Restaurant review: HSF – Yacht Club restaurant in Hanko

31 07 2014

HSF in Hanko - reijosfood.com

Since 1938, HSF has been the venue for many to spend a happy summer`s day in Hanko, enjoying dinners and refreshing drinks. Restaurant HSF combines modern gastronomy and restaurant culture with Nordic traditions and the history of Finnish sailing. The roof, pier and sun deck terraces of HSF are great places to enjoy food, cocktails, wines and of course champagnes.

If you dine at the pier (terrace downstairs) as we did, you can enjoy of table service. Otherwise you need to order drinks from the bar between sun deck and pier.

HSF in Hanko - reijosfood.com

Menu is quite short, same at the terrace and at dining room inside consisting of 4 starters, 7 main courses and 4 desserts.

For starters we had HSF Tapas – 4 tastes of summer and Toast Skagen with archipelago bread.

Tapas included from right to the left prawn cake, mustard herring, potato salad and beef carpaccio. Excellent ensemble, on hot summer day herring tasted great and carpaccio was really tender. Toast Skagen was also delicious, the amount of roe was princely. Both portions included tasty avocado dressing.

Tapas at HSF - reijosfood.comToast Skagen at HSF - reijosfood.com

For main courses ordered Salad with roasted chicken and avocado dressing and HSF burger Full steak, gouda cheese, tomato slice, onion and BBQ mayonnaise with French fries.

Salad included pineapple, melon and grapefruit which made it juicy. Chicken was a little bit over roasted but otherwise ok. Burger bread was not white which was welcomed option. Steak was enough thick and medium and therefore succulent.

Salad at HSF - reijosfood.comBurger at HSF - reijosfood.com

And for desserts Ice-cream portion of course and Coconut brulee with pineapple compote.

For ice-cream chose licorice and mint ice-creams, both enjoyable. Licorice is Finnish speciality which you must try if it is available. Coconut brulee was also delicious but taste of coconut could have been stronger. Some berries made the portion more colorful.

Ice cream at HSF - reijosfood.comCreme Brulee at HSF - reijosfood.com

Wine chosen was Villa Huesgen by the glass which is modern and fresh german riesling. Paired extremely well with starters and with chicken salad but had glass of red wine (real glass not bottle) with HSF burger. Interesting name for wine, “by the glass”!

Riesling at HSF - reijosfood.com

You could also dine at round restaurant building but if weather allows, choose pier. We ate between lunch and dinner time and due to timiing there were some empty tables. During rush hours all tables are occupied and especially during weekends. Summer season starts from Mid Summer and ends about in mid August.

HSF - reijosfood.comHSF dining room - reijosfood.com

About 27C degrees at 6PM in Finland is marvelous and therefore each opportunity to eat outside raises overall grade. Food was great and service polite and customer-sensitive. If you decide to eat inside, ask for window tables opening to harbour.

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





Wine review: Anna de Codorniu Brut Blanc de Blancs

30 07 2014

Anna de Codorniu - reijosfood.com

Anna de Codorníu is the flagship cava of Codorniu bodega and was the first to incorporate the Chardonnay variety in its blend as early as 1984. Delicate, elegant and fresh, this is the best tribute to the last person in the Codorníu family to use the family surname.

The Anna range is a collection of fresh, elegant and delicate cavas with a unique personality. Blanc de Blancs was introduced in October 2013 and it obviously tries to compete against Moet & Chandon and Lanson with their “white” champagnes. Similar set of white coolers and glasses supplements the package. One big difference is that Anna is dry (brut) trying not to tempt customers favoring sweeter bubbling wines. And it is Cava, not Champagne.

Blanc de Blancs should include only Chardonnay grapes, as far as I know? Anna has 70% Chardonnay, 15% Parellada and 15% Xarello, Macabeo. Is it then Blanc de Blancs?

Anna de Codorniu Blanc de Blancs - reijosfood.com

THE LOOK

White bottle is refreshing for cava and suits especially for summer time enjoyments.

Wine is more yellow than Cavas usually are.

Anna is cava with a fine and persistent bubbles that forms a continuous string of tiny bubbles. But bubbles dissappeared quite quickly.

THE NOSE

Full of citrus and tropical fruit notes. Funny, but first time could really find some bouquet of toast.

THE TASTE

Soft and balanced without disruptive flavors. 70% Chardonnay is the reason for all of this.

Facts:

Alcohol 11,5%, Sugar 8 g/l

 

Cava - reijosfood.com

Wine suits for aperitif and pairs with almost every food. However, would not choose it for red meats but for chicken and pork definately.

Bottle tasted was bought from cruise ship between Helsinki and Tallinn. Therefore it was really affordable and earns 3 plus marks.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4+/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++/+++

Annas Blanc de Blancs | Anna de Codorníu.

 





Restaurant review: Origo (Hanko, Finland)

29 07 2014

 

Origo candles

Restaurant Origo is located in the old ware house from 1893 in the Eastern Harbour of Hanko. The first owner of the building was a businessman and customs worker Martin Lignell. The house was used as a storage room for import and export goods in the early years and was turned in to the restaurant in 1989 after beeing empty for years.

Origo with the relaxed atmosphere and décor is restaurant which with its candles makes dining experience in a way quite unique.  Do I remember wrong that couple of years ago there were more but smaller candles?

