Restaurant review: Minos – genuine Greek food

29 06 2014

Restaurant Minos is over 25 years old restaurant which serves traditional Greek food.  Clear proof of authenticity is language used by waiters/waiteresses; they talk to each other in Greek. Minos has pleasant covered terrace which can be used also in winter time, as it is heated. We always choose to dine there because you can observe by-passers at the same time. In the summer Minos has it’s own spot in popular Kamppi shopping center terrace area serving Greek wines and Mythos beer.  We started our journey to Greece there.

Unfortunately photos are not the best quality because in bright sun shine some shadows covered parts of the portions.

For starters we chose of course Tzatziki yoghurt and cucumber salad, Dolmades vine leaves stuffed with rise and herbs and this time also Tiger prawns fried with garlic, butter and white wine.

Greek starters are always delicious, still miss taramosalata from holidays, but unfortunately it is not available at Minos. Tzatziki was made from genuine Greek yoghurt, not from Finnish or German and therefore really enjoyable. You can purchase similar dolmades from supermarkets in tins but so what, they were excellent. Only three prawns 😦 could have eaten six because the cooking sauce was so scrumptious.

Starters at Minos - reijosfood.com

For main courses we had Grilled corn fed breast and halloumi cheese and Gyros grilled pork with pita bread and tzatziki.

For corn fed chicken you had to choose side dish and we chose potatoes because vegetables included too much onions.  The size of of halloumi cheese could have been bigger. Gyros in pocket bread is one of my favourites but it is also good at Minos. Of course pork is a little bit greasy but you do not eat gyros every day, do you?

Chicken at Minos - reijosfood.com

Gyros at Minos - reijosfood.com

And for dessert Your choice of hand made ice cream, vanilla, chocolate truffle or raspberry sorbet with cherry or chocolate sauce.

Sorbet was excellent, not frostwork which meant that it had been prepared at the restaurant kitchen.

Ice-cream at Minos - reijosfood.com

With food we had Greek white wine 2009 Petra, Kir-Yanni. Wine list lets you understand Petra is from 2009 but it’s vintage was 2013. Wonder why restaurant does not take the vintage away because it does not mean so much when it comes to Greek wines?

Wine at Minos - reijosfood.com

Minos is one of our favourite restaurants in Helsinki for meny reasons. We like Greek food and Minos prepares it well. All waiters and waitresses have Greek background and it is nice to hear them speaking their mother language. And dining at terrace, either under glass roof our outside is always pleasure. Therefore overall grade is high.

Note that restaurant is not open on Sundays.

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

http://minos.fi/

 





Restaurant review: Blue Peter – 2014 2nd review

26 06 2014

Dinner table with a view - reijosfood.com

I believe we dine at Blue Peter over 10 times per year and mainly in summer time. Therefore it makes sense to post a review regularly in order to confirm the level of quality. Compared to last year free salad buffet for diners is not anymore available. You need to order starter, if you want to eat such, which we anyway often did earlier despite of the buffet.

This time for starters we had Warm smoked white fish, salad and mustard-dressing and Green asparagus, Parma ham and hollandaise sauce.

You can order also this delicious salad for main course, but it suits well for starter. You seldom get white fish (lavaret) on top of salad; therefore order it, if you have a chance. Green asparagus was cooked like it should be, not too soft. Parma ham paired well as well as hollandaise but the amount of sauce was overwhelming.

Fish salad at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Green Asparagus at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

For main courses we ordered Grilled salmon, teriyaki-sauce with pumkin pyree and Cheddarburger, minced beef steak and french fries.

Salmon is always delicious and with pumkin pyre even better. Burger is one of the best in Helsinki, but has the beef steak shrinked? Must try again soon.

Fish at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Burger at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Most important, of course, are desserts. And of course Crepe, strawberry jam and vanilla ice-cream and this time also Ice-cream and berries.

As mentioned in earlier review, crepe is really scrumptious. But now Blue Peter had added lactose free vanilla ice-cream on it’s menu which was warmly welcomed by us. So far only standard ice-cream but our wish had been fulfilled.

Crepes at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Dessert at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Behind the window there were also some other diners enjoying of stand-up meal.

