Restaurant review: El Cafe de Bolsa – Malaga, Spain

28 05 2014

El Cafe de Bolsa - reijosfood.com

El café de Bolsa is located at hotel Molina Lario serving hotel guests with breakfast, lunch or dinner. It has two different atmospheres: an interior space and an exterior courtyard. In both spaces you can taste Spanish cuisine, modern and up-to-date with Andalousian roots. 

We had breakfast each morning at the restaurant, but also tried lunch in order to evaluate it better. We were only ones having lunch at dining room, couple people seemed to eat something at patio.

Promising start was small delicious green olives which were brought to the table. Unfortunately this was the best part of visit.

Olives at Cafe de Bolsa - reijosfood.com

Our intention was to try 3-4 different half portion starters/tapas. We chose four but after placing the order waiter seem to be apalled and said loud “That is too much!”. Well, if that would be too much (of course we would not have emptied all plates), then we should have to settle for two.

We ordered Potato salad with “pil pil” prawns and maynonnese and Iberian serrano ham croquettes with marinated onions.

Potato salad was greasy and seemed to have extra oil. Prawns were soft which meant that they were not enough fresh. Second best part of the lunch were croquettes, they actually were tasty.

Potato salad at Cafe de Bolsa - reijosfood.comCroquettes at Cafe de Bolsa - reijosfood.com

Four main courses had Sea bass with small dried tomatoes served with lemon and thyme sauce and Beef tenderloin, potato and vegetable cake, mushrooms and foie gras sauce.

Fish was over cooked and portion included too much sauce. Beef was dry, almost well-done although asked medium. Side dishes were not so palatable as name of the portion let you imagine.

Sea bass at Cafe de Bolsa - reijosfood.comBeef tenderloin at Cafe de Bolsa - reijosfood.com

El Cafe de Bolsa tries to serve also customers who do not stay at the hotel, it even has own web site. However, it is difficult to develop kitchen for other purposes than breakfast and business usage, if you do not have enough customers providing feedback. Modern interior, delicious breakfast and hotel itself raises overall grade.

REVIEW: FOOD 2/5 – SERVICE 3/5 – OVERALL GRADE 3+/5

http://www.cafedebolsa.com/en





Restaurant review: Toscanini

25 05 2014

Campari Soda at Toscanini - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Toscanini has received its relaxed atmosphere from Tuscany, Italy. Menu is based on essential elements of Italian kitchen, such as olive oil, herbs, tomatoes and Tuscan cheeses and cold cuts. In addition, bread is baked daily by restaurants own baker, or is it?

Location is perfect, almost opposite of Svenska Teatern and Stockmann. Famous BW- restaurants, Gaijin and Boulevard Social are neighbors. Being part of Klaus K hotel means that many of the dining customers also enjoy luxorious hotel premises. Design hotel with white decoration in the lobby. Klaus K and it’s restaurants were recently acquired by Kämp Group which might have been the reason for lame service.

Toscanini - reijosfood.com

Because of excellent weather we had late lunch at the terrace. No one wants to eat in as you can see from the picture above.

Started lunch with Campari Sodas which is always appropriate way to lead to the right mood. Bread basket came right away after ordering; foccaccia was not as fresh as it should have been, but tapenade was delicious.

Bread basket at Toscanini - reijosfood.com

Lunch started with Antipasto variety for two including two type of salami’s, parmesan cheese, small olives, artichokes, grilled sweet peppers and mushrooms.

If restaurant is Italian, it can not flop in serving traditional Italian starters. Nor did Toscanini. Everything on the plate was perfect, fresh and you could imagine to be in Tuscany.

Antipasto at Toscanini - reijosfood.com

For main courses we had Sautéed fillet of cod with seafood flavoured Nerone rice and Braised lamb neck with fried lemon polenta and Marsala sauce.

Unfortunately these portions brought us back to Helsinki and Bulevardi. Cod was way too much over-salted but shrimps and octopus pieces in rice compensated a little bit. Lamb was tender but dry and it seemed that salt had been completely forgotten. Wonder if polenta had been prepared at the restaurant kitchen, because it tasted and felt like industrialized product?

Cold at Toscanini - reijosfood.comLamb neck at Toscanini - reijosfood.com

Service was this time the weakest link. We have been at Toscanini several times before, but now there were too many failures.

We had to order mineral water twice, had to remind waiter to bring wine glasses (soave and chianti of course) we had ordered and never got menu back again in order to be able choose desserts. Therefore just ordered coffees and chardonnay grappa. As I wrote earlier company has new owner, which may have impacted to the service, if employees are worried about restaurant’s future.

Toscanini used to participate in Taste of Helsinki, but not this year. Will miss tiramisu they have served there.

