Restaurant review: Presto – A mangiare!

29 03 2014

Aperol Spritz at Presto - reijosfood.com

Italian restaurant Presto was opened on the 19th February, 2014. Restaurant concept consists of trattoria, caffe bar, prosecco lounge and shop.

Location is excellent, next to the Espa (Park Esplanade) and in the same building as restaurant Savoy. Presto replaced at the same time restaurant Katsomo, which used to serve Savoy theatre customers.

You can find traditional Italian dishes from the a la carte list like bruschetta, pasta, risotto and pizza. One speciality are mozzarella starters, which are served on a wooden plate with side dishes like salami, bresaola or parma ham.

Best way to evaluate the level of Italian kitchen in Finnish restaurant is to try those traditional dishes.

Started the dinner with Aperol Spritz, glass of Prosecco and excellent Focaccia, which was served after placing the order. First restaurant in Helsinki in which I have seen serving Aperol Spritz as aperitif and it is on the drinks menu. Unfortunately it was too dry, not enough Aperol.

Foccacia at Presto - reijosfoo.comAperol Spritz at Presto - reijosfood.com

Continued with Italian trattoria dishes and ordered for starters Bruschette with Bresaola and from Mozzarella bar Mozzarella di Bufala with artichokes and olives. We did not choose any cold meats with Mozzarella, as we had Bresaola with traditional bread.

Bruschettas were excellent and pieces of Bresaola tender. Could not be better in Italy. Also Mozzarella with side dishes was enjoyable. Soft and moist cheese comes from Italy; therefore difficult to screw up. Some restaurants use mozzarella made from cow milk and that is inexcusable.

Mozzarella at Presto - reijosfood.comBruschette at Presto - reijosfood.com

For main courses chose Pasta Orecchiette all’arrabiata Pasta with spicy tomato sauce and Salsiccia sausage and Melanzane alla Parmigiana Eggplant casserole.

As pasta’s and one risotto are not listed as “Primi Piatti”, expectation was that they would be enough big to be main courses. Pasta was enough big, but unfortunately it did not meet Italian pasta requirements. Tomato sauce was not enough spicy and it lacked sweetness. Or at least sausages should have been spicy, if sauce was not. Eggplant casserole was luckily delicious which compensated dissappointment is pasta.

Pasta at Presto - reijosfood.comEggplant casserole at Presto - reijosfood.com

Had to try desserts and selected from the list Torta alla Presto Pie of the day and Gelato Self-made ice-creams.

Both were mouth-watering! Lemon pie was really delicous and Peanut ice-cream and Cherry ice-cream one of the best ever tasted. It is possible just to drop by for espresso and dessert, which we shall certainly do.

Lemon Pie at Presto - reijosfood.comIce-cream at Presto - reijosfood.com

Presto claims to be trattoria, not ristorante, which is true. Recommend to ask table downstairs or from the small plateau between ground and second floor. You can see Park Esplanade plus downstairs is anyway more lively. Trattoria is on the second floor. Choose that if you want to eat at more restful dining room.

Prosecco Lounge in the 3rd floor has special hours between 16.00 – 18.00 on work days, but is is mainly reserved for theatre visitors. It was empty when we checked it at about 22.00 on Friday evening. The decor is the same as it was in restaurant Katsomo, not Italian type. If you take a closer look at the figures in the pictures on the wall, you might found some interesting.

Presto - reijosfood.comPresto bar - reijosfood.comProsecco Lounge at Presto - reijosfood.comDecor at Presto Prosecco Lounge - reijosfood.com

If pasta would have been better, Presto would have got 4 for food grade.  Higher overall grade 4+ comes because of nice concept which has not actually existed in Helsinki before, when it comes to Italian kitchen. Reasonably priced fresh and delicious food (most of them) in an relaxed athmosphere.

Wine list is short but again prices for wine glasses are reasonable. Some local, so called Italian restaurants, serve wine from barrels with low prices but the quality of wines is lousy. Presto serves proper Italian wines, no reason not to choose house wines.

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

http://www.ravintolapresto.fi/

https://www.facebook.com/prestohelsinki





Summer drink Aperol Spritz arrived in Helsinki

24 03 2014

Aperol Spritz - reijosfood.com

Amazing coinsidence, was able to taste Aperol Spritz same day in two different places…..but where?