Blue Peter window - reijosfood.com

Friday evening when we dined at Blue Peter was one of the busiest for them. Big private party and yachtsmen enjoying dinner before weekend sailing. However, head waiter was as calm as usually and arrange us window table although had first some troubles to sit at another table. And despite the pressure in kitchen portions earned a little bit better points than in previous review, as well as overall grade.

https://reijosfood.com/2014/02/02/restaurant-review-blue-peter-all-year-round-open-yacht-club/

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

http://www.bluepeter.fi/

 

 





Champagne, F1 and Finns – what is common to these?

23 06 2014

This is not directly food or wine post but after Sundays F1 (Formula One) race, I think it is justified to highlight few facts.

First: Champagne and F1 belong together – at least on podium it is Mumm

Second: Formula One and Finnish drivers are indistinguishable – teams may change but Finns stay on the track

Third: On Sunday’s race, three Finnish F1 drivers were in TOP 10

– Nico Rosberg (1st) owns Finnish passport and his Finnish father Keke Rosberg is former F1 champion

– Valtteri Bottas (3rd) got his first podium but not the last one

– Kimi Räikkönen (10th) is former F1 champion

No wonder Finns get familiar with champagne early, including me. Short film is from last year when Kimi won one of the races, not from last Sunday. Cheers!

http://www.ghmumm.com/#/bu/formula1

 





Restaurant review: Havis – Midsummer’s Eve dinner

21 06 2014

 

Restaurant Havis - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Havis used to specialize only in seasonal Finnish and Scandinavian seafood. Restaurant consists of three different dining room styles. Dining room Havis looks as historic as building restaurant is located. Reserved window table from this room. One can see new Finnar SkyWheel at Katajanokka and old Market Hall through the windows. Vanha Kauppahalli was re-opened on the 9th June 2014 after being renovated almost 2 years.

Dining room Kitchen includes open-plan kitchen and dining room Terrace is more relaxed sheltered patio which might be cold depending on weather.

You can not call Havis fish restaurant any more, because it serves also hamburgers and caesar salads. Wider menu might be due to hotel Haven, which is a member of Small Luxury Hotel of the World. Hotel Haven is part of the same Royal Ravintolat Group as three restaurants in the same building  including Havis.

Midsummer is quiet period in Helsinki and most restaurants are closed. Partly because of this, restaurant was full of mainly tourists.

Havis had special Midsummer menu with only 2 starters, 2 main courses and 2 desserts. Almost cancelled reservation when noticed that but luckily decided to keep the reservation. We got the table we had requested, first table on the right by the window next to the entrance. Also all portions were lactose free which is still really rare. We tried all portions.

STARTERS

Asparagus soup with vendace roe

Asparagus tasted enough and structure of the soup was perfect. Green asparagus was properly cooked, not too much.

Asparagus soup at Havis - reijosfood.com

Fishplate with local fish and season potatoes

Cold fishplate included herring, baltic herring, smoked fish mousse, salmon tartar and white fish roe. Excellent assortment of Finnish fishes accompanied with new potatoes with butter and dill.

Fishplate at Havis - reijosfood.com

MAIN COURSES

Char-grilled arctic char with summer vegetables and false morel stew

Arctic char is rare fish at the restaurants which made this portion special. Summer vegetables were baby carrot, peas, green asparagus, early cabbage, potatoes, radish and cauliflower. For tourists good chance to taste fresh Finnish vegetables on one plate.

Arctic char at Havis - reijosfood.com

Roasted beef marble fillet with bean cassoulet and Bearnaise sauce

Roasting time had been consummate but unfortunately meat included parts which were chewy. Cassoulet and sauce paired well with meat as well as glass of Capitel San Rocco Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso. Wine had suitable amount of tannins but was also round at the same time.

Roasted beef at Havis - reijosfood.com

DESSERTS

Cheese selection with Havis crisp bread and compote

First of all thanks to our waiter who wrote down the names of cheeses because have to try to find Klosterkäse from Austria from supermarkets because it was really tasty. Other cheeses were Fourme Dambert from France, Capratraminer from Italy and Brie de Meaux from France which is always unbeatable white cheese. Wonder why Havis does not serve Finnish cheeses?

Cheese plate - reijosfood.com

White chocolate pannacotta with marinated strawberries

Dessert without lactose but includes milk, well done Havis!

Pannacotta at Havis - reijosfood.com

 

We had for white wine Prinz von Hessen Classic Riesling which paired well with starters and arctic char. Dry and enough minerals and acidity, not too dominant but complementary.

