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.

 

image

 

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.

image

 

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.

image

 

….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.

image

 

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.

image

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.

 

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

 





Restaurant review: Gastrobar Emo – Michelin Bib Gourmand status

23 11 2014
Gastrobar Emo

Gastrobar Emo

 

Gastrobar Emo provides easygoing service and good food. Emo (Dam in english) was opened in August 2013 in the same place where Michelin star restaurant Olo used to be. Owners are also partly the same. Emo earned Michelin Bib Gourmand status quite soon after opening, which is a proof of quality food and reasonable prices.

Gastrobar Emo - reijosfood.com

Gastrobar Emo at Kasarimikatu

 

Emo - reijosfood.com

Gastrobar Emo dining room

There is also separate wine bar which provides opportunity to enjoy an aperitif or glass of wine. With drinks you can order snacks from bar menu.

Emo Wine bar - reijosfood.com

Emo wine bar

Quite soon after you arrive you will get fresh bread, but only one slice for each diner.

Bread bag at Emo - reijosfood.com

Paper bag for bread

We also ordered some Snacks with glasses of Taittinger. Unfortunately some bubbles had already dissapeared, because we got the last drops from the bottle.

Taittinger at Emo - reijosfood.com

Champagne Taittinger

For snacks we had Salami, which is actually basic salami slices and Dried tuna, which was delicious with mayonnaise. There are about 8 different alternatives to choose from, each cost you 4€. Good way to start the dinner.

Salami at Emo - reijosfood.com

Snacks – salami

 

Tuna at Emo - reijosfood.com

Snacks – dried tuna

 

You can choose your dinner from 13 different choises, each cost 10€. The sizes of portions are like starters, except new main courses, which could also be shared. Sharing food portions is THE TREND now, but we decided to order Salt baked Rainbow trout just for one.

Our dinner started with Potato pancake with whitefish roe and warm smoked salmon and Roasted saithe with vegetables.

Pancakes or blinis with roe are usually top class starters and so there were also at Emo. Excellent combination, really worth to try. Saithe was well roasted, but included a little bit too much salty ingredients like olives and capers. However, tomatoes softened the taste to a turn.

Blini ar Emo - reijosfood.com

Potato pancakes with whitefish roe and smoked salmon

 

Sei at Emo - reijosfood.com

Roasted saithe

 

Next came the fish! Preparing local Finnish fish under salt cover is really rare at restaurants in Helsinki. And this one was bull’s eye! Right cooking, not over or under, just perfect. Some add on’s like fried potatoes and green salad was there, but focus was on fish.

Second “starter” was Shellfish paella, excellent composite of small octopus, clam and rice.

Rainbow trout at Emo - reijosfood.com

Salt baked rainbow trout

Emon kirjolohi - reijosfood.com

Rainbow trout

 

Paella at Emo - reijosfood.com

Shellfish paella

Third “starter” was Piglet with sauerkraut and apple compote. Sauerkraut was hidden under three pieces of meat pieces. Nice and soft composite.

Hoped that this dish would have arrived a little bit earlier because rainbow trout was almost eaten while waiting piglet.

Pork at Emo- reijosfood.com

Piglet

Fourth and last “starter” was Charcoal grilled horse skewer with mayonnaise. Meat was a little bit dry, but taste of charcoal is always attractive.

Horse at Emo - reijosfood.com

Horse skewer

We ordered wine, which was suggested on the blackboard. Dry and fruit riesling, Boeckel, from Alsace, France paired well with seafood. For meats ordered glass of suggested Merlot which paired well with piglet and horse.

Riesling at Emo - reijosfood.com

Boeckel riesling

Waitering by about 5 different waitresses/waiters was professional. Saithe had to be changed, because it was first served with one ingredient we were asked to leave away.

All seafoods are close to 5, especially salt baked fish earns special note. 4 dishes from the list is enough, 3 might leave you hungry.

Gastrobar Emo is Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant and it deserves to be such.

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

Home – Ravintola EMO





Restaurant review: Demo – Michelin star since 2007

31 08 2014

 

Demo logo. - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Demo is a about 40 -seat Michelin star restaurant that opened it’s doors January 2003. Demo serves high class food combined with personal and friendly service. Restaurant goal is to offer a chance to top quality dining, in a relaxed and cozy environment. Means that Demo is the most casual Michelin star restaurant in Helsinki.

Demo earned it’s first Michelin star in 2007 and has been able to keep it for 7 years in a row. Restaurant is open only in the evenings from Tuesday to Saturday. You have to choose from daily menu between 4, 5, 6 or 7 dishes menu, which is well-thought set of the best dishes restaurant cooks innovate daily. You can also order wine pairings instead of bottle or glass of wine chosen by sommelier.

We decided to enjoy six course dinner with suggested wines. Actual plan was five but luckily we chose six because otherwise we would have missed best course, king prawns. For aperitf we ordered glasses of house champagne, Gosset Grande Reserve Brut, which was excellent choice.

Before first dish of the menu, we were served Greetings from kitchen;  salmon, clam, roe and avocado creme. Perfect kick-off for the dinner. Also got some fresh, delicious sunflower seed bread and carrot brioche with ashed butter.

