Restaurant review: Muru

26 07 2013

Restaurant Muru

Muru, most popular fine dining bistro in Helsinki and Finland?

Restaurant Muru is a small bistro style restaurant located at Fredrikinkatu 41, Helsinki. Muru’s idea is to offer fresh food from the ingredients available daily without stiffness. Therefore menu is written only on blackboard on the wall and you just let the waiters and waitresses guide you.

You have to choose from 4 available starting times for dinner, first one at 5PM. Means that you have to be ready in 2 1/2 hours but if you take menu of the day, period of time is almost too short.

Muru menu

Since opening restaurant Muru has had tables reserved 2-3 months beforehand especially on Fridays and Saturdays. Also on Tuesday when we dined restaurant was full. Muru was chosen restaurant of the year 2011 which of course added popularity and in addition, chef’s and sommeliers are celebrities in Finland hosting food programs in TV. When we dined Henri Alen was in the kitchen and Samuil Angelov served in the dining room.

Decided to order menu of the day with wine pairings.  First we were served fresh bread with olive-artichoke tapenade which had a little bit too much citrus flavor.

Muru bread

For starter restaurant served Salmon-Roach ceviche with avocado creme which was tasty but maybe again a little bit too much flavor of citrus and acidity. Roach is Finnish white meated small fish which you seldom get in restaurants; 5 points for using it. Avocado creme softened acidity and was brilliant idea to combine with ceviche.

Salmon-roach chevice

For main courses we had Veal entrecote with vegetables, chanterelles and hollandaise sauce and Roasted whitefish with globe artichoke, scalded tomatoes and fish broth.

Veal was tender and did not include fat as entrecote usually does. Sauce suited well with meat and fresh vegetables completed portion, no need for some potato serving.

Whitefish was roasted perfectly and broth suited well creating the impression of bouillabaisse.

veal entrecoteWhitefish

18 months old Gouda cheese was served before dessert with Cherry compote. As cheese was not so salty compote did not need to be so sweet. Quite simple but worked well.

Cheese in Muru

For dessert menu included Cake made from almond flour, berry sauce and ice-cream or sorbet. Delicious ensamble which melted in your mouth, could have eaten at least three of these portions. You could find the taste of almond which of course was a big plus.


Can tell only briefly about the wines because did not write down the names except one.

Ciclope Rosso Toscano 2008 was served with the veal and it comes from Italy, Candialle winery owned by Finnish Jaakko Peränen. Paired well with meat and actually with gouda but because of amount of Merlot grape 50% would not recommend for aperitif. Unfotunately not available in Alko’s.

For ceviche, Italian white wine. For fish the choise was Savignon Blanc which is not our favourite grape. With dessert had glass of sweet wine, which paired perfectly with cake.

WinesRed wine

No wonder Muru is popular. Excellent food and service plus cozy and relaxed athmosphere. If wines would be more affordable overall grade would be 5 and exceed food and service grades also partly because of unique business idea.

However, with these points, Muru goes directly to shared first place 2013. Rankings can be found on page Restaurant Reviews.


PS. Name Muru means Sugar or Crumb in English.


Restaurant review: Valo (Savonlinna)

22 07 2013

Restaurant Valo

Dined at restaurant Valo the third year in a row, is it becoming a habit?  Because one has to dine outside in order to be able observe opera guests walking to Savonlinna castle 200 meters from Valo restaurant, it would be important to have a 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 are names of local producers on the a la carte list.

Started the dinner with Saimaa duo Perch terrine, pike perch tartar and fennel salad. Really fresh, tartar was best part of the portion. Terrine was a little bit dry. Remembering last visits, think the portions were now smaller…

Saimaa duo

For main courses had Wild boar and pork cheek Overnight braised wild boar belly and pork cheek, pomme anna with sautéed chorizo and white cabbage and bbq sauce. Wild board was perfectly tender as it has been cooked enough long. Portion had been changed as there was no chorizo in potatoes neither bbq sauce. The name of portion was the same as last year but it was then better. Also had Pike perch from Saimaa Pan fried pike perch with salmon raviolis and creamed leek which was pimped by request and side dishes replaced by vegetables and olive oil. Fish was a little bit over fried and therefore dry.

Meat in ValoPike perch in Valo

For desserts had Chocolate cake Chocolate cake with strawberry filling and vanilla ice- cream but shared the portion. Again quite small dish but delicious.

Because of excellent location and athmosphere overall grade would have exceed food and service grades. But unfortunately this year weather did not favor us; therefore same grade. Without heaters it would have been too cold to eat outside.

Wine list is short and includes only one rose wine, shiraz from JACOB´S CREEK. Wineyard was well presented as there was red, white and sparkling wines available.

Rose wine


Restaurant Valo

Restaurant review: Muikku Terrace (Savonlinna)

21 07 2013

Sokos Hotel Seurahuone Savonlinna

Muikku Terrace in Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone offers views over the Saimaa lake, the Savonlinna Market Square and the town. On the terrace in the 6th floor main food portions are vendaces (muikku in Finnish), which are fried in lots of butter. This used to be problem because the whole place was covered with grease. Due to that we have avoided Muikku Terrace but decided to try it now because we stayed at the hotel. Luckily there was less grease in the restaurant this time.