 

When one enters to the restaurant one can see archipelago buffet from the entrance door. Have had buffet for starter two times before and can recommend it. One can order it also as main course. On hot summer day cold meal might be tempting.

Restaurant has had couple of years tablets as menus. It is easy way to browse what is available.

Tablet at Origo - reijosfood.com

This time ordered for starters CHEVICE OF ZANDER with Salad of fennel and radish, crispbread of spelt, dill aioli and SOUP OF JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes, bread with huile de verde

Starters were best part of the dinner. Chevice was finetuned with salad because we asked it not to include radish. Soup was tasty but quite thick and bread was excellent with pesto on it.

Starter at Origo  - reijosfood.comSoup at Origo - reijosfood.com

For main courses had ROASTED WHITE FISH Cauliflower flavored with seesame oil, potato terrine with spring onions, puré of fresh peas, butter sauce with carrot and ECOLOGICAL LAMB  IN TWO WAYS with risotto made of wheat and chantarelles, roasted root vegetables and port wine sauce.

Big thanks to the kitchen for changing cauliflower and peas to carrots. Finnish white fish is always enjoyable and carrot pyre paired well with it. Butter sauce instead tasted too much for butter.

One part of lamb portion was chevy but over cooked shoulder was tender as it should be. Risotto from wheat could have been more cooked because big wheat pearls were a little bit hard. Or they just were too big.

Unfortunately must say that 30€ for these portions is too much.

Whitefish at Origo - reijosfood.comLamb at Origo - reijosfood

For dessert had with coffee AND THEN White chocolate with ginger, dark chocolate with cranberry and marshmallow with mint

Odd greasy dessert, should the pieces be colder? Two years ago restaurant had chocklate from Petri but these did not seemed to be those.

Dessert St Origo - reijosfood.com

Three times before Origo has been able to provide steady quality with good service but something has happened because customers had dissappeared. Other restaurants in the same row of buildings were crowded.

Origo dining room - reijosfood.com

Restaurant website has misleading information; upstairs was not open and KUNGFU Girl riesling was not available although it is particularly mentioned.

Therefore ordered Peter Jakob Kuhn riesling Rheinschiefer which paired well with dishes. Also had suggested red wine with lamb but it should have been more full-bodied.

Riesling at Origo - reijosfood.com

We were given table from the corner of the room although restaurant was almost empty. Usually customers are given tables so that by-passers can see them from the entrance door. Air conditioning on really warm evening was a plus because we decided to dine inside, not at the terrace.

Origo - reijosfood.com

Earlier review can be found by using search and writing Origo.

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

http://www.restaurant-origo.com/






Restaurant review: Töölönranta – city terrace surrounded by nature

27 07 2014

Töölönranta terrace - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Töölönranta combines the distinctively natural Helsinki landscape with a restaurant atmosphere. The contemporary Finnish architecture and design, surrounded by the unique landscape of Töölönlahti bay and park, makes restaurant an oasis almost in the center of city. Especially dining at the terrace is relaxing experience. Bar area has been developed to lounge type of port of call with soft lounge music.

Got the table under the awning which is more convenient place that sitting under the trees. For aperitives ordered glasses of Freixenet Mia Rose wine, which should have been more chilled as the wine is medium dry. You also get some foccacia bread to the table after you place the order.

Rose wine and foccacia at Töölönranta - reijosfood.com

For starters we had Seared king prawns with fennel and TASTES Sesame salmon with dill mayonnaise, King prawn with fennel and Cured beef with rocket lettuce and parmesan.

Prawns were really scrumptious and fennel paired with them perfectly. A little bit less salt and portion would have been bull’s eye.

You could pick three different tapas size of portions from six options if you choose TASTES as starter. When it says king prawn, there is really only one king prawn but prepared same way as first starter. Sesame salmon was also excellent as well as cured beef. Maybe the pieces of meat could have been thinner.

Shrimps at Töölönranta - reijosfood.comTastes starter at Töölönranta - reijosfood.com

In Finnish restaurant you must choose fishes if you have not already done so. For main courses we chose Lightly smoked salmon warm potato salad and creamed morels and Chargrilled lavaret with spring vegetables and new potatoes, Beurre blanc sauce.

Salmon was tasty with potato salad. Found some sand in morels which is not so nice when you bite them. Luckily only one time.

Lavaret or whitefish is propably most common fish in the summer time at Finnish restaurants and it always tastes good. Simple portion with potatoes is like Finnish summer.

Salmon at Töölönranta - reijosfood.comLavaret at Töölönranta - reijosfood.com

For desserts Fresh strawberries and vanilla ice cream and Ice cream portion.

Finnish strawberries are delicious but these are the last days to get freshly picked ones. And when it is warm summer, what suits better than ice-cream? Chose tiger ice-cream which has hint of orange taste.

Strawberries at Töölönranta - reijosfood.comIce cream at Töölönranta - reijosfood.com

Wine list is fairly short and chose Printz von Hessen which has quite typical young riesling aromas and taste.

Riesling at Töölönranta - reijosfood.com

Portions are elegantly laid out and tasty. Several waitresses serve you, there does not seem to be named tables for them.

But best of Töölönranta is the terrace which has excellent location surrounded by nature but so close to the center of city. While walking to the restaurant you can admire cultural buildings like Helsinki Music Hall, Finlandia House and Opera House and at the same time observe birds enjoying of Töölönlahti bay.