Demo kitchen greeting - reijosfood.comBreat at Demo - reijosfood.com

First course was masterpiece. Sherry flavored broth was poured at the table on top of foie gras, pork and apple. Taste of sherry was mild, but maybe it would have nominated too much, if flavor would have been stronger.

Wine for this course was French dry white wine, produced from chenin blanc grapes. Perfect pairing!

Demo starter - reijosfood.com

Second course consisted of reindeer and beetroot, combination of salty meat and partly sweet root. Pieces of reindeer carpaccio and cooked ones were delicious, carpaccio was soft as it should be. Also beetroot matched nicely with meat. Would say that best parts of Finnish food ingredients were combained in this dish.

Interesting, but successful wine choice with reindeer and beetroot was Château Miraval Côtes de Provence rosé. This “Brangelina” dry (not the driest) rose wine matched especially well because portion was partly salty and partly sweet. I was wondering, if red wine would have suited better, but maybe not because of sweetness of beetroot. Wine review in previous post.

Reindeer at Demo - reijosfood.comBrangelina rose  - reijosfood.com

Third course was the best of all dishes, grilled King Prawns with pork grease. You can get similar prawns in some restaurants by the Mediterranean Sea but only prawns. Demo kitchen adds flavors from pork, dill and garlic mayonnaise which supplements total enjoyment. You might be a little bit terrified, when you hear that there is some grease included in ingredients, but crispy leaf erases the feeling of fear.

Grand Cru Chablis, of course from chardonnay grapes served with prawns, matched extremely well with shellfish.

Demo - reijosfood.com

Fourth dish was actual main course. Lamb in two ways, fried and braised. Fried meat was crisp and almost tasted like reindeer. Braised meat was excellent with cauliflower and green asparagus. One example of Michelin star kitchen was the potato croquet and beetroot colored wrapping on top of it.

For wine sommelier had chosen Pli from Candialle wine yard, which is owned by Finnish wine producer Jaakko Peränen CANDIALLE – Panzano in Chianti. Perfect pairing, amount of Sangiovese (95%) and Petit Verdot (5%) made the wine soft but well balanced. Must buy it also to home.

Lamb at Demo - reijosfood.comPil red wine at Demo - reijosfood.com

For fifth dishes and first desserts we got two different versions. This was due to our request to avoid certain ingredients in another diners portions. Kitchen succeeded brilliantly in this, because all other portions looked similar.

Cheese ice-cream was at the same time salty and sweet, would say the sweetness dominated. Berry sorbet suited well after meat.

Sweet wine which was served with these desserts had only about 6% of alcoholicity. Similarities to apple cider came to my mind, but wine was not so bubbling as ciders are.

Dessert at Demo - reijosfood.comDessert at Demo - reijosfood.com

Sixth course and second dessert was Ice-Cream mousse with blackcurrant cake. Portion included blackcurrant with three ways, which made the dessert refreshing.

Dessert at Demo - reijosfood.com

With coffee and tea kitchen served small confections which were luscious. Marmalade, marshmallows and soft buscuits were perfect ending for fabulous dinner.

Dessert snacks at Demo - reijosfood.com

Interior was renewed about a year ago, which refreshed the look of dining room. Would say that decor has been successfully implemented, it is not too simple neither overkilled.

Demo bar - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Demo is entitled to Michelin star because of comprehensive culinary experience. Athmosphere is casual and informal, but not too much for Michelin restaurant. Service was of course professional, contents of each portion were told clearly as well as the background of wines.

And this time wines were perfect match for all dishes. Sommelier deserves special thanks for choises and therefore overall grade is almost the best restaurant can get from us. Why not 5 for food? You might complain a little bit about the price level but no more than worth of 0,25 points from the best points for food.

Review from previous visit can be found by using search.

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

Restaurant Demo | ”Share a laugh in the middle of culinary excellence”.

 

 

 





Restaurant review – Gastrobar Emo

1 11 2013

Gastrobar Emo - reijosfood.com

Gastrobar Emo is easy to step in to enjoy easygoing service and good food. Emo (Dam in english) was opened on the 21st of August 2013 in the same place where Michelin star restaurant Olo used to be. Owners are partly the same which should be a proof of excellent food experience.

There is also separate wine bar which provides opportunity to enjoy an aperitif or glass of wine. With drinks you can order snacks from bar menu. We visited wine bar after dinner, there is narrow corridor between dining room and bar but it also has separate entrance.

Emo Wine bar - reijosfood.comEmo Wine bar menu - reijosfood.com

Quite soon after you arrive you will get some snacks and fresh bread with celery butter which was really tasty. Brown paper bag is one way to serve bread but it would have been easier to take bread from bread basket.

Bread at Emo - reijosfood.com

You can choose your dinner from 3 “starters”, 4 “main courses” and 3 “desserts” up to assemblage of 6 foods. Our group decided to go for 3 courses and ordered first 2x FINNISH VENDACE’s and 2x WILD DUCK WITH RED CABBAGE AND APPLE.

Name Finnish vendaces might be misleading; we got Finnish fish but the way it was prepared was actually better than traditionally fried vendaces. Frying in oil instead of frying in a pan with butter made vendaces more crispy but not so greasy. On top of that side dishes were a perfect match.

