Puebla and Oaxaca. Moles come in various flavors and ingredients, with chili peppers as the common factor. However, the classic mole version is the variety called mole poblano, which is a dark red or brown sauce served over the meat.

Quite modest taste, but enjoyable.

What was interesting the prices of wine we had. Coroa D’ouro 2016 was 30€ cheaper than in restaurant Vinkkeli. Must say that Vinkkeli fooled a little by telling that wine is imported by restaurant. And price was ridiculous compared to Fridas’s.

Frida’s do not differ that much from the concept Patrona had after Frida’s owner sold it, at least then when visited 4 months ago few weeks after opening.

Of course, it is worth to visit due to impressive dining room, polite staff and international menu. However, El Rey is closer to Mexican origins.

 

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

https://www.restaurantfridas.com/





Restaurant review: Taqueria El Rey Annankatu

21 04 2019

Taqueria El Rey opened it’s big brother (or sister) in Annankatu in March 2019. First El Rey is small taqueria which earned title “Best tacos in Helsinki” few years ago. New spot is in the same place where one of the first genuine Mexican restaurants Patrona located. With new owners Patrona was later ruined and it closed it doors 2018. So, what would be the better location to continue real Mexican tradition than the corner by Annankatu.

Menu at El Rey Annankatu is more varied and ambitious than in small taqueria, but same tacos are of course available. Also wine selection is more comprehensive and what makes wine menu remarkable is that there is one excellent wine from Baja California, Mexico!

Started the dinner with aperitifs, glass of La Chouette Champagne and Paloma, fresh and tasty Mexican drink made from tequila and grapefruit soda.

 

For starters ordered Guacamole Made daily with fresh avocados, tomato, onion, coriander, chile & lime. Served with traditional totopos, Sopesitos 3 small hand made corn sopesitos, topped with smashed beans & chorizo, crème fraiche, lettuce & queso fresco and Yaca Pibil Panuchos From Yucatán 3 small corn panuchos, topped with smashed beans, jack fruit pibil, pickled habanero & onios

Guacamole and totopos are always perfect combination. And as also “nachos” are home made, which make them lighter and less salty, it is easy to empty the bucket.

Sopesitos were excellent and one can “adjust” the taste by adding spicy sauces which were brought to the table.

In that sense Panuchos were great as they were served with jackfruit. That gave unique taste for the starter as we have not seen this tropical fruit used before.

We also got chance to try Ceviche de Coco Baby coconut, cooked in lime & yellow habanero juice, mixed with seaweed, avocado, onion, coriander & zuccini. Tart and strong flavor made this starter interesting, could even find savor of fish although this dish is vegan. For our taste it was a little bit too sour.

 

Main courses were one of the Chef’s specialities, Pulpo Grilled octopus with garlic, roasted potatoes with habanero & casbel chili oil and baby gem topped with pickle Xnipec and avocado mousse and Tacos Dorados de Camote 3 crispy tacos filled with sweet potato topped with hot chipotle salsa, fresh lettuce, avocado, coriander, onion & vegan creme fraiche and cheese.

Pulpo was crispy and soft at the same time, which it should be, if prepared in the right way. Portion does not necessarily need potatoes but for Finns they are many times very important side dish.

Tacos with sweet potato were delicious. When eating the third one, sweetness started to dominate but with spicy sauces taste could be balanced.

 

Had to order Mexican wine from Valle de Guadalupe although it was the most expensive on the wine list. L.A. Cetto Nebbiolo 2013 color is intensively dark red, it is full-bodied and taste is rich. Only the price might slow down the sales, otherwise it could be the best-seller in the restaurant.

 

Taqueria El Rey Annankatu is propably the flagship of Mexican cuisine in Helsinki. Brilliantly designed menu and well prepared food guarantee the success. Table reservation is good to make beforehand especially for weekend evenings.

Service is professional and polite but suitably easy-going as the idea is not to be too rigid. If that would be the case remember to try tequila from wide selection.

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

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Restaurant review: Cevicheria

31 03 2019

Cevicheria is small Peruvian restaurant and Pisco bar in newly opened dining area in so called Autotalo. Office building does not invite customers to step in to that area, but when you are there you can see sushi restaurant, Nepalese restaurant and couple of other different style dining spots.

Cevicheria claims to be first cevicheria in Finland. Maybe, but Pastor has served Peruvian fusion food including ceviches for many years. Menu consist of starters, ceviches & tiraditos, main courses and 2 desserts. Side dish selection is versatile. Vegan versions are also available.

Ordered for starters Ensalada Quinoa Salad of quinoa with avocado and Ceviche Carretillero Pike-pirch, octopus, greenshell mussel, lime juice, Aji amarillo, choclo corn and sweet potato.

Both dishes were tasty when we got them to table after quite long waiting time.

Quinoa was cooked differently as usual which made it quite special.

Ceviche is actually enough big to be main course. Fish was nicely “cooked” in citrus sauce and shellfishes were fresh although we are in Finland. Dish does not need sweet potato as a starter, but as main course it is justified.

