Restaurant review: Brasserie Kämp

7 08 2012

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. The headquarters of the bank KOP were situated in the building for almost three decades, until 1995. A major restoration project, started in 1996, culminated in the reopening of Hotel Kämp in 1999 as a Luxury Collection property of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. A shopping centre, Kämp Galleria, was also opened within the same city block. All rock and pop stars spend their nights in Hotel Kämp. Last week Bruce Springsteen, the Boss, was there.

Dining at Hotel Kämp gives a possibility on a culinary journey from East to West. Eastern food is offered in restaurant YUME , where you can enjoy modern Asian hawkers- and finger food with a Modern Asian Temptations -concept. Brasserie Kämp offers a wide range of European food brasserie style and Kämp Bar offers you the unique cocktails; in fact mainly champagne, wine and beer which customers usually order. Bar is also very popular on Friday and Saturday evenings. You can also enjoy Sunday brunch at Brasserie Kämp. After building heated terrace a year ago you can dine “outside” all year around like in many brasseries in Paris. In the 2nd floor there used to be a la carte restaurant Signe for almost one year but it did not seem to exist anymore.

A la carte list is short which makes ordering easy, if you find suitable dish. Recommend to order gourmet “fast food” like salad or hamburger which is really luxorious. Especially French fries are maybe the best in the city.

Wanted to challenge kitchen and decided to order for starters ARTICHOKE RISOTTO Goat Gryere flavoured artichoke risotto rucola and SALMON CARPACCIO AND SCALLOPS Red Grapefruit vinegrette flavoured Salmon Carpaccio and fried Scallops with Asparagus salad and Le Grûyère AOC cheese. Taste of risotto was ok but quite mild. Main problem was wetness, it was like soup which risotto’s usually are not. Smelt cheese or lots of olive oil; difficult to taste. Scallops were perfectly fried as they were not like gum ball’s. Unfortunately not any more hot as they shoud be.  Salmon carpaccio is always delicious.

For main courses ordered CATCH OF THE DAY Fresh Fish of the Day which was Whitefish and season vegetables and Cord-fed Chicken Grilled Corn-Fed chicken served with Pumpkin puree and Barley, Madeira Sauce. Whitefish was roasted with professional way which enabled to eat also skin of the fish. Almost half of the season vegetables included lentils, maybe not so seasonal. Chicken was great, not too dry and pumpkin puree was delicious. Barley should be used more often in dishes as it was used in Wanha Makasiini few days earlier.

You could order cakes from the cake trolley but was too full. Green tea and coffee served from luxorious set of dishes ended dinner with glamour.

Brasserie and Cafe Kämp is perfect location to observe passers-by on Esplanadi promenade. You can also watch swanky cars parked front of Hotel Kämp or driving to the hotel garage.

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

http://www.hotelkamp.com/brasseriekampbareng





Restaurant review: Wanha Makasiini

4 08 2012

Restaurant Wanha Makasiini may be the best privately owned restaurant in Lappeenranta. After two experiences it earns recommendation; if you visit Lappeenranta dine at Wanha Makasiini! Old building itself is worth to see as it is “Old Storehouse”, pictures on the walls describe briefly the history of the building. Restaurant is located in the harbour near Sand Castle which is built each summer to attract tourists to Lappeenranta. You can dine inside or at the terrace depending on the weather. Although restaurant has fine dining menu you can also order pizzas which makes Wanha Makasiini versatile place.

Arrived to the restaurant at about 7PM and it was full; at 930PM it was empty; early dinner. Only Finnish diners this time although in Lappeenranta there are many visitors from neighbor country, Russia

For starters ordered again delicacy from the visit last time, no letdown this time either. Smoked vendace toast, smoked vendace mousse and roasted rye bread. Very simple but so delicious could have eaten 3 portions. Soft and suitably salty mousse blended in with rye bread roasted with butter tasted out of this world. Turkey pastrami, turkey on herb salad bed, marinated red onion and walnut vinaigrette was also simple dish. Turkey was tender; not too dry as it usually is.

Again fish for main courses. This time chose Fried salmon with spinach-pearl barley risotto and season vegetables. Chose this one because wanted to taste and compare barley vs rice as risotto ingredient. Taste and look was almost the same; a little bit bigger pearls but definately worth of trying, can recommend. Roasted whitefish and grilled prawns with lime sauce and grilled vegetables was the weakest link. Fish was over roasted and lime or bearnaise sauce not so attractive. Also prawns were quite small. Last year whitefish portion was excellent and roasted perfectly.

Because main courses were so generous decided to taste ice creams with tea and espresso. Home made Rasberry sorbet and Baileys ice cream ended the dinner appropriately. Next time have to try Mud cake because usually it “separates wheat from the chaff” when it comes to competence of the kitchen.

Because of easy-going athmosphere, renovation of the old building and location in the harbour, Wanha Makasiini earns 4 as an overall grade.

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

http://www.ravintolawanhamakasiini.fi/

http://hiekkalinna.lappeenranta.fi/en/

Some figures from Sand Castle below.





Restaurant review: Valo

3 08 2012

After 3,5 hour opera (The Magic Flute) in Savonlinna Opera Festival and 4 hour joyful Crayfish dinner and cruise on the Saimaa lake, it was relaxing to dine next day at restaurant Valo. Savonlinna Opera Festival celebrates 100 years history in 2012 and it gathers friends of opera each year. Maybe one can feel similar athmosphere in Verona but Savonlinna continues to live after opera as people dine and share opera experiences in nearby restaurants.

Dined at Valo second time and food was now better. Last year Whitefish was so over roasted it almost fractured. Because one has to dine outside in order to be able observe opera guests walking to Savonlinna castle 200 meters from Valo restaurant, it is important to have good weather. In Valo one can also just have a drink at the forefront bar and do the same. Restaurant serves local Finnish food, evidence for it was mentioning local producers in the a la carte list.

In Savonlinna one MUST eat vendaces! As they were only available for main course asked to get Vendaces from Pielavesi for starter without side dishes. Succeeded and they were simple but excellent, salty and partly crispy but not too creasy. From check noticed that price and name for starter was the same as in childrens menu. Another choice was Cold smoked salmon salad, cold smoked salmon with salad, marinated red onion, deep fried capers, sun dried tomatoes, marinated olives, lemon compote and bread. Add-on’s were not so Finnish and neither this starter beat vendaces.

For main courses had Rib from the Koivunotko wild board, barbeque sauce with potato and chorizo bake. Wild board was perfectly tender as it has been cooked 48 hours. Chorizo harmonized with potatoes well and gave some stroger savor to portion. Arctic Char with new potatoes from Kulennois and dill and whitewine sauce was enjoyable but as usual a little bit over fried. Restaurant mentioned producer or place of catching in both portions.

Almost forgot to take photos of desserts! Grand Marnier Parfait and strawberries was fresh and fruity. Home made chocolate cake and lingonberry ice cream tasted delicious. Soft and moist cake as it should be and rough ice cream with luscious lingonberry taste, almost whole berries.

Restaurant forgot to invoice bottle of Riesling wine as it was ordered from another waitress. Told that and got 20% discount for it.

Because of excellent location and athmosphere overall grade exceeds food and service grades. Restaurant is full before and after opera, therefore table reservation at those times is needed. During opera there are free tables available without need to make reservation.

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

http://www.savonmafia.fi/cms/media/32/VALO_ALA_CARTE.pdf

http://www.operafestival.fi/In_English/Front_page.iw3








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