Grappa at Toscanini - reijosfood.com

It is always great to eat outdoors, at nice terrace, therefore overall grade is higher.

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





Wine review: Wolfberger Riesling-Pinot Gris 2012 – dry or semi-dry?

24 05 2014

Wolfberger - reijosfood.com

Semi-dry or semi-sweet wine? If the amount of sugar is 8 g/l what kind of scale there is on the label? Maybe someone knows better?

Wolfberger is cooperative in Alsace established 1902. It is located in Colmar, Eguisheim south-west of the city. Wolfberger annually produces about 13 million bottles of wine. The size of wineyard is about 1 200 hectares.

Wolfberger Riesling-Pinot Gris 2012 has been blended with Riesling (60%) and Pinot Gris (40%) grapes. Wine got certificate of honor in Series 08: the white wines, the price of over 11 in “Wines of the Year 2014” competition. This is maybe the most known Finnish competition for wines. http://www.vuodenviinit.fi/en/

THE LOOK

Light yellow with strong shade of green

THE NOSE

More Pinot Gris than Riesling although it should be opposite; slightly flowery bouquet, similar to citrus and ripe green apples

THE TASTE

Quite dry, lightly tart, ripe citrus, peach, pale floral and light minerals

Wolfberger - reijosfood.com

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 12,50 %
Extract: 27 g/l
Acidity: 7,5 g/l
Sugar: 8 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal / 100 ml (340 kJ / 100 ml)
Closure: metal screw cap

Wine paired with Italian food nicely. We had bruschetta with fresh tomato slices and chicken pasta with cream-honey-spices sauce and blue cheese. Also suits well with fish and shellfish.

Bruschetta - reijosfood.comPasta - reijosfood.com

Misleading information on the label may make you purchase more dry wine you planned. Therefore points drop a little bit lower than wine would otherwise earn.

OVERALL GRADE 3+/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++/+++

http://www.wolfberger.com/

 





Taste of Helsinki 2014 – Picnic with a difference

22 05 2014

Taste of Helsinki will be arranged 3rd time on 12-15.06.2014 in Helsinki. This will also be the 3rd time we shall visit the event.

Taste of Helsinki is a culinary festival, which takes you on a journey through the gourmet flavours of the city. It is also unique chance to get familiar with fine dining restaurants at the same time without paying high prices for gourmet food. But after you have tasted portions available, you might want to visit one or two of them.

Last year our favorite portions were:

SALMON from Rørvik with spring potatoes from Merimasku (restaurant Olo)

Taste of Helsinki (Olo) - reijosfood.com

NECK OF WILD BOAR with false morel pie and sauce of raspberry leaves (restaurant Juuri)

Taste of Helsinki (Juuri) - reijosfood.com

This year following restaurants will participate Taste of Helsinki:

Ask (1 Michelin star and restaurant of the year 2014)

Bertha (fine dining at Tampere)

Demo (1 Michelin star)

Emo (Michelin Bib Gourmand)

Farang (Michelin Bib Gourmand)

Juuri (Finnish restaurant, restaurant of the year 2010)

Kaartin Hodari & Hummeri (gourmet hot dogs)

Bistro o Mat (fine dining at Kirkkonummi)

Postres (1 Michelin star)

Sami Tallberg (herb specialist chef)

Smakbyn Åland (fine dining at Åland)

Yes, you see exactly right. 3 out of 5 (no, the amount is 6) Michelin star restaurants in Helsinki will participate!

If you do not yet have tickets, you better purchase them soon. You do not want to miss this picnic! Anyway, post will follow after event.

http://www.tasteofhelsinki.fi/en

 

 





Review: Spaghetti Opera – Show & Dinner

18 05 2014

Spaghetti Opera - reijosfood.com

Humorous Spaghetti Opera is three-course meal and show package which is presented at Helsinki Music Centre (Musiikkitalo). Spaghetti Opera twists and turns of the winding up of Mozart’s opera buffetstyle. At that time, the opera was a popular entertainment, listened with picnic baskets or sitting at the dinner tables.

The music in show was gathered from known and most popular opera songs like Mozart and Vivaldi, and they are song in the original Italian, as well as a fun, musical re-Finnish translations. Presentation costumes and expression takes out the most of the opera world’s delicious clichés.

Simple buffet included following dishes:

Prawns fried in garlic butter on the rocketmelon salad, lemon aioli

Roasted red peppers, asparagus salad, pecorino cheese

Airdried pork neck ravioli salad

Ciabatta and foccacia, tapenade
• • • • •
Chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella, tomato and white wine sauce

Sliced ​​potatoes seasoned with sage

Roasted spring onions and carrots
• • • • •
Tiramisu and coffee / tea

Food itself was quite OK. Salads were fresh and olive tapenade excellent. Chicken was a little bit dry, but it is difficult to prepare it for buffet because it might stay too long in the heater. Tiramisu was sweet and moist like it should be. We also got lactose-free cake instead of tiramisu which demonstrated flexibility of kitchen.