Muikku Terrace

The hotel itself used to be independent but was acquired a year ago by local cooperative business and was changed to Sokos hotel.

Restaurant is open only in the summer time and really popular during Opera Festival period in July. You can not make table reservation, just wait for free table as many has to do. Savonlinna Opera Festival is phenomenom and in some areas beats Verona. Recommend to visit if you are travelling in Finland.

You can choose from Muikku’s on wooden platter with lemon, salad and a baked potato or Muikku’s on wooden platter with lemon without side dishes. Ordered both of them.

Muikku platterMuikku platter

Not so impressive, best part was baked potato with sauce. Vendaces were crisp but would have required more salt. Amount of vendaces was enough to take your hunger away. Service was relaxed and quick. Anyway, Muikku Terrace is in a way must place to visit in Savonlinna. You can also try vendaces at Market Square which is really popular on summer sunny days.



Wine review: Champagne Joseph Perrier Cuvee Royale Rose Brut, NV

11 07 2013

Rose Champagne

The rose wines of Champagne (also known as Pink Champagne) are produced either by leaving the clear juice of black grapes to macerate on its skins for a brief time (known as the saigneé method) or, more commonly, by adding a small amount of still Pinot noir red wine to the sparkling wine cuvee.

Champagne Joseph Perrier Cuvee Royale Brut Rose is the summer Champagne. Wine consists of two grape varieties; 25% Chardonnay and 75% Pinot noir. As amount of Chardonnay is so small, it also tells about the “quality” of wine. However, this rose wine was pleasant surprise.


Orange/salmon rose, touched by light, an arresting sparkle. However, the amount of bubbles is modest which can clearly seen in the pictures.

BUT, take a notice of water like color when pouring the wine into the glass! No photoshopping, maybe it is due to sun shine.

Boat and ChampagneJP rose


Scent of rasberries and blackberries, but really lightly. Not so usual champagne bouquet partly because of so slight odor


Pleasant champagne taste with some orange and peach. Wine is really light because of lack of acidity and small amount of bubbles

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 12,00 %
Extract : 30 g/l
Acidity: 6,7 g/l
Sugar: 10 g/l
Energy : 80 kcal/100 ml (330 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

Grade is partly based on good company, sunny weather and strawberries which paired perfectly for this wine. Recommend to enjoy in the summer, other seasons might require a little bit more full bodied champagne. Excellent aperitif but also pairs with pasta, chicken, white meated fish and even with desserts although wine is dry (brut). Joseph Perrier Cuvee Royale Brut Rose, NV is not available at Finland Alko’s so you need to purchase it from tax free shops at the airport or ships cruising between Helsinki-Tallinn or Helsinki-Stockholm.


Joseph Perrier rose

Restaurant review: Saari

7 07 2013

Restaurant Saari

Restaurant Saari is located on the island Sirpalesaari about 1 km from the centre of Helsinki. Saari provides Finnish delicacies of the season from land and sea as well as stunning views and genuine maritime atmosphere.  A boat serves the island every hour and half from the Saari pier located on the shore of Merisatama close to Cafe Carusel. The crossing takes only a couple of minutes. Also a few berths are available for guests arriving at the restaurant aboard with their own boats. You can dine either in the dining room inside, in the “Captain’s Cabin” of the private room Sampo or on the outdoor terrace.

Restaurant Saari

Restaurant Saari


Because have enjoyed restaurant starter speciality couple of times before decided to compare portion to previous visits. Starter is called The secrets of Sirpalesaari island An assortment of Saari’s best appetizers (served 2 or more person).

Quite expensive starter but you do not necessarily need to eat main course if you are not starving. 4 person portion included this time spiced salmon, two herrings, pork loin, elk sausage, duck breast, new potatoes, salad, cheese, marinated onion and mushroom salad. Again cheerful assortment which did not let down. Whole serving was tasty and well prapared.

Restaurant Saari

For main courses ordered Fish catch of the day and Entrecôte of Åland lamb braised in rosemary stock warm salad of summer vegetables and marjoram sauce.

Fish was whitefish with barley risotto and mushroom sauce. Fish was a little bit over cooked and risotto included too much leek. Lamb was better than entrecote because there was almost none grease. Meat was really tender and side dishes matched well with the lamb.

Whitefish at SaariLamb at Saari

For desserts had An assortment of cheeses from small Finnish cheese producers with Åby manor’s crisp bread and season’s fruit or berry compot and Saari’s traditional pine tar ice cream home-made blueberry and raspberry jam, oat bisquit (classic dish since 2000). Peltola Blue cheese (similar to roquefort) was the best piece of cheeses which also included goat cheese and gryerere with buckthorn compot. Ice cream was pimped by request and jam was replaced with fresh strawberries, really tasty.

CheesesIce cream

Be sure not to anger connection boat driver, if you come with your own boat. Because of variable weather restaurant had decided not to serve outside which was a little bit dissappointment. At least starter would have been nice to eat at the terrace, but rain would have interrupted dinner later. However choose Saari instead of Saaristo if you want to enjoy good food in a relaxed athmosphere. Especially starter we had is worth to try.



You can also find summary of island restaurants via

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