Vendaces at Emo - reijosfood.com

Next courses were 3x GREENLAND HALIBUT WITH POTATOES “GOBBAS GÅRD” and 1x WILD DUCK WITH RED CABBAGE AND APPLE.

Halibut was bull’s eye. Cooked to a turn and two different ways to serve potato complemented fish nicely.

If you take wild duck for starter it is served on stone plate, which is clever idea to convert “main course” to “starte”r. There was three different ways to serve duck and again duck paired perfectly with cabbage and apple.

Halibut at Emo - reijosfood.comWild duck at Emo - reijosfood.com

And for dessert 3x EUROPEAN CHEESE SORTIMENT and for me second main course 1x GREENLAND HALIBUT WITH POTATOES “GOBBAS GÅRD”

There were 3 different cheeses on the plate: blue cheese, cow and goat cheese. Apple and onion conserves supplemented taste of cheeses nicely.

Cheese plate at Emo - reijosfood.com

One kind request; please make portions a little bit bigger 🙂 Or maybe intention is to eat at least 5 portions which hopefully are not too small. Otherwise Emo manages food part fine and earns a place as laid-back little brother of Olo.

We asked recommendation for dry riesling and waitress suggested MAX FERDINAND RICHTER MülHEIMER SONNENLAY RIESLING ZEPPELIN 2012 MOSEL from Germany which we ordered. After tasting, as wine seemed not to be dry, asked for the amount of sugar. 35g for “dry” is quite a lot, but wine itself was basically OK. A positive thing is the pricing of wines; most of them were less expensive than they usually are in a fine dining restaurants like Emo is.

Waitering was thoughtful and professional but we could have managed without overflowing twitter.

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

http://emo-ravintola.fi/en/





Restaurant review: Demo

26 08 2012

Restaurant Demo is a 45 -seat Michelin star restaurant that opened its doors January 2003. Demo serves high class food combined with personal and friendly service. Demo is owned by chefs Tommi Tuominen & Teemu Aura. Their goal is to offer a chance to top quality dining, in a relaxed and cozy environment. Means that Demo is casual Michelin star restaurant in Helsinki. Background music includes lounge music, Sade Adu but also more fast tracks. Waitering is also easy-going but professional.

Demo earned it’s first Michelin star in 2007 and has been able to keep it for five years. Restaurant is open only in the evenings from Tuesday to Saturday. On Saturday you can only choose Menu fo the Day of 4, 5 or 6 portions, which you do not know beforehand. You can also order wine pairings instead of bottle or glass of wine chosen by sommelier. Oldest wine served with food was this time from 1989.

Menu started with Greetings from kitchen; salmon and roe which were perfectly complimented with delicious wasabi sauce. One small spoonful, could have eaten at least five of them.

First course consisted of crayfish, fennel and gherkings. Great combination! Crayfish, which is the best tasting shellfish, was soft and juicy. White wine with first course was Savignon Blanc from Spain; rare grape for Spanish vineyards. Savignon Blanc is not the favourite one, prefer usually Riesling, but this time it suited well for the crayfish.

Second course was Forest deer carpaccio with carrots, fennel, parsley and delicious paste. Roe or forest deer was so tender you could have eaten it with a spoon.  White wine served tasted a little bit too much for butter. It was again from Spain; interesting that you can not find any Spanish white wines from wine list.

Third course was Pan fried cod, mussel fregola and lemon grass sauce. Cod was prepared with orthodox way, meat of the fish was cooked to a turn and skin was crispy and delicious. Mussel fregola matched well with fish and cooked like pasta should. This time white wine was Chardonnay from France. Wine aroma and flavour was oaken as Chardonnay’s usually are but not so buttery as it could have been.

Fourth course and first dessert was Cheese selection and house nut bread. Enjoyment started from the left with milder cheeses. When stronger white mold cheese smeteld in the mouth felt like it could not become better. However, when salty and strong blue cheese ended course, earlier evaluation was wrong. Kitchen also had taken into consideration one of our wishes and served sweet Ravioli instead of cheeses. For cheeses wine was sweet vintage red which tasted almost port wine. For ravioli wine was sweet white wine.

Bread seemed to be one of Demo’s specialities. House nut bread with cheeses was excellent but focaccia and bread with fennel were super excellent!

Fifth course and second dessert was Arctic cloudberries with yogurt and popcorn. Popcorn was pleasant surprise and the whole portion scrumptious. White wine served was sweet and it was perfect match with dessert which was not too sweet.

With coffee and tea kitchen served small confections which were luscious. After eating two pieces already thought that third might be too much.

One interesting detail was that you can find small pictures of owners/chefs on the restroom wall’s.

Restaurant Demo deserves Michelin star because of excellent food experience. One change in selection of wines for food; grade for food experience would have been 5.

Restaurant became almost full in the evening which meant that service became a little bit slower. Started dinner quite early when there was only few people seated. Got greeting from kitchen and two first courses quite quickly which meant that had 3 wine classes simultaneously at the table. Would have hoped a little bit more balanced timing for waitering, but staff explained well the contents of portions and what wine was served with each dish.