Töölönlahti - reijosfood.comTöölönranta terrace - reijosfood.com

Töölönranta terrace - reijosfood.comTöölönranta - reijosfood.com

And at lounge bar you can enjoy aperitives, digestives or just cold drinks in order to relax and make your day perfect.

Töölönranta lounge - reijosfood.com

Good reasons to give high overall grade. Of course dining inside is also enjoyable because of large windows but prefer terrace in the summer.

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

 

 





Restaurant review: PureBistro – hidden terrace in Torikorttelit blocks

25 07 2014

Pol Roger Champagne at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

PureBistro is a modern bistro with hidden terrace next to the Market Square in Torikorttelit blocks.  Restaurant is owned by Michelin star restaurant Luomo (on the 2nd floor) chef”s Jouni Toivanen and Mika Mattila. That explains partly why PureBistro is one of the five Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants in Helsinki.

PureBistro entrance - reijosfood.com

Dining room at PureBistro is quite small and therefore in the summer time you might decide to dine outside, which we did as temperature was close to 30C degrees. The entrance to the terrace is either through restaurant or gateway which is in Katariinankatu. There are only about 30 seats at the terrace, therefore better arrive early because restaurant does not take reservations there.

PureBistro terrace - reijosfood.com

If you dine inside, ask for window table and you can enjoy sea view and observe bustle at the Market Square.

PureBistro and Market Square - reijosfood.com

Restaurant used to have 3 course dinner at the price of 45€. But not this time! Maybe PureBistro wants to utilize high tourist season and not offer any special prices if you eat starter, main course and dessert. Many fine dining bistros are closed at the moment, that might be another reason to cash in. On the other hand prices are reasonable compared to food quality.

Because of excellent weather had to start the dinner with Champagne, Pol Roger Extra Brut. To be honest, too dry for us.

Pol Roger Extra Brut - reijosfood.com

After placing order you will get fresh bread paper bag on the table. I am sure that you will eat every piece of bread, they are so tasty.

For starters we ordered RAINBOWTROUT WITH TRADITIONAL FINNISH SALAD and BARBEQUE PORK “JAPANESE STYLE”

Trout confit was slightly cooked but so little that it made us wonder how it was prepared. One change was made; “scrambled eggs” replaced dill-potato salad because it included some milk. Pork was as it would have been prepared in qenuine Asian restaurant. It included miso, teriayaki sauce and mushrooms. PureBistro usualluy have one or two portions available with Asian flavors.

Rainbow trout at PureBistro - reijosfood.comPork at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

For main courses we had two times PAN FRIED PEARCH, CHANTERELLES AND CRAYFISH- POTATO TERRINE but two different versions of it.

First picture is portion without any changes. Perfectly fried small pearch pieces were delicious. No single fish bones although perch is one of the most difficult fishes to remove them. Sweet fennel supplemented the taste of chanterellers. Ingredients which included milk were replaced with turnips and oil dressing. Have not ever before tasted roasted turnips but will definately try them at home.

Perch at PureBistro - reijosfood.comPerch at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

For desserts we ordered STRAWBERRYMILK” and CHEESEs.

“Milk” in the first dessert was replaced with strawberry sorbet and sauce. Again excellent example of kitchen’s creativeness and competence to take account of food allergies. Cheeses were tasty as expected. Especially Comte paired well with jam.

Strawberry dessert at PureBistro - reijosfood.comCheeses at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

For wine we had Tesch 1 Liter Riesling, only riesling on wine list. Wine paired well with all dishes we had; well, maybe not with desserts. Dry, about 6 g/l sugar, balanced acidity and minerality. If you prefer vintage wines you could also order from restaurant Luomo’s wine list.  

With coffee and tea had to try “soft” Jacopo Poli Grappa di Sassicaia Elevata in Barili. Not basic grappa, more like real dessert “wine”.

Waiter left the bottle on our table so that we could study it more detailed. Label on the backside of the bottle told that Grappa had been matured in Sassicaia barrels and it was made mainly from Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Savignon grapes.

Grappa at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

PureBistro is genuine Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant and actually one of the first fine dining bistro type of restaurants in Helsinki. Chef’s at the kitchen create flexibly excellent portions and menu changes regularly.

If weather is suitable, you must try the terrace where you can dine in restful and relaxed athmosphere.

Previous PureBistro reviews can be found by using search.

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





Restaurant review: Pöllöwaari (Jyväskylä)

22 07 2014

Riesling at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.com

Boutique hotel Yöpuu in Jyväskylä, Finland is located in historic building which was built 1928. In the same building operates fine dining restaurant Pöllöwaari, where we dined during our stay at the hotel.

Restaurant has two dining hall’s and private cabinets. You could also eat at the small terrace outside.

Pöllöwaari dining room - reijosfood.comPöllöwaari terrace - reijosfood.com

Restaurant concept includes Winebar, where we tasted some wines a year ago. Great experience (https://reijosfood.com/2013/08/08/wine-tasting-without-advance-booking/). Nice “after taste” from that visit was the reason, why we decided to stay in this privately owned hotel instead of chain ones (hotel review coming later).

You could enjoy one of the three tasting menus like “Tour of the land” or “Voyage of the senses” depending on how many portions you would like to eat.

