Restaurant review: Garbo’s Dinner Show (Spain)

31 12 2012


presented this year musical DIVA, a show full of song, dance, glamour, clean comedy and musical magic. During two part show you are entertained and delighted by the waiters who are trained profesional singers and dancers, who one minute will be waiting on your table then the next they are on stage in fantastic costumes. This makes whole show fascinating. Could hope for live band but all background music comes from player.

Group song music by Michael Jackson, Elton John, George Michael, Queen and Lady Gaga. Michael Jackson part was best of the show.

You can purchase VIP tickets including free bar or ordinary tickets which include food and half bottle of wine.

Food served was the same as last year. However, descriptions of portions let you believe that you would eat something extraordinary. THE MENU; text below is from Garbo’s website and reviews after each dish.


Jackson starter

As a starter restaurant serves a hot and slightly spicy tomato and leek soup, accompanied by a bread roll. It is a secret recipe of the Canaries that the chef has learnt from his grand mother. The Canarian tomato is also one of the island most exported vegetable and the climate is perfect for its growth and taste. Hence the special taste of this creamy soup.

Review: Simple, a little bit spicy soup. Like most of tomato soups.

Queens main course

“Chicken Supreme” dressed in a fine, creamy ,fresh mushroom sauce accompanied by “Rostie Potatoes” and fresh seasoning vegetables.

Review: A little bit dry chicken, but tasty sauce. Potatoes were not so well prepared but sauce was delicious.

Gaga’s dessert

To end the meal restaurant offers a freshly baked apple and cinnamon cake toped with vanilla sauce. Excellent with cup of coffee

Review: Dessert was best part of the dinner, sweet and juicy cake, most important thing was that it was fresh.

You do not come to Garbo’s just to eat. The show is in most important role and it is enjoyable. Our waiter (standing and singing in the picture) did a great performance but it must be tough job to perform and do the waitering during the show.

Our table must have been most international as we were accompanied by one Canadian, one from the USA, one from Switzerland, two from France and three from Sweden. Lot’s of joint cheering for our waiter to win the contest of performers!












Restaurant review: Ambassador (Spain)

26 12 2012

Restaurant Ambassador, most sophisticated a la carte restaurant at the Lopesan Costa Meloneras hotel, offers exclusive contemporary cuisine based on the traditional spanish and french cuisine. All portions are prepared with special care, modern techniques that enhance these noble tastes, exact cooking temperatures in order to maintain the quality of the used products, mixture of tastes that will surprise hopefully also us in an elegant and exclusive atmosphere. The Ambassador offers a fixed menu for every season and suggestive tasting menus day by day.

On Christmas Eve restaurant served menu consisting of several delicious dishes.

Dinner started with glass of Champagne Paul Goerg Brut.

First three dishes were served at the same time. Papaya “soup was delicious as well as smoked eel and salmon. Maybe turkey roll was most modest of the three starters.

Second dish was Bouillabaisse with tasty giant shimps. No need for toast as bread was already served.

Sole was a little bit over cooked but combination was succesful. Some salty iberian ham made this dish very tasty.

One of the best made dishes was sorbet, which was real soft and not at all icy as they can sometime be. Would have eaten more and actually got one as a dessert as asked one dish without milk products.

Cheek of veal was excellent, it was enough long cooked which made it really crisp. One of the best meat dishes eaten.

For dessert Ambassador served sweet cake combination and some chocklate pieces. Unfortunately we were already so full that was not able to eat them anymore.

Dinner was great, maybe some haste in serving because restaurant was full.










Restaurant review: Copas y Tapas

21 12 2012

Copas y TapasCopas y TapasCopas y Tapas

Second visit to restaurant Copas y Tapas prepared us to our winter vacation to Spain. First time at the restaurant was great when it came to food and service. Because of these important facts restaurant was placed high in Restaurant and wine review ranking list. Also therefore expectations were high.

Novelty is that restaurant has started co-operation with Chef Sami Tallberg, maybe one step forward to chase Michelin star? Some adjustments for echoing was also made regarding to restaurant website.

Dinner starts with assortment of three, four or five tapas, depending on hunger. As we were going to eat main courses, 3 tapas seemed to be enough as last time. You do not know what you get because restaurant chooses what to offer; but of course you can influence on it.