Aperol Spritz is Italian drink and aperitif which became famous already in 1950’s. When preparing drink, it is important to mix it with right amount of beverages. If you add too much Aperol, drink will be too sweet. On the other hand insufficient amount of aperitif makes Spritz too dry. So, below you can find instructions:

Add ice to fill red wine  glass or tumbler

Add 3 parts of Prosecco

Add 2 parts of Aperol

Add 1 part of Soda

Mix with a long spoon

Serve immediately

Enjoy!

First Aperol Spritz of the day was tasted at Wine Expo 2014. Importer had they own stand which was refreshingly colored compared to other “standard” stands. Drink was excellent but maybe a little bit sweet, a dash too much Aperol.

Aperol Spritz at Viini Expo 2014 - reijosfood.com

Second Aperol Spritz of the day was enjoyed at new Italian restaurant Presto (review follows later). This time the drink was much too dry, almost could not taste Aperol at all. I think the mix must have been prepared by using formula 3/1/1, which is the ratio in some incorrect recipes.

Aperol Spritz at Presto - reijosfood.comAperol Spritz at Presto - reijosfood.com

As Aperol is not so strong it really is excellent summer refresher, alternative for Cava Sangria. When you add ice and soda, alcoholicity is less than in glass of wine, under 10%.

In order to get the most out of the drink, it must be mixed properly. Otherwise it does not make sense to ruin prosecco with add on’s.

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 11,00 %
Extract: 250 g/l
Sugar: 250 g/l
Energy: 160 kcal / 100 ml (670 kJ / 100 ml)
Closure: metal screw cap

http://www.aperol.com/int/en/aperol-spritz/aperol-spritz/ready_to_spritz





Wine Expo 2014 in Helsinki – Champagne tasting hour

22 03 2014

Champagne tasting - reijosfood.com

Wine Expo (Viini Expo) is arranged every two years in Messukeskus Helsinki, Expo and Convention Centre. When noticed there would be opportunity for champagne tasting on Friday, signed up right away.

Tasting event was guided by Andreas Larsson, Best Sommelier of the World 2007 and Finnish Essi Avellan, MW. Essi Avellan specializes in champagnes. Her appreciation reflects in the fact that she very recently appeared in Christie‘s world encyclopedia of champagne & sparkling wine book. To do the revision of the third edition, writer Tom Stevenson chose Essi Avellan, the second person from the Nordic countries to gain the coveted Master of Wine qualification. http://www.essiavellan.com/.

Essi Avellan - reijosfood.com

Tasted champagnes and short notes:

Champagnes - reijosfood.com

Ayala Brut Nature (NV)

Really dry, no sugar (zero dosage), 50% Pinot Noir grape – because of dryness and amount of PN grape, bouquet and palate not in balance, even disturbing (would not buy)

Overall grade: 2,5/5

Henriot Blanc De Blancs (NV)

Brut, less than 10g/l dosage, 100% Chardonnay grape – balanced aroma and taste, blanc de blancs is always structured (would buy, affordable price compared to what you get)

Overall grade: 4/5

Henriot - reijosfood.com

G.H.Mumm Bland De Blancs – Mumm de Cremant (V)

Brut, Grand Cru Prestige Cuvee, 100% Chardonnay grape – luxorious style, bouquet and flavor in equilibrium, blanc de blancs continues the triumph (must buy)

Overall grade: 4,5/5

Mumm Blanc de blancs - reijosfood.com

Pol Roger 2002 (V)

Extra Cuvee de Reserve, Blanc De Blancs (100% Chardonnay grape) – precious, balanced bouquet and palate as blanc de blancs typically have (would buy)

Overall grade: 4/5

Pol Roger 2002 - reijosfood.com

Henriot Millesime 2005 (V)

Blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grape, dosage less than 10g/l – elegant on the nose and on the palate, PN brings out some side bouquet but does not disturb in taste (would consider a little bit because of the price tag)

Overall grade 4-/5

Henriot Millesime 2005 - reijosfood.com

Laurent-Perrier Cuvee Rose

Color of the bottle label reflects the 100% Pinot Noir grape used, method used takes best out of this grape – best rose tasted so far, elegant color, fresh bouquet, fruity taste (must buy – our opinion: best of all tasted champagnes)

Overall grade: 5-/5

Laurent-Perrier rose - reijosfood.com

All champagnes were tasted in an hour, which was a little bit short time to really dig in. Serving temperatures were perfect because each champagne was poured one by one in glasses. Both presenters were professionals, no doubt about that.

Tasting room was half empty or half full (like wine glass can be). Maybe the time 6PM on Friday was not the best one, but at least we enjoyed tasting champagnes and listening interesting facts and backgrounds of the wines.