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

http://www.restaurantdemo.fi/demo_en

https://reijosfood.com/2012/03/14/michelin-star-restaurants-in-finland-2012/

http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/web/Restaurant/Helsingfors_Helsinki-00120-Demo-119682-41102





Michelin star restaurants in Helsinki 2019 – sixth restaurant awarded with star

20 02 2019

Michelin Guide announced new list of Michelin starred restaurants in Finland today, again one new restaurant got it’s first Michelin star, Palace. This may not be surprise because restaurant was established by two famous chef’s Eero Vottonen and Hans Välimäki. In the past Välimäki’s restaurant had 2 Michelin stars. Vottonen was 2018 Finland’s representative in Bocuse d’Or competion. Today Vottonen is the main chef and Välimäki has opened Penelope restaurant, which represents quite different style

Five restaurants kept 1 Michelin star, all in Helsinki. 

It seems that other cities are not yet included in Michelin reviews although there are good candidates.

 

Restaurants with 1 Michelin star in Helsinki, Finland are:

Ask, Vironkatu 8, Helsinki – http://restaurantask.com/?lang=en

Ora, Huvilakatu 28, Helsinki – http://www.orarestaurant.fi/

Demo, Uudenmaankatu 9-11, Helsinki – http://www.restaurantdemo.fi/?lang=fi

Olo, Pohjoisesplanadi 5, Helsinki – http://olo-ravintola.fi/en/

Grön, Albertinkatu 36 – https://www.restaurantgron.com/

Palace, Eteläranta 10 – http://www.palacerestaurant.fi/fi/etusivu/

 

Demo bar - reijosfood.com

Picture from restaurant Demo which has had Michelin star since 2007.

Picture from Grön about 3 years ago – dish waiting for sauce

 

Bib Gourmand restaurants are Boulevard Social, Gaijin and Farang, owned by same chefs, incredible achievement year over year. Emo was dropped from the list. Jord was able to keep it’s position

I would add to this list at least restaurants Copas y Tapas, SPIS, ….Today there are at least dozen restaurants, which provide excellent food with decent prices and professional service. I shall bet Michelin consultants have not had time to visit all those.

Anyway, all listed restaurants earned to be named.





Restaurant review: Pobre – Filipino kitchen with a twist

1 02 2019

Pobre opened in January 2018 and it serves New Filipino food. Background for Pobre can be found from the times Restaurant Day still officially existed. Restaurant delivers dishes that vibrate the flavors of the Philippines. In Filipino culture, food is always a centerpiece of any gathering. Cooking is a way to bring a family together and the value of a memorable dining experience is at the very core of our identity.

Pobre is located in Kamppi Shopping Center at 5th floor where there is “Block” (Kortteli) consisting of about 10 different kind and style of restaurants.

Menu is short but all the dishes sound tempting. Difficult to choose what to order when visiting first time.

Started the dinner with SISIG Sizzling, braised pork neck, red onion, spring onion, chili, egg and dumplings QUASH & COCONUT Coconut chips, chives, soy-calamansi sauce, xo sauce.

Sisig was eaten with fingers, stew was placed on baby gem salad leaves and spiced with chili and garlic oils, which were made in the restaurant. Spices were in the small jars and you can make this dish as spice as you want. Brilliant idea to serve different tastes.

Manila dumplings were vegan as all the side dishes available. Again spicing from jars made this dish delicious.

 

For main courses ordered SEAFOOD SINIGANG Salmon, tiger prawns, seasonal vegetables, taro, tamarind broth and PANSIT CANTON Handmade noodles, seasonal vegetables, ©Jalotofu, soy-sesame sauce.

Also ordered for side dishes SPINACH LAING Spinach, coconut sauce and BERDE SALAD Baby gem lettuce, shaved cucumber, carrots, pickled mangoes, kohlrabi, sesame vinaigrette.

Sinigang was served in a hot bowl which kept also the food really warm for long time. Salmon was still soft as it was in the broth and prawns crispy.

Pansit Canton was tasty vegan dish. You could order the same dish with other ingredients, tofu is one option.

And both side dishes were excellent due to dressings and spices. Vegetables are Finnish but when you add the Filipino twist, even they can be really yummy.

 

You have to walk to the end of dining area at 5th floor and you find Pobre behind the glass wall’s. Restaurant has only about 25 seats, so it is important to make table reservation beforehand.

Must say that Pobre is one of the best newcomers in Helsinki restaurant scene.

Food is excellent, fresh and served with impressive way. Prices are affordable compared to many casual fine dining restaurants.

Service is professional although the small space does not help the work. On the other hand it makes Pobre more intimate and cozy.

Can recommend restaurant if you like Asian food! That’s why overall grade is almost 5.

 

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

https://www.pobre.fi/

 





Restaurant review: Yes Yes Yes – re-visit

23 09 2018

Yes Yes Yes is bar & restaurant where food just happens to be vegetarian or vegan. Spot was opened in November 2017 by the same chef’s who run popular restaurants The Cock and Holiday. One can not find meat or even fish on the menu but dairy products are used in some dishes, which makes the restaurant vegetarian.

Visited 2nd time restaurant in September, ten months after opening. Menu was now renewed. First visit in January only two months after opening was successful. You can find previous review by using search.