Hot capsicum (sweet pepper) soup, Filled capsicum and Pork neck mousse on rye bread. Recommendation was to start with hot soup which was good and suitably salty. Next ate filled capsicum which was filled with cream cheese and crayfish, excellent. Overripe organic pork neck mousse was scrumptious. Could have eaten 5 of them. On top of tapas were two pieces of licorice which suited well for salty mousse. (NOTE, only soup was changed from last visit)

Tapas at Copas y Tapas

You can choose from four different main courses which differ almost every day depending on fresh ingredients available. Today alternatives were Marble steak, Rooster, Pike Perch and Vegetable portion. Chose Rooster with carrot, zucchini and orange sauce and Pike Perch with beetroots, zucchini and parsnip pyre. Rooster was a little it over cooked, otherwise simple and delicious portion. Pike perch needed salt but otherwise portion was great.

For dessert ordered Assortment of 5 cheeses: Manchego, Comte, Livarot, Gruyrere goat cheese and Ossay-Iraty. Excellent combination! When it comes to NOSE Livarot was most tempting. But all cheeses were excellent, even Manchego which might be quite ordinary.

BUT, recommendation of wines was so interesting it needs other blog because both white and red wines were not sweet!

Cheeses at Copas y TapasCheeses at Copas y Tapas

Copas y Tapas will be one of the rising stars at Helsinki restaurant area, especially if you want to have serious discussion about Spanish wines. And selection of Spanish brandies is wide. Service. really importantpart of esxperience, was excellent again!


Two most Christmassy places on the planet…

17 12 2012

….are in Finland!

CNN picked out TOP 10 places to celebrate Christmas (link below).

Two first rankings for destinations in Finland!

1) Rovaniemi and Santa Park

This is the original place Santa Claus starts his journey to deliver gifts with reindeers.

2) Ranua and Ranua Zoo

Zoo with polar bears and other wild forest animals, but also reindeers.

See also this video, everything is from real life…..That is why CNN chose so wisely.

Traditional Christmas home food in Finland

16 12 2012

Finnish traditional Christmas food differs a lot from ordinary dinners. Most of the dishes are prepared specially for Christmas and some of them available only at super markets for that special occasion.

First you enjoy class of mulled wine in order to find Christmas spirit.


Dinner itself usually starts with fishes like spiced salmon and whitefish (if you do not have enjoyed rice pudding before that). Roes are also typical delicacies, most common are salmon, whitefish and vendace roes. To ensure extreme gusto, add sour cream, red onion and black pepper. Sometimes you might want eat roe with toast and/or Lappish potatoes, which cook really fast, because they are softer than ordinary potatoes. Some people still like to eat lutefish which is prepared from dried whitefish or cod; not my favourite.

DSC02916Kuvat 2005-2006.02 asti 199Roe

After fish it is common to eat Christmas ham which is prepared in oven for several hours. Add some mustard, yammy! Nowadays it is also quite popular to enjoy turkey or have both. With ham one usually eats casseroles like carrot, sweetened potato and rutabaga (all dishes in picture below). Also green peas, plums and ordinary potatoes are common side dishes. Rosolli, mixed combination of beetroot, carrot, pickles, apple, potato and onion can also only be found during Christmas time. Usually eaten with beetroot coloured whipped cream.

HamChristmas plate

Dessert can be cheeses or of course mince pies with coffee. You can find mince pies in every cafe before Christmas, made of puff paste and plum jam. The difference with home made pies and those you can buy at super markets is egg which is sed to lubricate the the surface of the puff paste.

Mince pies

After dinner it is nice to listen some Christmas music by great Finnish singers e.g Johanna Kurkela and Jarkko Ahola.



Wine review: Verrocchio Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso

15 12 2012

Ripassos, sometimes called little brothers of Amarone, can differ quite a lot from each other. This time tasted Verrocchio Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso.

Wine has received DENOMINAZIONE DI ORIGINE CONTROLLATA, which should guarantee the quality. Grapes for producing this red wine are CORVINA (70 %), RONDINELLA (30 %). Vintage 2010, quite young wine.

Almost dark red, tinged lightly in brown

Full bodied with some black currant

Quite typical Ripasso but softer and not too sweet. Some tannins and spices but not so much it would dry your mouth


Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 13,5% by volume
Extract: 36 g/l
Sugar: 7 g/l
Acidity: 5,3 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml (370 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

Suitable for meat dishes but I could also drink this with mature hard cheeses.


