Restaurant review: Holiday

21 08 2016

image

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.

image

 

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.

image

 

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!

image

 

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.

image

 

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.

image

 

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

image

 

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.

image

 

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.

image

 

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.

image

 

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.

image

 

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.

image

 

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.

 

image

 

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.

image

 

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.

image

 

….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.

image

 

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.

image

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).

 





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.

image

 

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.

image

 

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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

image

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

 

 








Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,020 other followers

%d bloggers like this: