Hotel review: Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

28 06 2013


On the banks of Giudecca island, Hilton Molino Stucky has 379 rooms and with capacity to host up to 1000 people, the hotel boasts the largest conference facility in Venice. Minor problem concerning the location; you can not walk via bridges to “main” islands, you always have to use water taxis or shuttle boats.

Hilton Venice

Hilton Molino Stucky has several restaurants and bars. Specialities are Skyline Rooftop Bar and Skyline Pool restaurant at the 8th floor with great views to Venice. Moet Ice Imperial seemed to be popular drink in the pool restaurant; rooftop bas is open only in the evening. Breakfast is served in quite modest Il Molino restaurant but breakfast itself is luxurious and service is excellent. Rialto Lobby Bar and Lounge serves different type of snacks, drinks but you can also dine there.

Hilton VeniceHilton VeniceHilton Molino Stucky

Had pleasure to spend few nights at King Deluxe Suite with view at 5th floor.  Suite ahd separate living room, kitchenette, bed room and bathroom. And best of all great view to Canale Della Giudecca (3rd photo below text). Suite was well equipped and there was plenty of room to relax (if had had time to be in the room).

Hilton VeniceHilton VeniceHilton Venice

As you can not walk via bridges to hotel, only way but not the cheapest is to arrive with water taxis from airport or train station. Dock is around the corner of hotel main entrance. You could also choose shuttle boat which is more affordable but then you have to first find suitable launch pad of boats.

Hilton VeniceWater taxi in Venice

Hilton Molino Stucky is first of all conference hotel. Most visitors have bagdes which tell you that they are visiting Venice due to some conference or meeting. You might want to choose some other hotel if you like more “natural” athmosphere. However, worth to visit is 8th floor Skyline bar with views to two directions over the roofs of Venice. One reason for visit might also be floating art exhibits (paintings and sculptures). At the time of staying art from Monica Marioni was on the walls.

Hilton Venice

Restaurant review: Saaristo

22 06 2013

Restaurant SaaristoKlippan

Restaurant Saaristo (Archipelago in English) is located on the Klippan island. You can see the Empire-Helsinki skyline in the North and walls and bastions of King Gustav style Suomenlinna in the South. Jugend style villa that was built in 1898 but you can still admire the crafty and romantic Jugend style wood cuts and wood-carved animals in the beams and balconies.

Restaurant SaaristoRestaurant Saaristo barShip

Saaristo’s menu offers delicacies of Scandinavian cuisine. A connection boat serves from the Saaristo’s pier located south of the Olympia terminal, next to the Peace Statue. Summer restaurant which is open from May to September, is one of the rare places open on Midsummer’s Eve. Other restaurants are closed because most of the Helsinki residents rush to their summer cottages. Maybe Saaristo should also be closed in Midsummer because there were few diners and head waiter was sort of displeased. We had to wait 10 minutes while he served customers it the bar.

Saaristo boat

For starters had fresh local fish which are always refreshing especially in the summer. Ordered Whitefish à la ice-cellar whitefish roe and cauliflower prepared in two ways and Slightly cooked salmon cured with sugar and salt herbs of the House and fennel seed marinated cucumber. Both portions were excellent! Whitefish was really crisp and cauliflowers suited well with it. Roe was maybe needless because it did not match so well to ensemble. Salmon was also really high quality fish and wholeness perfect.

Ice cellar whitefishSalmon at Saaristo

For main courses had Sirloin of reindeer roasted with herbs truffle potato and dark porcini sauce and Arctic char smoked with Pihlajavesi alder Jerusalem artichoke ravioli and lobster butter. Reindeer was maybe the weakest link although it was crisp. Meat was ordered as medium but it was almost raw. Arctic char was smoked with skill and kithen could take well into consideration wishes we had.

Reindeer at SaaristoArctic Char at Saaristo

For dessert ordered An assortment of Nordic cheeses nut bread and honey seasoned with Saaristo’s lavender and waiters recommendation with it RIVESALTES AMBRÉ 2000, Cazes, AOC Rivesaltes, France. Cheeses were from Finland, Denmark and Sweden; Nordic ensemble. All of them were really tasty and sweet wine paired perfectly with them.

Cheeses at SaaristoSweet wineSweet wine


Restaurant Saaristo is good choice of those about 5 other island restaurants in front of the Helsinki. It is expensive if we take into account sizes of portions and price of 1 minute water taxi trip. Service in the table would have been 4/5 but happenings from restaurant door to the table dropped points.

One nice thing to watch after dinner were the sea birds with their cubs. Seagulls and Barnacle gooses had just got addition to their families and were taking care of them.


Taste of Helsinki 2013

15 06 2013

Taste of Helsinki

Second Taste of Helsinki was arranged on 13-16.6.2013. Some of the restaurants had changed, this year present was 12 restaurants: Aito, Ask, Bistro O Mat, C, Demo, Gaijin, Juuri, Luomo, Muru, Olo, Smör and Toscanini with 36 tapas sized dishes to choose from. 3 out of 12 restaurants have Michelin stars (bolded ones).

Pleasant memories from last year and of course high expectations now.

On Saturday the amount of visitors was less than year ago and ordering food was therefore quite quick. We were in the first setting; maybe starting time was too early at 11.00 and wind was freezing although it was sunny day.

First ordered Smoked bream, potatoes and ramsons (Ask) and “EARTHQUAKE” – Organic egg 64,7°C with mushroom toffee (Luomo). Bream was basically, not so common Finnish fish to use in restaurants. Earthquake did not convince. Sweet toffee with salty egg did not match together at all. Of course it is tour de force to cook egg right but it did not help in this case.

Taste of Helsinki

FOOD REVIEWS: Ask 4/5 – Luomo 2/5

Then tried FRIED FRESH LAMB SAUSAGE, spring vegetable salad and mustard sauce (Muru) and  SALMON from Rørvik with spring potatoes from Merimasku (Olo).  Sausage was tast but a little bit chewy, had to bit few pieces too long. Salmon was best starter, fresh and perfect match with side dishes; best part of Finnish cuisine!

Taste of Helsinki

FOOD REVIEWS: Muru 4-/5 – Olo 5-/5

For “main” courses started with BRAISED WILD BOAR, turnip, carrot and spruce sprout (Aito). Delicious, all side dishes were perfect match. Only problems with plastic cutlery was carrot which was a little bit too raw for them and maybe a little bit too salty meat.

Taste of Helsinki

FOOD REVIEW: Aito 4,5/5

Then tasted SLOWLY BRAISED CHEEK OF CORN FED PORK, champignon, truffle and wrinkly carrot (Demo). Excellent braised pork and delicious sauce. Fresh Finnish vegetables supplemented ensemble.

Taste of Helsinki

FOOD REVIEW: Demo 4,5/5

Third food was NECK OF WILD BOAR with false morel pie and sauce of raspberry leaves (Juuri). This wild boar was best of “main” courses. Perfect composition and taste. Not too much side dishes, focus on itself.

Taste of Helsinki

FOOD REVIEW: Juuri 5-/5

Only dessert enjoyed was TOSCANINI’S TIRAMISÚ (Toscanini). Safe choice because did not want to try too exotic portions. Sorry for the finger, wind tried to throw away cardboard plates all the time and had to secure photo for few seconds.

Taste of Helsinki

FOOD REVIEW: Toscanini 4+/5

Did we were more critical now but chose really excellent portions last year. Of course you might make some mistakes when choosing from 36 dishes but would have liked to rank all tasted ones over 4,5. But enjoyed and congratulations to Olo and Juuri for excellent performance. Let’s see if there will be third year for Taste of Helsinki.

And again, lot’s of Markka’s spent! Do not budget anything as you shall exceed your budget anyway. Have fun, do not try to think too much coins.

Champagne with ice – Moet Ice Imperial

9 06 2013

Moet Ice Imperial

One Tiny Champagne Bar is located in the corner of Stockmann opposite the Svenska Teatern. It has cozy terrace which serves breakfast and as name says champagnes. Do not try to order other sparkling wines because they do not have them. Excellent place to observe passers-by.

One discovery during Helsinki Samba Carneval was Champagne Moet Ice Imperial from Moet & Chandon. This champagne breaks tradition you are not allowed to drink champagne without ice. You must also flavor the drink with fresh mint and lime or orange zest.

Champagne is served in white class which again breaks traditions. Ice cubes are in specially designed white bowl as well as “spices” in separate pigeonhole. Also bottle is white, carefully styled ensemble.

Ice bowl

First impression was that this might be hit in the summer but it takes time to balance the taste. Maybe two citrus fruits are too much, lime seemed to suit better than orange. You also have to crunch mint because unbroken small leaf does not give enough flavour. Bar could add another mint leaf on pigeonhole which might also help. If you like lots of bubbles you may not like this champange because ice cubes naturally reduce them.

Pocket guide: Order right fish in Helsinki restaurants

7 06 2013

Pike perchFishSmoked whitefishFishFishLavaret

This is an updated copy of post from July 2012 with some new pictures. As holiday season comes closer, hopefully you find this useful if you dine at restaurants in Helsinki.

Sometimes it might be difficult to order local dishes if you have not tried them before. Meat dishes are easier because chicken, pork and red meat arequite similar in each country. When it comes to fish there are more differences, therefore below is short guide for ordering right fish in restaurants.