TOP 10 restaurants in Finland

13 12 2012


Kauppalehti Optio has listed 10 best restaurants in Finland. Magazine has in each issue reviews of three different restaurants which also supports this list. Best restaurants are:

1. Chez Dominique, Helsinki..2 Michelin stars

2. Olo, Helsinki..1 Michelin star

3. Savoy, Helsinki

4. Muru, Helsinki

5. Farang, Helsinki (X)

6. Demo, Helsinki..1 Michelin star (X)

7. Luomo, Helsinki..1 Michelin star

8. G.W. Sundmans, Helsinki

9. C, Tampere

10. Chef & Sommelier, Helsinki

(X) Restaurant and wine reviews has tested these restaurants

Only Michelin 1 star restaurant missing from TOP 10 is restaurant Postres.

Restaurant review: Kiila Food and Bar

9 12 2012

Food and Bar Kiila was opened on 2nd March 2012. Restaurant is open from morning until night offering breakfast, brunch on Sundays and public holidays, lunch, dinner and bar services.

Visited second time Kiila Food and bar just before Christmas. Major change had been made concerning a la carte list because serious affordable fine dining was not anymore main target. It does not mean that food would be worse but portions were not so ambitious they seemed to be in the beginning. More Finnish dishes than earlier, like fried vendace.

For starter ordered “Carnival plate by Kiila” for two including fried mozzarella sticks, chicken skewer, cherry tomatoes, carrot-, cucumber- and sweet pepper sticks, fried halloumi, mini bratwurst, bbq-, chili-mayonnese- and dill-sour cream- sauces. Tomatoes were missing but not so huge dissappointment. Chicken with bbq sauce was great as well as mozzarella. Otherwise quite simple portion because of ordinar vegetable sticks. But all sauces were delicious.


For main courses had Grilled Chicken Breast with roasted vegetables and sweet chili sauce and Giant Shrimps Pasta with chili-coriander sauce. Chicken was OK. Pasta was raw or it had dried after cooking. Seemed that base of the sauce was similar for both dishes. Have to say that pasta sauce was one of the most spicy in Finland.


For desserts ordered one sorbet because no other choise for lactose free dish and chocolate cake with mascarpone foam and blackberry syrup. Sorbet was OK and cake really delicious, maybe best part of dinner. Some black currant and red currant berries, very typical Finnish berries.

SorbetChocklate cake

Kiila seemed to be quite popular, no wonder. Prices are affordable and location perfect, you can watch Stockmann Christmas lights just opposite. Laid-back athmosphere makes it easy to come to the restaurant.


Some trouble with service again. White wine was warm when it was brought to the table, big tablespoons for dessert and had to pay at the cash desk, because no waiter/waitress was available.



Best Finnish Glögi

7 12 2012

Wine reviews is proud to present best Finnish Glögi (glögg, mulled wine) available at Alko! In Finland it is a must to enjoy mulled wine at least once in December. -10 C – -30 C degrees frost makes it tempting because beverage must be warm. You also add some raisins and almonds; excellent appetizer before dinner.

The best mulled wine is Perinteinen Punaviiniglögi (Traditional Red mulled wine). This mulled wine is most affordable in Alko but it brings the best out of the Christmas. There are dozen different mulled wines available at Alko, but most of them are too sweet and taste synthetic.

Appearance of the bottle is rough and ready, label even a little bit skewed.

Perinteinen PunaviiniglögiGlögi

Glögi is dark red and of course it is sweet, but not too much. Hint of tart and enough “spicy”, flavors of cardemom and clove. Simple but it works!

All mulled wines available in Alko. Prices in euros. In restaurants glass might cost almost the same.

Perinteinen Punaviiniglögi 660437 0,75 6,98
Blossa Vinglögg 611797 0,75 7,29
Herrljunga Klassinen Punaviiniglögi 656227 0,75 7,29
Herrgårds Vit Vinglögg 649737 0,75 7,39
Jouluglögi Vadelma 337267 0,75 7,98
Tähtiglögi 348977 0,75 7,98
Dufvenkrooks Choklad 366766 0,5 8,40
Gerstacker Glühwein 628288 1,0 8,90
Herrljunga Glögi Manteli & Viikuna 395737 0,75 8,99
Hehkuviini 325927 0,75 9,76
Jouluglögi Rommirusina 334867 0,75 9,98
Juhla Glögi 363967 0,75 10,99
Snälleröds Starkvinsglögg 379177 0,75 11,98
Blossa 12 325397 0,75 12,48
Loimu 2012 386587 0,75 13,98

Unfortunately only one Gluhwine available. This wine type is great and common in Central Europe.