Most of the tables are by big open windows. Two bars are mostly meant for diners. In order to eat there it does not require table reservation, which is otherwise necessarily to make.

Menu includes so called Munchies, small snacks, Dips and Tandoori breads, Roots & Greens, Comfort Plates, Extras and Sweetie Pies. Pricing is simple; 10€, 12€ or 14€ per dish. Food is shareable which is todays way to serve and enjoy the dinner.

Recommendation for two: Order 4-5 dishes and share at least 2 of them. Sizes of dishes are like racion, not tapas.

First we got vegan flatbread and dip which included avocado, pistachio and thai basil. Parmesan was left out in vegan version but is was not actually needed. Combination was delicious. Ordered later on “normal” flatbread to accompany so called main course and it was really tasty.

Next we were served Charred kale, pickled grapes, burnt corn and toasted sesame. Crispy kale was perfect and paired perfectly with other ingredients.

As “main courses” we had Black bean noodles, tofu, gems, peanut and sweet chili and Risotto, cherry, lemon, tellicherry pepper, parmesan and flowers.
Noodle dish was tasty, slightly salty but it did not bother. Risotto was the one which raised eye brows. Color and aroma were interesting which luckily did not had an influence in taste.


Last time had for wine Spanish Alma de Casa (Soul of the House), but that was finished. Instead ordered Italian Gianni Tessari’s Pian Alto Colli Berici DOC. Very intensive wine from Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere and Merlot.

Yes Yes Yes is propably the most popular vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Helsinki at the moment. Restaurant was packed full most of the time. Even the bar chairs were occupaid by diners.

Food is excellent, requires extra innovation to prepare dishes with not so known ingredients.

Last time all dishes came almost at the same time and table was full of plates but this was improved. Dishes came to table one by one and we really had time to enjoy our dishes.

Most of the customers are women, especially groups. As no meat either fish dishes are available that might have something to do with it.

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

https://www.yesyesyes.fi/





Restaurant review: Shelter

4 08 2018

Restaurant Shelter locates in an old warehouse at Katajanokka, next to restaurant Holiday. The owners and designers of restaurant are Teemu Laurell, Antti Asujamaa and Lennu Sukapää. Teemu Laurell was the winner of Finnish Top Chef competition in season 2012. There is also terrace front of the building where you can enjoy aperitives in the summer time. As it is on two sides of the building you can have different views depending on your preference.

Shelter serves 3, 4 or 5 course surprise Chef’s menu, but a la carte is also available. Food is combination of Finnish and international flavours, which makes it extremely facinating.

Decided to order 4 course Chef’s menu. All menus are also available as vegan.

Of course, started the dinner with aperitives. This time House Champagne, which was refreshing and tasty

First course from the starters list Roasted flatberad with carrot hummus, marinated radishes & goat cheese.

Delicious combination of almost sweet and sour flavors accompanied with just baked warm bread. In vegan version cheese was left out.

Second course was Grilled pulpo with almond romesco, kale & yuzu yoghurt.

Octopus was prepared well, crispy and and at the same time soft from inside. Again brilliant mixture of savors which made the dish appetizing.

Vegan version looked similar but it based on broccoli.

Third course was Grilled sirloin of beef with smoked bone marrow, truffle & vegetables from Långötorp farm.

So called main course was again tasty. Only thing which could be different is the type pf meat. A little bit too greasy for my taste.

Vegan version was Grilled Långötorp´s vegetables & forest mushrooms. On the top of dish was vegan cheese.

Desserts were Strawberries with elderflower, champage parfait & sorrel and White chocolate with lemon verbena, lemon sherbet & milk merinque

Perfect ending for the dinner!

Visited Shelter two times during the same week. Both times restaurant was able to provide similar experience. Service was polite and professional and food excellent.

Because of that and old building where restaurant is located, Shelter earns extra points. There are not so many window tables but we were lucky to get one. At least try to ask for it.

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

http://www.shelter.fi/menu





Restaurant review: Sue Ellen

24 06 2018

Restaurant Sue Ellen was opened in November 2017 and it replaced Bystro, which was also owned by the same chef’s familiar from Demo and Muru. Bystro served Russian food, but Sue Ellen has quite different cuisine. It comes from Southern coast of America like Savannah, South Carolina and Charleston. Sue Ellen is good example of new “pop-up” trend in restaurant scene. Instead of fine tuning decoration and menu, close old concept and open new one.

Sue Ellen is located in former colonial merchant’s house by the sea, opposite to Old Market Hall. Hotel Haven is behind or around the restaurant and many guests of course use the opportunity to dine without need to walk far.

The name of the restaurant presumably raises eye brows of those who remember old TV series called Dallas. If you go to wash your hands, you can even see pictures of main characters.

There is one special dish restaurant offers. You can order whole Piglet 3-4 days beforehand. Of course there are shellfishes, oysters and some other meat dishes available, but piglet is quite extraordinary.

Decided to order 4 course menu, which cost 55€, as waitress told that it was also available as vegan. Also ordered wines suggested for the dishes.

Vegan starter was GREEN TOMATOES Fresh salad and Louisiana remoulade and standard CAROLINA CRABCAKE & OKRA SALAD Romesco paste, lemon curd.

Tomatoes were the best part of vegan dinner. Because of those, expectations were quite high for next dishes.