The old ship on the back end wall was heading to …..?

Havis dining room - reijosfood.com

Roasted beef lowered a little bit the food points but otherwise dinner was delicious. Especially using lactose free milk products is big plus. Overall grade is high because it is great that Havis is open on Midsummer’s Eve and we got exactly the table we had been requested when making on-line reservation.

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

Typical Finnish summer weather forecast: “If it does not rain, it is cloudy or sunny. Sometimes or usually all three at the same time”.

Rainbow - reijosfood.com

http://www.ravintolahavis.fi/en

https://fi-fi.facebook.com/SkywheelHelsinki

https://www.facebook.com/Vanhakauppahalli





Taittinger Champagne tasting at Taste of Helsinki

18 06 2014

Taittiger champagnes at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

If you like football and watch FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil, you should drink champagnes from Taittinger because it is official sponsor.

During Taste of Helsinki there was opportunity to participate in Taittinger champagne tasting. You must purchase tickets in advance because tasting events are so popular that they are always sold out. We almost missed opportunity becase had tickets for Friday but due to work obligation could not been able to participate. Luckily Taste of Helsinki founder Barry MacNamara personally helped us to change tickets.

We arrived early because of cold weather. Tasting pavilion was warmest place at picnic area.

Taittinger tasting at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Six different champagnes were already poured into the glasses before event opening.

Champagne glasses at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Tasting started from right to the left. Luckily we had our own bottle of San Pellegrino with us, because there was no water available. And without “cleaning” mouth between sipping different wines it makes it quite difficult task to recognize characters.

Taittinger Brut Reserve

Basic Taittinger, should be similar since 1980. 40% Chardonnay, 30 % Pinot Noir, 30 % Pinot Meunier. Amount of Chardonnay makes this wine balanced and enjoyable. Golden yellow in color. Taste is crisp and harmonious.

Taittinger Brut Millesime 2006

Strong and with lots of acidity and minerals. 50% Chardonnay, 50% Pinot Noir. Color is golden yellow. Taste is balanced but a little bit contradictory. This wine is suitable even with meats, said sommelier. Maybe have to try…..

Taittinger Prestige rose

Champagnes are classified as white wines but this wine is rarity because producer adds 15% red wine (Pinot Noir grapes). 30% Chardonnay. Vibrant pink color. Taste is fruity and fresh.

Taittinger Nocturne rose

Champagne for celebrants and after dinner. Idea for bottle design comes disco balls. 17,5 g/l dosage of sugar makes this wine sec, not brut. 30% Chadonnay, 70% Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. This wine is actually really enjoyable, can recommend.

Taittinger les Folies de la  Marquetterie

Classic wine, 45% Chardonnay, 55% Pinot Noir. This wine was not our favourite; would say price/quality ratio is suffering.

Taittinger Comptes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs 2004

Taittinger Comtes de Champagne at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Nobel blanc de blancs champagne, 100% Chardonnay. Unfortunately this was already too warm because it was tasted last. However, wine was introduced with enthusiasm.

Taittinger champagnes are elegant and suit for any occasion. It would have been nice to be able to taste enough cold drinks but as they were poured beforehand, of course they were a little bit too warm. But as the weather was so cold, it did not bother too much. And champagne tastes always as good.





Taste of Helsinki 2014 – review of tasted portions

15 06 2014

First of all big thanks to Taste of Helsinki founder Barry MacNamara for organizing ticket change from Friday to Saturday and inviting us to opening ceremony for invited guests. Due to work obligations outside Finland we had to suspend the participation by one day and therefore could not either join the opening ceremony on Thursday.

Taste of Helsinki is a culinary festival, which takes you on a journey through the gourmet flavours of some of the best restaurants in Helsinki and Finland. It is also unique chance to get familiar with fine dining restaurants at the same time without paying high prices for gourmet food. We participated third time, the same number of times the event has been organized. This year the weather has been typical Finnish summer, rainy and cold. Challenging for outdoor events.

Below you can find pictures with comments of some of the best small dishes restaurants served.