Many restaurants serve self-made mulled wine (like Lasipalatsi; picture below taken at bar before dinner) and basically most of the time they are drinkable. But still, I would always prefer this winning (by red mulled wine, if it would be available. However, recommend to try Glögi if you dine at the restaurant in Finland between about 20th November and 26th December.

Mulled wine

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 13% by volume
Extract: 130 g/l
Sugar: 110 g/l
Acidity: 4,8 g/l
Energy: 130 kcal/100 ml (520 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: metal screw cap

Best way to forget cold winter is to enjoy mug of mulled wine.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 5/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++++++ /+++ (comparing mulled wines)

Another test

Finland Independence Day – Champagne Jacquart Mosaïque Brut

6 12 2012

Finland celebrates 95th Independence Day on 6th December. Reason to taste Champagne, this time Champagne Jacquart Mosaïque Brut.

This bottle was purchased from the cruise ship; wine is not available at Alko at the moment.

Light yellow with hints of white gold and a stream of fine bubbles.

Aromas of fresh fruits with some orange flower. Second glass raised something close to…sweat…

Fresh, fills mouth with bubbles; a long fruity finish.


Facts and figures:

A blend where Chardonnay is the dominant grape
variety (35%-40%), giving Brut Mosaïque its freshness
and delicate aromas. Pinot Noir (35%-40%) adds
structure and Pinot Meunier (25% -30%) brings fruit

Alcohol: 12,5 % by volume
Extract: 29 g/l
Sugar: 9 g/l
Acidity: 6,9 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal/100 ml (340 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

Perfect wine with whitefish roe and lightly salted whitefish (graavattu siika). Price for this Champagne is affordable. But to be honest, excellent Cava’s beat many Champagnes and they usually are half the price.



Restaurant review: Lasipalatsi

1 12 2012

Lasipalatsi – the Glass Palace – is 75 years old building at Mannerheimintie. Although the building had originally been intended to serve as a temporary structure, the building became central monument next to the old bus station. Essential part of the building was the large restaurant Lasipalatsi on the upper floor.

In the end of 1996 the building had undergone years of gradual decline, was given protected status and a restoration project began. Two young architects – Pia Ilonen and Minna Lukander – assisted by interior designer Martti Lukander restored the original Functionalist style; pure white walls, large windows, interiors with warm colours and delightful little details. New restaurant Lasipalatsi was opened in the autumn 1998. There is also small bar in front of the dining room. Restaurant plays soft traditional Finnish “lager” music which leads 50 years back.


Lasipalatsi kitchen combines the cherished traditional Finnish culinary culture with international influences. Restaurant is also well-known for its “theme weeks”, such as Blini, Asparagus, Fish and Reindeer.

When you enter restaurant, it is like you go back in time. But it is refreshing! We were able to get window table, should ask for that. Winter had just arrvied day earlier.


For starters enjoyed Lamb vorschmack with baked potato acccompanied by pickled gherkin, beetroot and soured cream and Raw-pickled salmon, smoked salmon and salmon roe. Vorschmack was excellent and best part of the meat dinner. I am not so familiar with this food but trusted kitchen. Fish starter was great as expected, simple Finnish tastes

DSC02841Fish plate

For main courses ordered Fried pearch fillets and scallops with ruby red orange and Rack and neck of lamb from Åland potato purée flavoured with garlic. Pearch was well preapared but one of the two scallops was maybe a little bit raw. Lamb again was delicious but would have expected more flavoures, especially rack of lamb was tender and with potato pure great.


And for desserts Pieces or assortment of Finnish cheese, one piece for both with port wine. One was Peltola Bule and one Mouhijärvi Metsuri. Both genuine and relly tasty Finnish cheeses. Not so Finnish was that you were able to get grappa.

Because of Little Christmas Party date restaurant was full, otherwise you might get table easier.



Imagine what it was like 50 years ago, picture taken on 30th Nov,2012.


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