Restaurant review: Holiday

21 08 2016


Restaurant Holiday is lively neighbourhood restaurant, bar and summer terrace, located on Katajanokka island. Building is old and siuates just below Cathedral of Uspensk. Spot was established by same group as The Cock and it operates under Royal Ravintolat new concept. This means that founders are responsible for running the business. Holiday’s kitchen serves seasonal menu with seafood, fresh fish from the nearby market and modern veggie dishes. Notice that meat dishes are not available.

Menu and wine list are quite short which makes ordering easy. It is worth to check also cocktail menu as they are also innovative.

From Raw Bar ordered White fish | avocado | cucumber | soya | sesame | ginger | furikake | cilantro.

White fish was under the vegetables, new asian fusion way to prepare spiced lavaret. However, taste of fish disappeared under excotic ingredients but it it always good to see innovative cooking. Close to ceviche type of starter, which seems to be popular in trendy restaurants.



As other starter ordered from Garden Greens Fried sweet potato | mayo-zu | tomato

Crispy, and perfectly seasoned fries. The tomato sauce was not your regular sauce; it was cooked with garlic, and other spices that gave it a rich flavor.  The mayo was left out for a vegan option.



For one main course had from Fisherman’s catch Soft shell crabs | Tokyo gold | mayo-zu | sushi rice | furikake.

Whole crabs were well prepared, crispy and tasty. You must like furikake (Japanese seasoning) in order to enjoy the whole dish as it is part of it. And look at the flower!



Vegan main course ordered was Poke Bowl | tofu | sushi rice | avocado | seaweed | kohlrabi | daikon 

A full of flavor bowl.  The tofu is perfectly fired, and other additions like ginger, not added to the list of ingredients, give this dish even more flavor.



For wine had Spanish El Gallito from Merlot grapes. Merlot is not so typical grape in Spain and wines are usually quite light as this one too.



You can watch chef’s working in open kitchen. Small space requires seamless teamwork.



Vegan food has quite remarkable role in restaurant Holiday and it tasted good. Dishes are imaginative and also well prepared.

When weather is good terrace is one of the most popular in Helsinki. When sun shines it is difficult to find free seat or table. Also dining room is very popular and one interesting detail was that 80% of the customers inside were women. Maybe the lack of meat on the menu is the reason?

When dining inside prepare for noise because DJ is playing music quite loud which makes diners raise more they voices when speaking over the table.




Restaurant review: Roster Helsinki

13 08 2016
Roster is a Bar & Restaurant near Market Square opposite to statue of Havis Amanda. New concept replaced restaurants Sasso and Fishmarket in order to provide more trendy and casual way of fine dining. Chef Kari Aihinen and Paul Hickman and part of restaurant Savoy team established the restaurant and as it called Roster Helsinki, one can expect similar concept in some other cities.
You can drink aperitives in the bar before heading to tables upstairs or downstairs for dinner. One option is to book one of the three Chef’s Tables next to open kitchen and watch chef’s preparing food.

What makes Roster Helsinki attractive restaurant, if not already otherwise, is the pricing of wines. Wines are priced with fixed margin, which makes quality wines more affordable. Enjoyed Ned & Henry’s Shiraz 2013 from Hewitson. Usually this wine costs close to 100€ in most restaurants, but “only” 46,40€ in Roster. Wine paired well with all dishes, full-bodied with light spices.

For dinner ordered fish and vegan dishes. Was actually going to order Wagyu BBQ, but beef was fineshed.

To start with you get warm bread and with starters green salad without extra charge.

Fish starter was C.O.D Amanda Lemon verbena seasoned cod, capers and clam crème.

Usually spiced “raw” fishes are salmon and whitefish, but cod suits perfectly for same purpose, when it is prepared like C.o.d Amanda.



Fish main course was Mrs. Pulpo Grilled octopus, Romesco sauce, avocado and chickpeas. Pulpo is difficult to prepare after octopus has been frozen. It becomes soft and loses it’s crispness, which was partly the case in M.r.s Pulpo. However, sauce and add ons were delicious and paired well with octopus, as well as Ned & Henry’s.



Vegan starter was Grilled Salad Grilled baby gem lettuce, tomato, avocado and jalapeno mayonnaise.

The lettuce was too soft, but the dressing, which was replaced by a vinagrette to make the vegan option, saved this dish.



Vegan main course was BOND Special Fried cauliflower, coriander and peanuts.

This is the only vegan option in the menu.  A big head of cauliflower covered in too much peanut butter sauce.  Not the most creative vegan dish.



Before dinner had visited restaurant terrace and enjoyed lunch. You could choose small dishes one by one but chose to taste all of them Bit’s and Bites. You could also call this tapas or antipasti.

Two type of cheeses, grilled sweet pepper, spiced whitefish, foie gras and sausage/olive bowl were excellent. Dish also included roasted almonds and pop corn, but could have survived without those. Suitable separately with beer, but not so matching with Pinot Noir red wine.



Roster Helsinki is combination of fine dining in casual athmosphere. Dishes are ambitious and their names entertaining.

Overall grade is 4+ because of pricing of wines. That way should be more common and would definately attract customers to explore better wines they would not usually do at restaurants.









Restaurant review: Lemon Tree Garden – Rethymnon, Crete

5 08 2016

Summer vacation in Crete, Rethymnon meant also visits to several restaurants and tavernas. Tried about 10 places and always tested starters and main courses. Better avoid dining spots with most aggressive “in throwers”, best ones are those counting on menu, location and athmosphere.




Mostly ate in Old Town where you can find many good and not so good dining spots. When it comes to taverna type of restaurants servining traditional greek food, Lemon Tree Garden is the choice. Judgement is based on two visits, which both were above average in “tavernas category”.

Restaurant has good service, fresh ingredients and well prepared dishes not forgetting vegan choises.

During second visit had for starters Spinach Pies, Vine Leaves Rolls and Feta Cheese. Usually spinach pies include cheese, but restaurant had vegetarian version available. Two types rolls, vine leaves (dolmades) and zuccini flower rolls. Both were prepared at restaurant, too often you get canned rolls. Greek style feta cheese was delicious, right mixture of herbs and tomato.



For main courses had Gyros, which in this case were perfect. Best part of this was just grilled pork. In one taverna get meat which had been grilled earlier and was warmed before serving.



….and Stuffed VegetablesSweet pepper and tomato stuffed with deliciously spiced rice. A perfect vegan dish accompanied by sliced potatoes.  Olive oil is always part of the dishes, and combined with the proper spices, makes for the perfect sauce.



In previous post you can find some information about Greek wines, which are part of dining. In Lemon Tree Garden had Melios and Chateau Julia, both Merlots.


Chateau Julia










Lemon Tree Garden has nice outdoor terrace inside old walls. The name comes from the trees above tables, lemon and orange trees are the roof of restaurant.

After dinner restaurant serves fresh water melon, lemon cake and raki depending on what you have eaten. Nice way of ending dinner, but as you know what to expect, do not order dessert.




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