Champagne glasses - reijosfood.comChampagne at Viini Expo - reijosfood.com





Wine review: Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte Brut – keenly priced champagne in certain Helsinki restaurants

16 03 2014

Nicolas Fauillatte - reijosfood.com

HOK-Elanto restaurants have tempting offer which is valid until 31.3.2014. A bottle of champagne for 37€, which is the cheapest price for bottle ever seen at restaurants in Helsinki.

Last year same restaurants offered the whole year bottle of champagne at a price of 39€.

Promoted champagne was Nicolas Feuillatte Brut which is basic champagne from Centre Vinicole-Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte uniting 82 cooperatives in Champagne.

The non-vintage Brut Champagne is aged for at least 2 years in cellars. Wine is made from Chardonnay 20%, Pinot Noir 40% and Pinot Meunier 40%.

THE LOOK

The color of wine is pale yellow and you can see a ribbon of fine and delicate bubbles

Champagne - reijosfood.com

THE NOSE

Whitefruit aromas like apple and pear brought in mind Solero ice-cream/sorbet from the childhood, the sorbet part of it

THE TASTE

Delicate taste with same fruits which were already sensed with nose. Mixed feelings because of temperature of the wine, it was too warm. Wine was tasted at restaurant Kaarna lounge bar.

The problem with these offers has been that champagne is stored in too warm wine cabinet. So when it is served you can not find the best palate out of it. Difficult to say if this champagne would have got better points, if stored correctly, but this time it did not got more. 20% of chardonnay grape is not usually enough but typical for basic Champagnes.

Would invest a little bit more and buy Reserve or Grande Reserve if considering Nicolas Feuillatte to be enjoyed at home

OVERALL REVIEW 3-/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ( restaurant price) +++ / +++

http://www.hok-elanto.fi/syo-ja-juo/ravintoloiden-edut/nicolas-feuillatte/

http://www.nicolas-feuillatte.com/en/home





Guide Michelin: Bib Gourmand designated restaurants in Helsinki

14 03 2014

What is Bib Gourmand restaurant?

The Bib Gourmand designation denotes good cuisine at a reasonable price in a variety of comfort categories. Defined as “Inspectors’ Favorites for Good Value,” Bib Gourmand restaurants offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (tax and gratuity not included), and are often of most value to a city’s residents, who regularly dine in neighborhood restaurants” (source: Guide Michelin)

Restaurants with Bib Gourmand designation 2014 in Helsinki are:

Boulevard Social http://boulevardsocial.fi/en/ (NEW!)

Not visited

Farang https://reijosfood.com/?s=Farang

Farang - reijosfood.comFarang - reijosfood.com

Gaijin https://reijosfood.com/?s=Gaijin

Gaijin Mussels - reijosfood.comChicken at Gaijin - reijosfood.com

Emo https://reijosfood.com/?s=Emo (NEW!)

Halibut at Emo - reijosfood.comVendaces at Emo - reijosfood.com

PureBistro https://reijosfood.com/?s=PureBistro

PureBistro - reijosfood.comPureBistro - reijosfood.com

You can find reviews of these restaurants at reijosfood.com via links.

Amazing that first three restaurants are owned by same chef’s, Tomi Björk and Matti Wiberg. They have just opened 4th restaurant Bronda, which will be reviewed by Restaurant and Wine epicure (reijosfood) in April. Maybe next year it will be designated as Bib Gourmand restaurant?

Emo and PureBistro are partly owned by Michelin star restaurant chef’s; Emo is little sister for Olo and PureBistro for Luomo.

Grotesk and Solna lost their Bib Gourmand designations.

Conclusion: 

Would say that at least 3 of the designated restaurants have earned to be on the list; Emo, Farang and PureBistro. Now that Michelin Guide have chosen 3 “ethnic” kitchens, Yume could replace Gaijin. But as it is owned by Kämp Group not by chef’s, it might be obstacle. There are also some other restaurants which could be designated like Copas y Tapas, Meche or Spis, see reviews at reijosfood.com.





Michelin star restaurants in Helsinki 2014 – two new stars!

12 03 2014

Demo - reijosfood.com

Michelin Guide announced updated list of Michelin starred restaurants  on 12th March. We have two new 1 Michelin star restaurants in Helsinki!

Ask and Chef & Sommelier got their first Michelin stars today!

Another big news last year was that 2 Michelin star restaurant Chez Dominique closed down it’s doors. Means that there are no 2 or 3 star restaurants in Finland or Helsinki.

Restaurants with 1 Michelin star in Helsinki are:

Ask, Vironkatu 8, Helsinki – http://restaurantask.com/ (NEW!)