Crabcake was tasty, one could really find the taste of juicy crabs. Paste made the dish even more delicious.

Wine served for both starters was Pinot Noir from Robert Mondavi. Fruity and almost full-bodied wine paired perfectly with starters.

 

Second dish on the menu was SPICY MANGO Baby gem, fried shallot, pimento.

Vegan dish did not include biscuits on the top of the food. Mango was not so sweet because it travels quite long time from country of origin before fruits end up to Finland. As being used for enjoying often spicy food, dish was slight disappointment.

Wine served was German Riesling from Böcking. Dry, crispy and fresh wine comes from Mosel area and for mango, it matched perfectly.

Next and last salty dishes were Asparagus based vegan dish and SLIGHTLY SMOKED BRISKET Brisket ”Au Jus”, roasted cauliflower purée and broccoli

Second vegan main course was combination of different vegetables and roots. The idea came from dish called FROM THE SEA, which includes asparagus and sweet potato chips. However, typically restaurants provide tofu or some other protein product like Härkis or Nyhtökaura replacing meat of fish. In this case restaurant did not have those.

Brisket was excellent, tender (au jus means juicy) and fumigating was made with skill. Was just hoping for the third slice as was still hungry. Tiny side dish was also perfect match when it comes to taste: but again, double the amount and this dish would have been bull’s eye.

Both wines come from Charles Smith Wines. Boom Boom Syrah for meat and Eve Chardonnay for vegan dish. Waitress actually chose white wine as it paired better with asparagus and other veggies.

Dessert / Sweet of the Day on the menu was Chocolate cake, which was delicious with all add-on’s. Sorbet was included in both dishes and as it is prepared at restaurant, it was also very tasty.

Desset wine from Bigaro, Piemonte, Italy is produced with two different grapes, one white (Muscat) and a black (Brachetto). Amount of alcohol is only 5%, which makes this perfect summer wine.

Sue Ellen wanted to provide vegan dishes for 4 course menu, but that seemed to be quite difficult. Standard menu was delicious and worth to order, although portions are not that big. As many restaurants provide also vegan version of their menu, grade is compared to those.

Service was casual but professional, the contents of dishes were explained well and the pace of serving food was well planned. Waitress also changed the champagne aperitif as she saw that there were not enough bubbles.

Same owners have also new interesting experimental restaurant Ultima in the same building. Part of the ingredients are grown in the restaurant and 90% come anyway from Finland.

REVIEW: FOOD Vegan 2,5/5 Standard 4-/5 – SERVICE 4,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4-/5

https://sue-ellen.fi/en/





Restaurant review: Roster Helsinki – Wappu Eve dinner

20 05 2018
Roster is a Bar & Restaurant near Market Square opposite to statue of Havis Amanda. Always full in the evenings as far as when it comes to those visits been there.
.
Visited Roster this time on the 30th of April 2018, which is Eve for Wappu (Vappu), the day before May Day. Had not make table reservation because the plan was only to have drinks at the bar. But luckily asked for table and got the best table possible to watch capping of statue of Havis Amanda. There are two tables facing to the statue by the window. One has to sit side by side because the table is like a window ledge. One can not reserve these tables, but on the other hand, sitting there is not so convenient as in “normal” table.
.
In the short video clip one can see waving of secondary school graduate caps before the statue gets it’s own huge cap. Video was filmed through the window while having dinner.

As mentioned earlier had the drinks in the bar. Champagne Taittinger tasted refreshing, it was the champagne of the day.

 

Starters were Carrotofu Charred carrot, yuzu and crispy tofu and Straight Outta Sea Cured salmon, crispy rye and roe emulsion

Tofu and carrot were excellent, the way dish was prepared was master piece. As menu changes quite often it provides new experiences also for vegans.

Salmon was fresh, almost like straight from the Baltic sea. Always nice to taste new ways to to serve traditional Finnish food which is more typical in the Christmas time.

 

For main coursed had vegan dish Jerusalem Art Artichoke terrine, marinated chard and savory mayonnaise and Mighty Sole Pan fried whole torbay Sole, grilled cos lettuce and Green Goddess sauce.

Artichoke was tasty and matched well with side dishes. Roster has always had excellent vegan choises.

Fish was perfectly fried, not over cooked, which would make it chewy. One of the best thing about Sole is that fish bones do not bother at all. Still you get all the taste which they can provide. Grilled salad was delicious, have also tried that at home, and it is easy. But what makes it tasty, is the sauce and that is more difficult part.

And always tasty side dishes, Roasted Potatoes and Cauliflower with Satay sauce, made the portions fill the stomachs.

 

Most of the times have visited Roster, the wine has been Ned & Henry’s from Hewitson. This wine suits to all dishes even with the fish, which was proven with starter and main course.

For second aperitif tasted house Sima, which is made only for Wappu from water, brown sugar, lemons and yeast. If you wait enough long yeast and sugar start to produce alcohol and then you have close to cider kind of drink

Roster Helsinki is combination of fine dining in casual athmosphere. Dishes are ambitious and their names entertaining. The menu which was served was vol. 10. Quite soon early May there is new menu available.

If you reserve table enough early, ask for window table. Havis Amanda Square opens up just front of the restaurant.