There were some differences on the serving table compared to menu. Could not find lemon aioli, think is should have been in separate bowl. Only ciabatta, at least we did see any foccaccia. Chicken breast was not stuffed with mozzarella, some cheese might have been on the top of chicken.

Starters at Musiikkitalo - reijosfood.comStarters at Musiikkitalo - reijosfood.comMain course at Musiikkitalo - reijosfood.comDessert at Musiikkitalo - reijosfood.comTiramisu at Musiikkitalo - reijosfood.com

Show was brilliant! Story was about dandy and two sisters in triangle drama. Snobbish dandy role was played credibly and with talent. He tried to dupe two sisters but they set up trap and dandy was beaten. Actors or singers were from music theatre Kapsäkki which is coalition of actors and singers.

Opera at Musiikkitalo - reijosfood.comOpera at Musiikkitalo - reijosfood.comSpaghettiooppera - reijosfood.comOpera at Musiikkitalo - reijosfood.comimage

Wine list was so short that we could not find white (2) or red (2) wine to accompany food. Therefore only option was to order cava which suited for dinner enough well. Unfortunately restaurant did not know how cava should be served because we had to ask for cooler. Other diners drinking cava just settled for warming up their cava bottle on the table. And the “cooler” which we got, was actually red wine pitcher. There was some ice at the bottom of “cooler” but cava bottle did not even touch ice cubes.

Campo Viejo cava - reijosfood.com

There are couple of theatre restaurants serving dinner during show but frivolous opera is refreshing way to replace theatrical presentation.

When serving improves this may be hit in the future. Vodka Martini for aperitif was served in wine class, already told about the cooler, …. But part of clumsiness was compensated by not taking charge of aperitifs. Therefore overall grade is 4 and show earns anyway 4,5.

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

http://www.musiikkitalo.fi/en





Restaurant review: La Reserva 12 – Malaga, Spain

16 05 2014

Cava at La reserva 12 - reijosfood.com

La Reserva 12, located in the center of Malaga, next to the Larios Street, Constitution Square, the Picasso Museum and the Thyssen Museum, is qenuine Spanish restaurant.

Restaurant has terrace, which seemed to be always reserved during lunch and dinner times, stylish tapas bar and dining rooms at the 2nd floor. You can see after stepping in that you have entered into fish restaurant. That might be the reason why locals enjoyed the place. We did not see any tourists in this restaurant during our dinner neither at the terrace when we passed it by several times during our stay in Malaga.

La reserva 12 - reijosfood.com

First of all you must order cava, if you dine at Spanish restaurant. Actually we tried to order Gramona III Lustros, but it was finished. That dropped overall grade right away. Instead we had Gramona Imperial which was anyway good choice. You can buy that also from Alko stores in Finland, but it costs more than in this stylish restaurant (VAT….). Cava is made from Xarel.lo, Macabeo and Chardonnay grapes; Chardonnay makes the cava taste balanced and therefore extremely enjoyable.

For starters we ordered Spanish Potato Salad with Prawns – Ensaladilla Rusa con Langostinos and Baby Squid – Calamaritos.

Potato salad was excellent and it really included prawns. At restaurant reviewed in coming post we had totally different portion. For one person amount of mayonnaise would have been too much but as we shared starters, no problem with that.

Baby squids were hot, fresh, crisp and tasty; just as they should be. Some lemon drops on top of calmaritos and plate was quickly emptied. Excellent kick-off for the dinner.

Potato salad at La reseva 12 - reijosfood.comSole at La reserva 12 - reijosfood.com

For main course ordered two Grilled Sole – Lenguado a la Plancha portions which is always easier for the kitchen.

Fish was also delicious, perfectly fried and no sauce at all to ruin it. Side dishes were simple but as sole is also quite simple, and also easiest fish to get rid of fish bones, they paired well. Starters were quite big, so it was easy decision to focus on fish.

Sole at La reserva 21 - reijosfood.com

This time no dessert as it was quite late and starters made their job.

Our hotel (Molina Lario) was only few steps away from La Reserva 12. First we wondered, if restaurant just placed reserved signs on the table in order to bluff, but every day all tables were occupied by diners at lunch and dinner times. Also tapas bar seemed to be crowded, especially in the evenings.

Pictures are taken at times when dinner time has not yet started and after it. Finns usually eat a little bit earlier than rest of the Europe.