 

For main courses had Carapulcra Sunroot, artichoke heart, chickpea, smoked chilipepper and vanilla and Aji de Gallina Chicken in creamy cocos chili sauce served with rice.

Sauce complemented nicely chickpeas which were enough moist. Typically they are quite dry.

Pulled chicken was delicious in it’s topping. Menu says that side dish is rice but it was served with potatoes. In this case fried sweet potatoes were not needed. But must say they were the best ever eaten in Finland.

 

For wine had Portuguese COROA D’OURO 2016. Pleasant bouquet and smooth, full-bodied and aromatic taste. Produced from Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca grapes.

 

Ceviche is welcomed new cuisine in Helsinki restaurant scene. Just recently opened dining spot practices serving but most important thing are tasty and fresh dishes.

Location might be slight challenge because restaurant is in the office building without windows opening to the streets. But that should not be problem if food served keeps the level it had during our visit.

 

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

https://www.cevicheria.fi/





Restaurant review: Vinkkeli

17 03 2019

Restaurant Vinkkeli is located in the heart of the Kaartinkaupunki neighborhood, at the intersection of Korkeavuorenkatu and Pieni Roobertinkinkatu. Vinkkeli can be described as a food and wine restaurant, presenting a friendly, honest, and uncomplicated take on classic cuisine, where the wine and drink selection is given the same devotion as the selection of ingredients in the kitchen. 2019 Vinkkeli was selected as 7th in the “50 Best Restaurants” in Finland list. Excellent achievement as we have 6 Michelin star restaurants.

From Monday to Saturday Vinkkeli offers a four course dinner menu which is designed by their chef’s in the kitchen and wine pairings selected by the sommelier. A la carte list consist of three starters and main courses, but we chose the dinner menu as vegan version was also available. One just have to order it beforehand when making reservation.

To add more hunger enjoyed as aperitifs A. Viot & Fils Champagne Millesime 2008. Fresh and cheery sparkling from small producer with lot’s of bubbles.

 

First courses served were delicious masterpieces.

Carrots and sweet potato were main ingredients in vegan dish. Smoked salmon with accompaniments was tasty, leaving the feeling that one wanted to eat more.

 

Next came the soups, onion and pumpkin.

Both were served so that soups were poured on the plates at the table. Some side dishes were already placed on the plate before pouring.

 

After short brake main courses were served.

In vegan dish broccoli and eggplant paste had main role. Veal was fleshy and cabbage, sauce and paste were delicious.

 

For dessert Vinkkeli served home-made ice-creams.

Oat milk ice-cream with blueberries and blueberry ice-cream with crispy cake melted in the mouths. Perfect finish for excellent dinner.

 

Sommelier suggested for wine Portuguese winery Pinalta. This wine was not on the wine list where there are mostly wines from France. Also Spain and Italy are quite well presented.

Pinalta 2010 is produced from the same grapes as port wines are. Smooth aroma and full-bodied taste made the food-wine combination perfect.

 

Dining room furniture and decoration is classic and elegant.  Restaurant itself is in old building which supplements dignified experience.

 

No doubt Vinkkeli earns accolade it has been given. All pieces are in order for earning Michelin star. Food is excellent and portions are impressive. Service is professional and insconspicuous. Dining area supports well classic dining experience which definitely is not too rigid.

 

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

http://www.ravintolavinkkeli.fi/en/

 

 





Restaurant review: Pobre – Filipino kitchen with a twist

1 02 2019

Pobre opened in January 2018 and it serves New Filipino food. Background for Pobre can be found from the times Restaurant Day still officially existed. Restaurant delivers dishes that vibrate the flavors of the Philippines. In Filipino culture, food is always a centerpiece of any gathering. Cooking is a way to bring a family together and the value of a memorable dining experience is at the very core of our identity.

Pobre is located in Kamppi Shopping Center at 5th floor where there is “Block” (Kortteli) consisting of about 10 different kind and style of restaurants.

Menu is short but all the dishes sound tempting. Difficult to choose what to order when visiting first time.

Started the dinner with SISIG Sizzling, braised pork neck, red onion, spring onion, chili, egg and dumplings QUASH & COCONUT Coconut chips, chives, soy-calamansi sauce, xo sauce.

Sisig was eaten with fingers, stew was placed on baby gem salad leaves and spiced with chili and garlic oils, which were made in the restaurant. Spices were in the small jars and you can make this dish as spice as you want. Brilliant idea to serve different tastes.

Manila dumplings were vegan as all the side dishes available. Again spicing from jars made this dish delicious.

 

For main courses ordered SEAFOOD SINIGANG Salmon, tiger prawns, seasonal vegetables, taro, tamarind broth and PANSIT CANTON Handmade noodles, seasonal vegetables, ©Jalotofu, soy-sesame sauce.

Also ordered for side dishes SPINACH LAING Spinach, coconut sauce and BERDE SALAD Baby gem lettuce, shaved cucumber, carrots, pickled mangoes, kohlrabi, sesame vinaigrette.