Chef & Sommelier, Huvilakatu 28, Helsinki – http://chefetsommelier.fi/en/ (NEW!)

Demo, Uudenmaankatu 9-11, Helsinki – http://www.restaurantdemo.fi/demo

Luomo, Vironkatu 8, Helsinki – http://www.luomo.fi/en/restaurant/

Olo, Pohjoisesplanadi 5, Helsinki (changed location) – http://www.olo-restaurant.com/home.html

Postres, Eteläesplanadi 8, Helsinki – http://www.postres.fi/

Restaurant Demo - reijosfood.com

Pictures are from restaurant Demo





Restaurant review: Savoy – world’s oldest design restaurant

9 03 2014

Savoy menu - reijosfood.com

What would be the right place to celebrate International Women’s Day?

Of course legendary Restaurant Savoy, world’s oldest design restaurant, which opened it’s doors first time in 1937. Since then it has been the flagship of Finnish gastronomy and restaurant culture in Helsinki.

The dining hall of Restaurant Savoy is an important part of Finnish design history. The interior was initially designed by Aino and Alvar Aalto in cooperation with textile artist Dora Jung and the then newly established Artek. Its pure and austere minimalism has remained in vogue for decades. Our table was at the covered patio with view to Esplanade Park and hotel Kämp.

We started the dinner with glasses of Champagne Larmandier-Bernier Latitude Extra Brut. Bouquet and taste of blanc de blancs champagne were perfect, felicitous kickoff for the dining.

Champagne at Savoy - reijosfood.com

There was good sounding tasting menu available and you could also pre-order pressed grouse menu (presser in the 1st picture), but we decided to try a la carte dishes.

Dinner started with greetings from the kitchen, white bean soup, which was delicious appetizer.

White bean soup at Savoy - reijosfood.com

For starters we had Tartare of brined salmon with Finnish caviar and avocado crème and Crème Ninon with lobster and Savoy’s air-dried duck breast

Salmon tartar was basic Finnish starter, well prepared, but nothing extraordinary.

Creme Ninon, “pea soup” flavored with champagne, was poured on top of the lobster pieces and dried duck was grated after that by waitress. This starter earned 5 because it was so scrumptious and of course the looks of the portion was fabulous. Fresh peas paired extremely well with lobster and duck.

Starter at Savoy - reijosfood.comStarter at Savoy - reijosfood.com

For main courses we ordered Roasted turbot with piquillo pepper tortellini and deep-fried anchovies and Pan-fried lavaret with blue mussel cassoulet and fennel.

Both fishes were well prepared as could be expected. But as French cuisine does not save butter, they were a little bit heavy. Moussel cassoulet was garbled and there was no need for asparagus.

Portions looked again stunning, no doubt about that.

Turbot at Savoy - reijosfood.comLavaret at Savoy - reijosfood.com

After main course we still had room for desserts and ordered Triple chocolate cake with passion fruit ice cream and Baba moistened with Savoy’s honey bock and honey ice cream.

But before those dishes kitchen served pre-dessert which actually could have been one of the desserts as it was so tasty.

Dessert at Savoy - reijosfood.com

Both desserts were excellent. There were three different layers inside the chocolate cake and it’s flavor was crushing. Honey suited well with baba and it should have been prepared in the kitchen as Savoy has their own beehives at the roof terrace.

Chocolate cake at Savoy - reijosfood.comBaba at Savoy - reijosfood.com

For wine we chose Riesling Münsterer Pittersberg Trocken which paird well with starters and main courses. Not too many mineral or petrol flavor.

Restaurant Savoy has style, no doubt about that. But it’s price level is at least the same as in Michelin restaurants or even higher. Food is delicious and portions look stunning. If you like the decor and view of the Esplanade Park (but you must have table at patio) then Savoy is right restaurant for you. But at the same price level you might also enjoy food at e.g Luomo, Olo or Postres, which all are located close to the park.

Park Esplanade - reijosfood.com

Service was professional except one mistake. Ordered double espresso with dessert, waitress came back to check if it was double, but still I was served small espresso which they had to replace. If I would have been responsible for serving I would have invoiced small espresso not double or even given it for free.

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

http://www.ravintolasavoy.fi/en

Savoy - reijosfood.comSavoy entrance - reijosfood.comSavoy table - reijosfood.comSavoy vase at Savoy - reijosfood.com

You might also be interested in to get more familiar with Alvar Aalto after visiting Savoy

http://www.alvaraalto.fi/index_en.htm








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