Bertha: Cod, bean, scallops 5-/5

Excellent combination, cod and scallops was served as a crispy croquette by Tampere restaurant

Bistro o Mat Anise spiced salmon at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Juuri: Terrine of cured perch 5/5

Perch is one of the best Finnish fishes and served like this on of the best portions

Juuri Terrine of cured perch at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Bistro o Mat: Anise spiced salmon with prawns and avocado 4+/5

Fresh spiced salmon and shrimps are always tasty but anise flavor was hidden somewhere. Kirkkonummi is home town of this restaurant

Bistro o Mat Salmon at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Smakbyn Åland: Fish tartar from the Baltic, crayfish and white fish roe  4,5/5

Excellent ensemble from restaurant in Åland owned by celebrity chef

Smakbyn Åland Fish tartar at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Emo: Crab cake with fennel  5/5

Bull’s eye, maybe the best of the best, croquette tasted of crab and fennel accomppanied perfectly

Emo Crabcake at Taste of Helsinki - reijfosfood.com

Postres: New potatoes and anchovy butter 4/5

New potatoes belong to Finnish summer and butter was tasty but too simple compared to any other portion

Postres potaoes at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Emo: Spring chicken with spring cabbage 4,5/5

Chicken skewer was grilled in front of you, with some more spices would have been unbeatable

Emo Chicken at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Postres: Smoked salmon in Can and Postres archipelago bread 5/5

Makes you drooling, Finnish summer hit and should be available from supermarkets for Mid Summer fiesta

Postres Smoked salmon at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Farang: Coconat caramel pork 4,5/5

Farang knows how to use spices, long queues all the time proved time, pork maybe too much kassler (pork loin) type

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Bertha: Chocolate, banana, Brazil nuts 5/5

Happy endings! Lucky we did not miss this one. Unfortunately so many starters did not allow more dessert portions

Bertha Dessert at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Plan was also to taste Oscar Hot Dog with veal, asparagus, and giant prawn from Kaartin Hodari & Hummeri, but the queue was so long all time. In the cold wind it was more convenient to stay sheltered from it.

To summarize, all tasted portions were impressive which can be seen from the points. I really hope that there will be 4th Taste of Helsinki because plan is to visit there twice. Quite difficult to try all portions at the same day. Also have to taste olive oils which were available at the fair. And wines, Kung Fu Girl Riesling and Miss Harry, paired well with dishes tasted. Vindirekt, the importer of these wines, made also best offers for glass of wine.

Event itself gets 5-/5 points and only cold weather was the reason for not giving 5. With sun shine it would have been 5+/5.

There will be separate post about champagne Taittinger tasting later.

http://www.tasteofhelsinki.fi/





Champagne glasses – does the shape matter?

7 06 2014

Champagne glasses - reijosfood.com

Usually we use traditional champagne flute for bubbling drinks but wanted to compare it with different types of champagne glasses. Results can be found below.

Iittala champagne glass (on the left-hand side)

The problem with Iittala champagne “flute” was that it filled mouth with bubbles. Iittala has same design for Essence glass series and although shape of the glasses look impressive, maybe the wine itself has been forgotten from the beginning.

Iittala champagne coupe (on the right-hand side)

The broad surface area allows champagne to lose its carbonation more quickly, making it less suitable for the current style of very dry champagnes, compared to the sweeter champagnes. So, you have to be quick drinker or pour only 8cl at a time.

Sparkling wines scent was not so pleasant but amount od bubbles in the glass was awesome. However, they disappeared before getting in to the mouth.

Basic tasting glass (in front of the picture)

As sparkling wines can be classified as a white wines, they can be served in white wine glasses too. “Tulip” or “belly” shape in which the rim of the glass is narrower than the midpoint, permits the drinker to get more of the aroma than a from traditional flute, while still not having enough surface area to cause the champagne to quickly lose carbonation.

For this sparkling wine it did not work out. As the bouquet was so delicate, it did not improve in this glass neither taste felt stronger.

Traditional champagne flute – the winner!

The stem allows to hold the glass without affecting the temperature of the drink. The bowl is designed to retain champagne’s signature carbonation, by reducing the surface area at the opening of the bowl. Both THE NOSE and THE TASTE were in balance and created best image of the wine.

Tasted sparkling wine was Bernard-Massard Cuvée de l’Ecusson Brut from Luxembourg. Review can be found from previous post.

Bernard-Massard sparkling wine - reijosfood.com

The traditional champagne flute and flat coupe glass are fine for young wines – but for complex older champagnes, only a wide glass that curves back in towards the top and is filled only a little way will present the bubbles correctly. Unfortunately we do not have this glass in collection, but maybe have in the future.

Champagne glasses - reijosfood.com








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