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

https://rosterhelsinki.com/





Restaurant review: Samsara (Maspalomas, Gran Canaria, Spain)

3 03 2018

Usually write about restaurants in Helsinki, Finland, but if find noteworthy spot somewhere else, review ends up here. Gran Canaria is one of the most holiday destinations, especially the south part. Most of the restaurants do not differ so much from each other and you can similar food from each restaurant. Some try to be a little fancier, maybe the the fanciest are at the hotels.

Restaurant Samsara in Costa Meloneras is hidden gem or not because it is so popular. It’s location is interesting, one could not guess from outside that in that worn building there is a fusion cuisine spacious restaurant with it’s own style. Decoration comes from Asia, buddha style dominating.

The idea is to share portions, dishes are not classified to starters and main courses. If you decide to eat one dish by yourself, there is not room for so called starter.

To start the dinner with, Samsara served Samosas for apetizers both times. Delicious snack is a nice bridge for courses you are waiting for. There will also be a small white roll, which is not needed and actually it does not fit in to the ensamble.

First visit dishes were “fish lasagne” POUPIETE DE LENGUADO Y SALMON AHUMADO CON CREMA DE LANGOSTA ORIENTAL and FILETES DE TOFU ENROLLADOS CON HOJA DE ESPINACA EN SALSA DE SETA SHITAKE.

“Lasagne” was tasty but as waiter said it was not so exotic and spicy as many other dishes. Wanted to try how two fishes, salmon and cod, paired with cheese. Interesting experience!

Tofu replaced turkey in vegan version of this dish. Dish was tasty and tofu cooked crispy.

For wine ordered Mas de Quince from bodegas Piedemonte. Winery is located in the town of Olite in Navarra, Spain of course. It was founded in 1992. The red varieties grown are: garnacha, tempranillo, merlot and cabernet sauvignon. Wine was created from grapes sourced from more than 15 year old vineyards, with an average yield of 4000 kg/ha. Color was dark ruby and taste balanced with smooth tannins.

When visiting second time ordered SOLOMILLO CON CURRY PANANG and VERDURAS SALTEADAS CON CURRY DE MATSUMAN Y LECHE DE COCO ACOMPAÑADO DE ARROZ JAZMIN.

Tenderloin in curry sauce with vegetables and cashew nuts was bulls eye. Spicy and sweet sauce as well as soft, crispy pieces of meat made this dish excellent.

Vegan version of curry was not so spicy as expected but propably for many it was enough strong. Delicious dish and of course big portion.

Principe de Viana Edition Limitade was the wine we enjoyed during second visit. Grapes come from different wineyards and they are Tempranillo 25% Plot “El Carrascal”, Merlot 50% Plot “El Crucero” and Cabernet Sauvignon 25% Plot “La Muga”. It has been aged in 225-litre oak barrels for 14 months. Wine has deep ruby red colour. Taste is round and well-structured, dark berries and fruits with hints of vanilla.

When you enter to restaurant by climbing the stairs, you first see giant statue. Outside there is chilling area for enjoying drinks. There is also few tables for dining but winter time sometimes might be to cold to eat outside.

Indoor you can find different spaces. Dining rooms are decorated with sculptures, pictures, small items and all are more or less looking like there were brought from Asia or India.

 

Samsara serves some spicy dishes, but all of them are kind of pieces of art. Serving plates, bowls or trays are huge due to size of portions. One speciality is desserts, one can beforehand order cake for birthday party or for other celebration.

Service is propably the best in Costa Meloneras, many waiters and waitresses are ready to to serve.

Restaurant is open only in evenings and it is fully booked almost all the time. Therefore if you want to visit it, make your reservation enough early. They might ask to re-confirm it, but it is worth of it.

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

http://www.samsara-gc.com/indexe.html





Michelin star restaurants in Helsinki 2018 – back to track

19 02 2018

 

Michelin Guide announced new list of Michelin starred restaurants in Finland today, one new restaurant got it’s first Michelin star, Grön.

Three restaurants kept 1 Michelin star, all in Helsinki. Chef & Sommelier was closed but same owners got right away one star for their new restaurant Ora.

It seems that other cities are not yet included in Michelin reviews although there are good candidates.

 

Restaurants with 1 Michelin star in Helsinki, Finland are:

Ask, Vironkatu 8, Helsinki – http://restaurantask.com/?lang=en

Ora, Huvilakatu 28, Helsinki – http://www.orarestaurant.fi/

Demo, Uudenmaankatu 9-11, Helsinki – http://www.restaurantdemo.fi/?lang=fi

Olo, Pohjoisesplanadi 5, Helsinki – http://olo-ravintola.fi/en/

Grön, Albertinkatu 36 – https://www.restaurantgron.com/

 

Demo bar - reijosfood.com

Picture from restaurant Demo which has had Michelin star since 2007.

Picture from Grön about 2 years ago – dish waiting for sauce

 

Helsinki got one Bib Gourmand restaurant more. Boulevard Social, Gaijin and Farang are owned by same chefs, incredible achievement year over year. Emo was named again. Jord is the new restaurant.