Restaurant La reserva 12 - reijosdfood.comTapas bar La reserva 12 - reijosfood.comLa reserva 12 - reijosfood.com

La Reserva 12 is right place if you are looking for genuine Spanish athmosphere and Spanish dishes. You will not see tourists like in almost every other restaurant or tapas bar near pedestrian precinct and old town.

Service was a little bit rigid but polite. I believe restaurant tried their best in the dining rooms also when it comes to interior; and as a matter in fact they managed quite well. Worth to visit, if you are in Malaga.

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

http://www.restaurantelareserva12.com/EN





Restaurant review: Rikhards Gastropub – Chef Hans Välimäki is back!

13 05 2014

Starters at Rikhards - reijosfood.com

2 Michelin star chef Hans Välimäki is back in business with new restaurant concept. Restaurants were opened early May in the same building where Chez Domique located.

Välimäki is fine dining restaurant with only 8 seats and Rikhards Gastropub more casual place, but with a touch of gourmet. As we received early warning that bookings can be made, we managed to get table less than two weeks from opening of Rikhards.

Decoration of Rikhards Gastropub is like name indicates; pub-styled, masculine and a little bit gloomy. Customers had not yet totally found restaurant, as there were empty tables in the late evening.

Restaurant Välimäki was behind closed doors, but it seemed to be booked-up. 1st Tasting menu with wines costs there a little bit over 300€ per person.

Rikhards Gastropub - reijosfood.comRikhards Gastropub - reijosfood.com

For starters decided to try 4 different portions: ”BAGNA GAUDA” Tarragon & watercress dip w/ season’s vegetables à la Master Ducasse…, ”POP CORN” Seaweed & chicken skin served with sesame, soy & truffle sour cream, SPICY CHICKEN WINGS (HV´S CHICKEN BASKET) Served glazed with kimchi mayonnaise. “Sticky fingers…” and NEW POTATOES WITH HAUGESUND HERRING New potatoes, dill butter & herring caviar.

Waiter suggested to start with “Pop Corn” which was brilliant idea. The dish, you can not get in any other restaurant, was extremely interesting; tasted like pop corn but fortunately impossible to find out taste of chicken skin. Eaten with fingers this starter with dips was excellent. “Pop Corn”, would say is more or less appetizer, because you do not seem to eat anything, threfore it requires another starter to accompany.

Then we tasted herring caviar with potatoes. Caviar was hidden under the potatoes and “oh boy” it was delicious. Must have been smash hit on May Day lunch! As starter has three potatoes, you would not necessarily need to order any other starters.

Then chicken wings, suitably spicy and not too sweet; with mayonnaise really scrumptious combination. Ended starters with fresh vegetables; again the dip was excellent.

Pop Corn at Rikhards - reijosfood.com

Haugesund herring at Rikhards - reijosfood.comChicken wings at Rikhards - reijosfood.comBagna Gauda at Rikhards - reijosfood.com

For main courses we had ”BANGERS & MASH” Salsiccia sausages with potato mash, cucumber & gravy of course… and TORSKRYGG A Swedish classic: codfish seared in brown butter, egg, shrimps, horseradish & velouté sauce w/ dill & mussel.

Three big, luscious and suitably flavored Italian sausages where on the top of mashed potatoes. Must say that if you want to eat all three, take light starter. One mistake was that cucumbers were forgotten, which made the portion look really simple.

Codfish was also delicious. However, the amount of sauce could have been smaller. It seems that main courses are quite sturdy, which suits to the concept.

Bangers & Mash - reijosfood.comTorskrygg at Rikhards - reijosfood.com

After Salsiccia sausages (could not eat all three) and codfish still had to try desserts and ordered KAKKUPALA Piece of cake with the sauce you wish and ICE CREAM & SORBETS.

Lemon tart (Kakkupala) was perfect, especially meringue made in the restaurant kitchen, was great. Ordered first toffee ice-cream, but as it was too salty for dessert and got vanilla ice-cream instead.

Lemon tart at Rikhards - reijosfood.comToffee ice-cream at Rikhards - reijosfood.comVanilla ice-cream at Rikhards - reijosfood.com

Food in Rikhards Gastropub is excellent. Hans Välimäki fills the bill which might be quite high due to his previous success. Without those two small slip up’s (forgotten cucumber and toffee ice-cream), food grade would have been close to 5.

Service was professional and polite. I have seen too often hypocritical, over-lively service leaving sometimes feeling you are treated like a child. Here it was better.

Overall grade would be higher, if pub interior would be more soft. And when confirming reservation, restaurant mentioned that table is reserved for 2 hours, which is quite short time for aperitifs, 3 course meal and coffees. 2 1/2 hours would be worth of 4,5 out of 5.

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

http://www.rikhards.fi/

 








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