Sinigang was served in a hot bowl which kept also the food really warm for long time. Salmon was still soft as it was in the broth and prawns crispy.

Pansit Canton was tasty vegan dish. You could order the same dish with other ingredients, tofu is one option.

And both side dishes were excellent due to dressings and spices. Vegetables are Finnish but when you add the Filipino twist, even they can be really yummy.

 

You have to walk to the end of dining area at 5th floor and you find Pobre behind the glass wall’s. Restaurant has only about 25 seats, so it is important to make table reservation beforehand.

Must say that Pobre is one of the best newcomers in Helsinki restaurant scene.

Food is excellent, fresh and served with impressive way. Prices are affordable compared to many casual fine dining restaurants.

Service is professional although the small space does not help the work. On the other hand it makes Pobre more intimate and cozy.

Can recommend restaurant if you like Asian food! That’s why overall grade is almost 5.

 

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

https://www.pobre.fi/

 





Restaurant review: Ragu

26 01 2019

Restaurant Ragu opened its doors April 15, 2014, respecting the history of renovated Neo-Renaissance house in the 1890s. Restaurant has several dining rooms due to old building, but it makes the spaces more private although one could call the area open concept. Success has continued since opening and Ragu was fully booked when we dined there on nice October Saturday. Although restaurant promotes still separate bar, it is reserved for diners nowadays.

Food is Scandinavian although one could think it is Italian due to name. Anyway, all wines come from Italy (except Champagnes).

Had been in Ragu several years ago but as they now serve Ludari menu also as vegan decided to dine there again. Ordered also pairing wines in order to test how well Italian wines match with Nordic cuisine. The name of the menu comes from the street restaurant is located, Ludviginkatu, I believe.

After placing the order freshly baked 4 different breads and 4 different spreads were brought to the table.

 

Menu was built around fresh Finnish ingredients, lot’s of vegetables were used. Vegan and standard menu outlook’s did not differ that much which means that kitchen really thought about dishes.

 

 

Second starter was impressive. When jar was opened, smoke rose up. Unfortunately could not catch that in the picture. Vegan version was based on roasted cauliflower.

 

Two main courses were maybe a little bit too much as after first one you already feel full. Both vegan and standard menu included pasta which fills the stomach.

 

Desserts were sweet and tasty. Also the paring wines were well chosen as they were not the sweetest ones.

 

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 and spices grade for food would have been close to 5.

Waitresses take orders and serve drinks but you can meet chef’s and confectiners as they bring some 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.

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





Restaurant review: Yes Yes Yes – re-visit

23 09 2018

Yes Yes Yes is bar & restaurant where food just happens to be vegetarian or vegan. Spot was opened in November 2017 by the same chef’s who run popular restaurants The Cock and Holiday. One can not find meat or even fish on the menu but dairy products are used in some dishes, which makes the restaurant vegetarian.

Visited 2nd time restaurant in September, ten months after opening. Menu was now renewed. First visit in January only two months after opening was successful. You can find previous review by using search.

Most of the tables are by big open windows. Two bars are mostly meant for diners. In order to eat there it does not require table reservation, which is otherwise necessarily to make.

Menu includes so called Munchies, small snacks, Dips and Tandoori breads, Roots & Greens, Comfort Plates, Extras and Sweetie Pies. Pricing is simple; 10€, 12€ or 14€ per dish. Food is shareable which is todays way to serve and enjoy the dinner.

Recommendation for two: Order 4-5 dishes and share at least 2 of them. Sizes of dishes are like racion, not tapas.

First we got vegan flatbread and dip which included avocado, pistachio and thai basil. Parmesan was left out in vegan version but is was not actually needed. Combination was delicious. Ordered later on “normal” flatbread to accompany so called main course and it was really tasty.

Next we were served Charred kale, pickled grapes, burnt corn and toasted sesame. Crispy kale was perfect and paired perfectly with other ingredients.

As “main courses” we had Black bean noodles, tofu, gems, peanut and sweet chili and Risotto, cherry, lemon, tellicherry pepper, parmesan and flowers.
Noodle dish was tasty, slightly salty but it did not bother. Risotto was the one which raised eye brows. Color and aroma were interesting which luckily did not had an influence in taste.


Last time had for wine Spanish Alma de Casa (Soul of the House), but that was finished. Instead ordered Italian Gianni Tessari’s Pian Alto Colli Berici DOC. Very intensive wine from Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Merlot.

Yes Yes Yes is propably the most popular vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Helsinki at the moment. Restaurant was packed full most of the time. Even the bar chairs were occupaid by diners.

Food is excellent, requires extra innovation to prepare dishes with not so known ingredients.

Last time all dishes came almost at the same time and table was full of plates but this was improved. Dishes came to table one by one and we really had time to enjoy our dishes.

Most of the customers are women, especially groups. As no meat either fish dishes are available that might have something to do with it.

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

https://www.yesyesyes.fi/








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