We ordered from a la carte list first starters and main courses.  The dinner started with delicious greetings from the kitchen. As you can see from the cover plate, restaurant uses Iittala “Taika” set of dishes.

Iittala Taika plate at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.com

Kitchen's greetings at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.com

For starters we ordered Whitefish & black currant with cucumber and sour cream and Lobster & cherry tomato with pumpkin seed and chervil.

Take a look at those portions, like art?! Whitefish had been colored with blueberry and taste of berries was perfect with black currant. There was also whitefish roe on the plate which is one of the best Finnish roes.

Warm lobster made another starter extravagant and it it really tasted like it. There was also lobster inside warm croquet. One of the best starters ever eaten.

Whitefish starter at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.comLobster starter at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.com

Main courses were Pike-perch & potato with celery, pea and lemon and Flounder & scallop with orange, sea sorrel and sparkling wine.

Pöllöwaari had not been able to get fresh pike-perch and it served whitefish instead. Lemon was actually hollandaise sauce which was excellent. Whitefish was a little bit overcooked but fish skin was eatable as it was enough crispy.

Sea sorrel is rare side dish and new for us.  Portion included quite a lot cauliflower which was not mentioned in the name of dish. Should have because the amount of it was 10 times more than sea sorrel. Disussed about that with head waitress, but maybe she did not understand our message. Scallop was fried as it should be, not overcooked.

Whitefish at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.comFish at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.com

For desserts we ordered Cranberry & blond chocolate with rye and rosemary and Lemon & meringue with limoncello and curd.

Cranberry mousse seems to smile waiting for someone to eat it. Half sweet, 1/4 salty and 1/4 bitter; excellent combination. Lemon dessert was scrumptious, not much more to say.

Dessert at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.comDessert at Pöllöwaari - reijosfood.com

Restaurant uses lot’s of herbs. At the terrace there are boxes chef’s visit regularly. A proofpoint of fresh herbs chef’s grow by themselves.

Herbs at Pöllöwaari terrace - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Pöllöwaari is fine dining restaurant worth to try. Most of the portion names follow the trend; two main food ingredients named. Usually no more explantions but Pöllöwaari tried to give some more information by mentioning 2-3 other ingredients. This is difficult because you can not not name all but they should be well chosen. The discussion about sea morrel and cauliflower was one example.

Service was precious, maybe a little bit rigid. When dishes were brought to the table, contents were explained precisely.

From wine list, which included excellent cellar wines, we chose Domaines Schlumberger Riesling Grand Cru Kessler 2008. Golden yellow aromatic wine which paired well with fish dishes. Unfortunately not available Alko’s regarding to waitress.

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

http://www.hotelliyopuu.fi/en/3/2/Restaurant

 





Wine review: Verrocchio Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2012 – wrong vintage

18 07 2014

Valpolicella Ripasso - reijosfodo.com

If you want to buy wines in Finland you have to go to Alko, which is monopoly company owned by Finnish government. Nowadays you can utilize web shops, if you pay Finnish alcohol tax for your purchases.

When visiting Alko I usually read carefully what is written on the labels explaining if the wine is dry, full-bodied and so on. I chose Italian red wine Verrocchio Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso 2012 partly based on the information of it’s label on wine cabinet. This visit was about 2 months ago.

The label said that wine should have medium tannins. I am not a fan of wines which include too much tannins because they are just too “hard” to be enjoyed. But information on the label was based on vintage 2011 and purchased wine had changed to 2012. On the label there was nothing about vintage. Because of amount of tannins had to check what Alko said on their web Pages about the wine. Same story from year 2011!

When checking again few days ago, vintage had been changed to 2012 at Alko web page. But still story about medium tannins…..

Wine is made from grapes Corvina and Rondinella. Typical Ripasso grapes.

THE LOOK

Dark red, some hints of brown color.

THE NOSE

Ripasso type, but you can already notice the tannins.

THE TASTE

For me, lot’s of tannins, full-bodied, dark berries, warm.

Valpolicella Ripasso- reijosfood.com

Facts:

Alcohol:      13,50 %
Extract:      36 g/l
Acidity:       5,3 g/l
Sugar:         6 g/l
Energy:       90 kcal / 100 ml (370 kJ / 100 ml)

Ripasso, the younger brother or sister of Amarone, is excellent wine for every ocation. Suits for all meats and of course with Italian food.

Unfortunately misleading (old) information did not make this tasting as pleasant as it could be. Therefore only 3,5. Would like to try vintage 2011 to see if the label at Alko was right about year older Ripasso.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 3,5/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++/+++





Restaurant review: Valo (Savonlinna)

17 07 2014

Savonlinna is an active and vibrant summertime town in Finland. The town itself and its surroundings are one of the most popular holiday regions in Finland. Beside enjoying the opera, admire the breathtaking scenery in and around the town, have a giggle at some of the eccentric local events, and listen to the legends associated with the historical sites.

Savonlinna Castle - reijosfood.com

Dined at restaurant Valo (in English Light) the fourth year in a row, is it becoming a habit? No it will not, read futher…..Other 2 reviews can be found by using search and writing Valo.

Valo in Savonlinna - reijosfood.com

Because one has to dine outside in order to be able observe opera guests walking to Savonlinna castle 200 meters from Valo restaurant by Saimaa lake, 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 Valo - reijosfood.com

Restaurant serves local Finnish food, evidence for that used to be the names of local producers on the a la carte list. This year the names of local producers had almost vanished. Reason? Many local residents and summer vacationers had pizza which seems to be quite nice looking. We decided to keep up traditions and order form a la carte list. But in the future….