1. Whitefish or Lavaret (Siika)

Whitefish or sometimes Lavaret is number one favourite. If it is available in the restaurant, order it. For starter marinated or spiced whitefish is excellent choice, better than salmon. For main course either roasted or fried, this non greasy white colored fish is delicious if properly prepared. It might be over roasted but fish restaurants know what they do. Whitefish roe is also tasty and again better than rainbow trout’s. First picture (Glogatan 4) below is smoked and second (Copas y Tapas) fried whitefish. Third one is home made oven baked fish, see the white fish meat.

Smoked whitefish2012-09-07-637Whitefish

2. Pike perch (Kuha)

Pike perch is one of the most expensive Finnish fishes. Meat is white and soft and tastes best when it is roasted or fried. Pike perch even suits for preparing sushi because it can be quite big fish. Pike perch will be familiar to you if you have eaten Mediterranean white meat fisheses, like sea bass. First picture from Meche, second from Havis and third from Copas y Tapas.

Pike perchPerch

3. Perch (Ahven)

Perch is maybe most common fish in Finland and also our national fish. Meat is white and tasty. Main issue are small fishbones, if not properlyremoved. But if you are in a better restaurant which has perch in their menu, it is worth to order. Meat of perch looks like meat of small sea bass. First picture is from Havis and second from Nuevo.



4. Arctic char (Nieriä or Rautu)

Arctic char is close to rainbow trout or even salmon. Meat is very lightly reddish and a little bit greasy. It is very popular and affordable fish and very often available in most restaurants. Main issue is over roasting but again good restaurants know how to prepare it. It is popular to combine morel sauce with this fish as well as with salmon. First picture is from Nuevo and second picture from Le Havre.

DSC02706Arctic char

5. Crayfish and Signal crayfish (Jokirapu and Täplärapu)

If you visit Helsinki, Finland between 21st July and end of October, you must try Crayfish (crawfish, spiny lobster), most popular shellfish in Finland. Many restaurants have crayfish menu’s. Although they are expensive, escpecially signal crayfishes, which have been imported from North America to Finland in 1960’s, you can also order them as a starter (usually 5-6) and enjoy hilarious athmosphere. If crayfish is really cheap make sure it is Finnish, it might have been imported as frozen from China.

Bon Appetit!

Restaurant review: Meche

2 06 2013


Right away to shared number one place with exotic specialty HEAD OF PORK!

Meche was opened a year ago in June 2012. Food is based on European, mainly Finnish, cuisine and menu is seasonal and frequently renewed. Eating is a social event, starters and main course side dishes are to be enjoyed together between friends, around a table. We did not order Head of pork, but if you decide to do so, notice that both diners or 4 diners must share it and it has to be ordered two days beforehand.

Restaurant Meche is quite difficult to discover because there is no sign on the street, only window stickers to be noticed from the street when you drive past it and look for the restaurant carefully. Name comes from the street restaurant is located, Mechelininkatu.

For starters ordered “small plates” which can be shared among diners: OLIVE BREAD AND AIOLI, LANGOUSTINE AND TOMATO, LAVARET AND POTATO, LANGOUSTINE CARPACCIO and GAZPACHO WITH SHRIMP. Olive bread you should order anyway because it was marvelous due to tasty bread crust and olives. Because Laungoustine and tomato was warm waiter suggested to start with it; one of the best starters ever eaten! Lavaret was as good as it should be, basic Finnish spiced fish. Langoustine carpaccio was supplemented with perfect veggies and spices hiding well raw langoustine. Suggest you order Gazpacho only for your self because it is difficult to share; you may not even want to share it….All starters were well balanced and affordable priced. You might even want to take them all and forget main course.


For main courses had “big ones” CATCH OF THE DAY and BREAST OF DUCK. Fish of the day was pike perch which was maybe a little bit too salty. Side dishes included pieces of chorizo sausage. Maybe for fish it was too complicated but for duck excellent. Duck was well prepared, really tender. Black currant sauce for the duck was perfect companion. Fresh salad was to be shared among diners.

Pike perchDuck

For desserts ordered “small plates” CHOCOLATE AND MINT and RHUBARB AND ALMOND. Both ended dinner in style. Mint ice-cream was one of the best restaurant ice creams ever eaten.


Although Meche was quite empty due to graduation parties it has winning formula. Excellent Finnish food supplemented with European savors and professional service. Wine list is short but all wines are carefully selected, no “me too” wines at all. Was going to order Spanish rose wine Radix Syrah from Bares Palta which was on the web wine list but unfortunately it was finished. Maybe next time can try it and look back on a holiday in Spain. Instead had German riesling and glass of Italian red wine suggested by the waiter for the duck.



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