For starters we ordered Salmon & dill Sugar and salt-cured salmon, fennel salad, dill maynonnaise and potato crisps and Snails.

Nice looking small fish portion was a little bit too salty. It included two potato chips. I would not mention those in explanation of portion. Snails were soft with lot’s of smelted butter.

Salmon starter at Valo - reijosfood.com

Escargots at Valo - reijosfood.com

Main courses were this time Trout Pan fried trout fillet,warm new potato salad with crab sauce and Fish of the day from Saimaa with trimmings of the day.

Kitchen made some changes to trout portion as we requested them, which was  proofpoint of customer service. But amazing was that waiter said that fish of the day should be pike-perch but we got Arctic char! That kind of mistake we have not seen for a long time.

Unfortunately both fishes were over fried and therefore dry.

Fish at Valo - reijosfood.comFish at Valo - reijosfood.com

For desserts we had after long discussion with waitress Chocolate cake and Berries.

Berries were not on the list but as there were no lactose-free desserts, berries were only ones kitchen could serve. Delicious chocolate cake included same berries as well as vanilla ice-cream.

Chocolate dessert at Valo - reijosfood.comBerries at Valo - reijosfood.com

For wine we had rose because only riesling on the wine list was too light and without any riesling character.

Rose wine at Valo - reijosfood.com

Next time when or if we dine at Valo we try pizza. Small and therefore over priced portions (but it is opera month) do not earn more than 3. Location and terrace increase overall grade.

The problem with Savonlinna restaurant scene has, is the lack of small privately own Finnish restaurants. Most in the center of town are owned nowadays by S-Group co-operative company. But it is difficult to keep up restaurant business, if there are customers only during summer months.

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

http://www.savonmafia.fi/products/product/82/

 





Restaurant review: La Bottega (Tallinn, Estonia)

16 07 2014

Trattoria La Bottega offers a cross-section of the Italian cuisine, with a special emphasis on Italian food and wines consistency. Sardinian origin chef Nicolo Tanda favorites, fish and seafood are represented in restaurants menu.

La Bottega is part of Sparkling Group which owns several fine dining restaurants in Tallinn.

In Italian restaurant you must start the dinner with aperitivo. As Aperol Spritz was not available, we enjoyed Campari Soda’s.

Campari Soda's at La Bottega - reijosfood.com

For starters we ordered Antipasti and Prawn tails in spicy fresh tomato sauce and grilled focaccia.

Antipasti plate was generous including salami, Parma ham, eggplant, bruschetta,…..one of the biggest antipasti portions seen for a while. Tomato sauce with prawn tails was really scrumptious. It could have been used as pasta sauce, on top of a pizza or even to be eaten as such. Best flavor kitchen servedduring our visit.

Antipasti at La Bottega - reijosfood.comPrawn tails at La Bottega - reijosfood.com

Primi Piatti, or actually pasta, Spaghetti with garlic oil and chilli and Tomato salad with mozzarella buffalo cheese.

Had to order pasta in order to try how kitchen manages. And it managed well; spaghetti was al dente and garlic and chilli tasted nicely. As restaurant does not serve gluten-free pasta ordered caprese salad (tomato and mozzarella) for another Primi Piatti. Genuine Italian mozzarella di bufala beats cheeses made of cow milk.

Spaghetti at La Bottega - reijosfood.comMozzarella and tomato at La Bottega - reijosfood.com

Main courses this time were Herb marinated quail with oven baked eggplant and Braised rabbit in white wine and olive sauce, potato-spinach puree.

As La Bottega had quite challenging and rare meats on it’s a la carte list, had to try couple of them.

Two small quial legs made us mention to waitress that portion should be starter. The answer was separate side dishes are because of that. You have to choose them with certain portions. We had ordered two side dishes; Baked aubergine with garlic and parsley and Rucola and tomato salad. Unfortunately quail legs were also a little bit dry and should have been starters, with or without side dish.

Rabbit included side dish but rucola salad paired nicely with it. Meat was overdone, otherwise it tasted like rabbit should be.

Quail at La Bottega - reijosfood.comRabbit at La Bottega - reijosfood.comSide dishes at La Bottega - reijosfood.com

Wine list consists only of Italian wines. We chose Gavi di Gavi Fossili which paired well with all dishes. The dinner was finalized with Italian digestives, Grappa and Limoncello, of course. Taste of lemon was quite thin in Limencello and the color was not so deep yellow as it should be.

Espresso and grappa at La Bottega - reijosfood.comGreen tee and Limocello at La Bottega - reijosfood.com

Dining rooms are cozy and first one behind entrance is really high in old historic building. We arrived so early that dinner time had not yet started.

La Bottega dining room - reijosfood.com

If weather allows you can also have lunch at the terrace; why not even dinner if evening is warm. Terrace is also perfect place to observe by-passers and other terraces close to La Bottega‘s one.

La Bottega terrace - reijosfood.com

La Bottega is good Italian restaurant with ambitious menu. No pizza’s which of course prune customer base. But you get a chance to eat in more peaceful athmosphere than in many pizzeria/trattoria type of restaurants in Old Town. When it comes to food, would classify La Bottega as ristorante but based on decor more trattoria type.

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

http://labottega.ee/





Restaurant review: Chedi (Tallinn, Estonia)

13 07 2014

Chedi starters - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Chedi is a contemporary treatment of Asian food culture. Contrasts, combination of tastes and mixture different raw materials are where the contemporary Asian cuisine is heading at. Chedi location is in Old Town, which is one of food culture areas in Tallinn.

Next to Chedi is another Sparkling Group restaurant Bocca (review 02.02.2013, use search at reijosfood)

Chedi - reijosfood.com

For several years Chedi has been chosen in TOP 5 of best restaurants of Estonia. The reason we decided to visit there and of course our penchant for Asian cuisine.

Started the dinner with Small eat’s Dim sum platter with mushrooms and vegetable, Fried soft shell crab with red chilli and curry leaves and Jasmine tea smoked pork ribs.

Dim sums were great, especially the red ones. Soft shell crabs were also delicious but maybe the taste of crabs disappeared under frying. Pork ribs were one of the best ever eaten. But this is maybe because never before have tasted Jasmine tee smoked ribs.

Dim Sum at Chedi - reijosfood.comSof shell crabs at Chedi - reijosfood.comPork ribs at Chedi - reijosfood.com

For main courses we chose Grilled salmon in Chef ’s special sauce and Spicy prawns with water chestnut, chilli and almonds. For side dish restaurant served rice in wooden bowl. Would have ordered Thai style pike-perch but restaurant had not got any pike-perch fish.

Waitress asked if the salmon shoud be medium or well-done. This was a proof that kitchen knew what to do with salmon. Ordered medium, got it and enjoyed.

Spicy prawns were not enough spicy although there was lot’s of curry. Luckily we had asked extra spices which we used with every portion. However, prawns were excellent.

Salmon at Chedi - reijosfood.comPrawns at Chedi - reijosfood.comRice at Chedi - reijosfood.com

For desserts we just had green tea and coffee due to the fact that our stomachs were almost filled with three hors d’oeuvres.

Chedi dining room - reijosfood.com

Chedi is a restaurant worth to visit in Tallinn, if you like Asian food. Decor is stylistic with buddhist features. You have to be ready to eat with sticks and spoon which are used instead of fork and knife. Of even with fingers, if it is easier. You do not have to worry about smearing your fingers because you can wash them afterwards and dry them thoroughly with hand cloth.

Chedi table - reijosfood.com

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

http://chedi.ee/en/

 

 





Restaurant review: Kappeli – Finnish food in historic building

11 07 2014

Champagne at Kappeli - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Kappeli was opened to the public 1867 as summer restaurant but since 1970′s it has been open all year round. Latest renowation was in autumn 2011 still keeping same traditions in building structure and decor.

In the summer you can also dine at the outside terrace which is behind main terrace. This summer first time it has separate grill menu which is not the same as inside. If you want to sit in the middle of the main terrace but inside, ask for oriel window table. It is small but you can even watch bands and singers on the Espa stage opposite the restaurant. We dined in that small glass walled space like we always do.

For starters we had Open sandwich with herring Haugesund herring on dark bread with sour cream, salad, potato, marinated red onion and organic egg and Kappeli’s fish assortment Smoked salmon mousse, cold smoked Baltic herring skagen, smoked whitebait, cold smoked salmon and organic scrambled eggs.

Cold fish starter plates are always excellent at Kappeli. Of course they are easier to prepare partly beforehand than warm starters or main courses. Main thing is what fish plate incudes and how pieces on the plate complement each other. Would say that the appearance of portions is not the main thing but it should be more because of the price level.

Herring at Kappeli - reijosfood.comFish assortment at Kappeli - reijosfood.com

Main courses were Smoked salmon and creamy false morel stew with potatoes seasoned with butter, dill and onion, courgette and oven-baked tomato and Grain chicken breast fillet with goat’s cheese and Pistou vegetables.

Simple salmon portion with delicious side-dishes. But what about the price? 34€ is robbery but as main target group is tourists it does not matter. Chicken was dry but goat cheese delicious and enough warm.

Smoked salmon at Kappeli - reijosfood.comCkicken bread at Kappeli - reijosfood.com

Had to try desserts which were Crème brulée and orange sorbet and Blueberry pie with blueberries and blueberry ice cream.

Would say that desserts were best part of the dinner. Creme brulee with orange sorbet was delicious combination. Blueberry pie, one of my favorites, included lot’s of blueberry jam although there was already plenty of it on top of pie. And when you add ice-cream, dessert is bull’s eye.

Creme brulee at Kappeli - reijosfood.comBlueberry pie at Kappeli - reijosfood.com

The picture below is taken from the oriel window table we dined. It really feels you are dining in the middle of the terrace but without hearing gabble outside. And of course the temparature remains the same although evening turns later.

Kappeli terrace - reijosfood.com

For wine we had champagne Nicolas Fauillette which is cheaper for loyalty card owners than most of the wines. Not the most tasty champagne we know but champagne anyway.

Restaurant Kappeli is a must place for tourists to visit and maybe even to dine, if you do not care about the high prices. Because of the price level can not give more than 3+ for food. Dry chicken cost 27€, which is again incomprehensible price, compared to what you get.

Service is polite and professional. But because Kappeli is Kappeli, overall grade is over 4. The building itself, Espa park around it, relaxed athmosphere and at least trying starters from the a la carte list are worth to experience.

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

http://www.kappeli.fi/index.php?id=23

 

 





Wine review: Best summer rose wines at Alko?

9 07 2014

Neiss Pinot Noir rose - reijosfood.comBardolino Chiaretto - reijosfood.com

In Finland, Alko has a monopoly in selling alcohol including wines. There have been some initiatives in order to obtain wines to supermarkets but that is far away from happening. However, Alko has improved a lot it’s wine supply. On the other hand Finnish tax for alcohol drinks does not favor wines instead of strong beverages, which it should.

But this post was about best rose wines at Alko, so let’s move to that topic. Best with questionmark, because there are quite many interesting rose wines at Alko but these two have excellent price quality ratio.

Neiss Pinot Noir Rosé 2013

Grapes: 100% Pinot Noir

THE LOOK

Color with hints of orange-brown looks a little bit fanciful.

THE NOSE

Strawberries, jewing gum Hubba-Bubba came to my mind but scent was not that strong.

THE TASTE

Dry and citrus, very close to the white wines. Threfore, if you do not like rose wines but like white wines, this is the rose for you. Pairs with same foods like white wines.

Neiss rose in the glass - reijosfood.com

Tommasi Bardolino Chiaretto Rosé 2013

Grapes: Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, Molinara

THE LOOK

Hints of orange-brown but more close to typical rose than Neiss.

THE NOSE

Light strawberry aroma, hints of fruit alphabet candies, otherwise scent is delicate. More typical rose than Neiss.

THE TASTE

Dry, pleasant, balanced rose type of flavor. Excellent aperitif but suits also with Antipasto, Chicken, pasta and asian cuisine.

Tommasi rose - reijosfood.com

Facts:

WINE             Neiss Pinot Noir                                         Tommasi Bardolino Chiaretto
Alcohol:     12.00 %                                           12.00 %
Extract:     33 g/l                                               27 g/l
Acidity:      7.6 g/l                                              6 g/l
Sugar:        9 g/l                                                 8 g/l
Energy:      80 kcal / 100 ml (330 kJ / 100 ml)  80 kcal / 100 ml (320 kJ / 100 ml)

Some might think that there are only two type of wines; white and red. Especially if one has tried not so pleasant-tasting sweet and maybe even too warm rose wine. I find good roses enjoyable. They can be basic rose wines or sparkling ones. Especially rose champagnes might be extremely drinkable. You just have to find right roses. Try these two.

OVERALL GRADE: Neiss 4+/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++(+)/+++

OVERALL GRADE: Tommasi 4,5/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++/+++





Wine review: Champagne Lanson White Label

6 07 2014

Lanson, cooler and ice - reijosfood.com

Summer and terrace – combination requires specially designed bottles and unique tastes. Of course bottle must be white and drink include some flavouring.

Specially created by the House of Lanson, Lanson White Label allows you to appreciate the subtlety of champagne combined with all sorts of natural aromas. You should enjoy this champagne with mint-leaves, orange peel, rasberry or with choice of yours preference.

Champagne is dry, not brut, and it is produced from Chardonnay 38%, Pinot Noir 37% and Pinot Meunieur 25% grapes.

Cooler which is designed for this champagne is also must. It works well because cooler cover prevents the ice from melting and small slots on the cover are excellent place to keep aromas. We tried orange peels and mint-leaves.

Lanson in cooler - reijosfood.com

THE LOOK

White bottle and cooler are solemn combination. Makes champagne even more attractive.

Wine itself is straw-colored with debonair bubbles. Seemed that amount of bubbles diminished too quickly.

THE NOSE

Chardonnay lightens the bouquet and makes it balanced. Found some fruits mostly pear.

Orange peel scent was quite strong so you must be careful when adding it. One or two slices is enough

Mint was too subtle, we had too mild mint leaves, propably.

THE TASTE

Pleasing and fresh flavor, some fruits. You could enjoy this without adding any flavoring.

Again taste of orange peel was stronger but still subtle.

Mint unfortunately did not taste almost at all although we crushed one leave. Mint was from Robbens Lilla Trädgård, try something stronger variety.

Lanson and herbs - reijosfood.comLanson White Label - reijosfood.com

Facts:
Alcohol:    12.50 %
Extract:    49 g/l
Acidity:    8.4 g/l
Sugar:      28 g/l
Energy:    90 kcal / 100 ml (370 kJ / 100 ml)

Lanson claims that White Label is the first champagne in the world specially designed for experimenting aromas. If that is the fact Moet & Chandon has ben able to create more ballyhoo two years ago when it launched Ice Imperial. At least for me it is more known champagne with the similar idea. Main differences are that Ice Imperial is semi-dry and you should add ice cubes. And the latter one is maybe the most revolutionary novelty in the world of champagnes.

Lanson & Moet - reijosfood.com

Can recommend Lanson White Label for summer champagne, if you are not too stuck to brut’s, even without aromas. Champagne would suit for aperitif but also for dessert wine. With peel of orange it resembles one of cocktail, especially if you add too many peels.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5 – BANK FOR THE BUCK +++/+++

http://www.lanson.com/white-label/en/home.html





Restaurant review: NJK – time stands still, dining continues

4 07 2014

NJK - reijosfood.com

NJK, the villa-type unique summer restaurant, located on the small island of Valkosaari, was built in 1900. It is one of the most popular locations for festivities and one of the most popular crayfish restaurant in Helsinki.  Suprisingly there was no wedding party on that specific Saturday when we had dinner. Usually it is really difficult to get table during summer weekends.

Before dinner, if weather allows, you must enjoy aperitives at the second floor small terrace. From there you can also see restaurant Saaristo which is located on island Klippan. It is one of the several island restaurants in the foreground of Kaivopuisto. (review posted 22.6.2013)

Saaristo and Klippan - reijosfood.com

There was few days left to try special 5 dishes Archipelago herbs menu, which 2 of us decided to order. Each portion included some Finnish herb from the restaurant’s own greenhouse. Portions were also named by the herb used to prepare dish. You could also choose recommended wines which we also did. Especially red wine deserved special attention.

Also chose 2 menus from a la carte list; those portions are marked with +. And with these dishes the wine choice was a bottle of Villa Huesgen Schiefer Riesling from Mosel. Dry and balanced German riesling.

SWEET CICELY

White fish ceviche and +NJK’s fish assortment

First herb dish was white fish ceviche. White fish (lavaret) is one of the best Finnish fishes and when it is served spiced and raw, it is always worth to try. Cicely paired well with white fish but saltiness ruled over a little bit. Excellent starter for dinner anyway.

Fish assortment included herrings, white fish roe with creme fraiche and onion, small smoked vendaces, shrimp skagen and salmon with mustard-dill dressing. But this was not all although most famous and best Finnish fishes were already on the plate. In addition to an assortment of fish, NJK served new potatoes and creamy morel mushroom sauce.

Ceviche at NJK - reijosfood.com

Fish plate at NJK - reijosfood.com

Campo Viejo Cava Brut Rosé, Spain 10 cl

Campo Viejo rose cava paired well with tart and salty ceviche. However, it did not beat Lanson Rose which we sipped for aperitives at the small 2nd floor terrace while enjoying sunny day and maritime landscape.

CHIVES

Mussel risotto with grilled scampi

After tasty ceviche we were served delicous risotto. Cooking time for rice was perfect and scampi complemented taste of mussels nicely. Not sure if flavor of chives was enough strong but excellent primi piatti anyway.

Risotto at NJK - reijosfood.com

Jacob’s Creek Reserve Barossa Riesling, Australia   12 cl

We were first served inadvertently red wine which should have been the third wine. It suited well with risotto, maybe even better than this riesling we got before finishing risotto. Rieslings are our favourite white wines but maybe this one required more acidity with risotto.

ITALIAN PARSLEY

Herb roasted fillet of lamb with dark parsley sauce and +Pike-perch with lemon beurre blanc

Third dish from herbs menu was fillet of lamb which you could have been changed to pike-perch if you would have preferred fish. Parsley suited well with the meat which had perfect rose inside.

Pike-perch had as a side dish cauliflower pyre which we asked to change for one of the portions. Fish was well prepared and tasty. Pike-perch is not so common fish to be served in restaurants in Finland. If it is on the a la carte menu, order it.

Lamb at NJK - reijosfood.com

Pike-perch at NJK - reijosfood.com

Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz, Australia   16 cl

Jacob’s Creek reserve shiraz rose to our favourite from all four wines. Deep and balanced bouquet as well as flavor. Wine which you should have in your wine cabinet. Perfect pairing with lamb but also with risotto as mentioned earlier.

CURRANT LEAF

Thyme flavoured melon with currant leaf sorbet

Sorbet came in handy after lamb. Perfect food melter before dessert.

MINT

Strawberries with mint and lime mousse and +Chocolate and fudge ganache with blackberry sorbet

Mousse looked like ice-cream and first thought why serve ice-cream after sorbet. Fresh and sweet strawberries are always perfect way to end the dinner.

Chocolate dessert was master piece. Really sweet fudge but sorbet suitably slimmed it down not to bee too heavy.

Dessert at NJK - reijosfood.com

Dessert at NJK - reijosfood.com

Mumm Demi-Sec 10 cl

Dessert champagne was second best of the pre-selected wines. Port or sweet wine would have been too twee for strawberries but even for chocolate dessert. Excellent choice by sommelier.

NJK maintains traditions of letting customers to choose avec for coffee from drinks trolley instead of ordering it from list. Might be costly if you do not know what you have chosen. We did.

Digestives at NJK - reijosfood.com

Restaurant NJK is a one of the few classic restaurants in Helsinki, like Savoy. You should invite your foreign quests there in order to get them familiar with Finnish archipelago and food. And both only from 2 minutes boat trip distance and a stone’s throw away from Market Square (Kauppatori).

NJK garden - reijosfood.com

Regarding the headline, time stands still at restaurant NJK. And it really does when you step into the buiding and sit at a table. If all the boats in NJK yacht club harbour were old sailing boats, then you really would wonder if time has gone back.

NJK entrance - reijosfood.comNJK main dining room - reijosfood.com

Food at NJK is excellent but unfortunately this time there was some instability in service which should not be there, not at NJK. Waitresses should be guided to details when it comes to menu and drinks, although she would be temporary worker. However, arrangement of aperitives at the 2nd floor terrace earned 5 points which increased service grade. And overall grade is high due to unique milieu, solemn but relaxed athmosphere and dinner entourage.

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

http://www.ravintolanjk.fi/en








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