I would add to this list at least restaurants Copas y Tapas, SPISBar Con, Roster, The CockYes Yes Yes,….Today there are at least dozen restaurants which provide excellent food with decent prices and professional service. I shall bet Michelin consultants have not had time to visit all those.

Anyway, all listed restaurants earned to be named.





Restaurant review: Säm – Asian Bar and Kitchen

13 01 2018


Säm – Asian Bar and Kitchen bistro was opened in Helsinki at the end of August 2017 by a former 2 Michelin star chef Hans Välimäki and Restamax Group. Restaurant Säm is part of Asian cuisine complex. It is located at the ground floor; at the 2nd floor there is Masu – Asian bistro. Masu tries to be more sophisticated but also relaxed. Visited Masu 3 weeks after it was opened, review can be found by using search.

Originally the idea was that Säm serves more like street food. However, many of the dishes and their prices are the same in both spots. That applies to wine list too.

Decided to try order “small dishes” for starter. Chose Nonohana Rabe Broccoli in soy-chili sauce, garlic, sesam and kewpie mayo and Sticky “Vietnamese style” chicken wings Crispy fried and glazed chicken wings 3 pcs.

Unfortunately small dishes came at the same time as main courses. So, do not order them as starters.

Broccoli dish was tasty, amount of mayo actually helped in that.

Wings were exactly as they were described on the menu, very delicious. Mayo dip matched well with them.

Unfortunately small dishes came at the same time as main courses. So, do not order them as starters.

For main courses had Hot Paa Naam Tok Mushrooms in sesame oil, soy, lemon grass, chili, mint, lime and roasted garlic and Ramen Roasted pork ribs, vegetables, kimchi, nudels and lots of goodies….

Vegan dish was huge and because that it became cold too soon. Dish is quite diversified when it comes to herbs and spices. Difficult to find main taste.

As nudels in Ramen were more like thick spaghetti, they were extremely difficult to eat with sticks. Second problem was to overwhelming broth which was easy to drop and splash on your clothes. Unfortunately taste was too mild for Asian dish and pork was quite greasy.

Wine list, when it comes to red’s, is quite short and prices are quite expensive for casual bistro. Tried one of the few full-bodied, Saint Cosme Côtes-du-Rhône 2016 from France. This vegan wine produced from Syrah grapes paired well with all dishes although the tastes of dishes were quite modest. However, the price for this kind of food is too expensive.

Portions are well prepared and stylish looking. Main courses are quite large, which means that you do not necessarily need additional side dishes. Several vegan options was also positive.

Last time when we ate at Masu, there were only sticks on the table when you arrived. This time also spoons were given right away.

Location is perfect, try to get window table and you see the Park Esplanade, Swedish Teater and restaurant Teatteri opposite to Säm.

As portions did not taste as Asian as they should, can not give more points for food. Expected more use of spices and herbs. Both Säm and Masu mention on they web-site that they are for Finnish taste, might be then difficult to compete in the future with more taste rich Asian restaurants.

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

http://www.ravintola.fi/ravintola/sam-helsinki/





Restaurant review: Kungfu Kitchen

3 12 2017

Kungfu Kitchen is the first restaurant concept by Miro Kurvinen, 2014 Finnish Master Chef. Restaurant was opened in May 2017. Both the food and the ambiance of the restaurant itself are straight-forward and unpretentious. The restaurant’s food philosophy is based on a few important cornerstones: Flavor, freshness and presentation. Kungfu Kitchen offers up dishes made from fresh local ingredients. The cuisine ranges from modern classics to innovative cross-kitchen dishes and simple bar food with a relaxed Asian twist.

During lunch service, the restaurant offers up a quick self-service buffet. In the evenings one can stop by for a drink and a few bar snacks. Dinner is based on a la carte list or chef’s menus. The bar itself is small just front of the dining area.

For starters ordered BAHNBAO, Soft Steamed Vietnamese buns, Crispy pork belly and Teriyaki marinated pulled oat.

Pork was crispy as the name of the dish promised. Combination of spices, herbs and meat was delicious. Restaurant could offer this also as main course if there would be two buns in a basket.

Pulled oat (in Finnish Nyhtökaura) is Finnish vegan innovation which has become popular since introduction. Now some restaurants have started to use it and propably it increases their attractiveness. Pulled oat with teriayki was delicious and definately suitable for asian flavours.

Main courses were Daily wish with lemongrass bisque and  All the good stu in bowl: Fragrant jasmine rise, vegetables, fried egg with Shiitake mushrooms and tofu.

Fish of the day was pike perch, delicous white meated Finnish lake fish. After bringing the fish plate to the table, waitress poured the sauce, lemongrass bisque, on top of the portion. Fish itself was perfectly grilled and with vegetables enjoyable ensemble.

One can choose to bowl three different options and one is with mushrooms and tofu. Dish was spicy and tasty, pleasant suprise especially when it comes to strongness of spices.

 

For wine had Antonio Rubini Appassimento, Italian red wine from Apulia. Wine paired perfectly with starters and main courses and the spices used. Full-bodied with medium tannins, wine was luscious and enough spicy. And when it comes to price, affordable bottle for the quality it provided.

Service is professional, only hick-up was in word fries. Tried to order them as side dish but two waitresses heard rice. So better use the whole name of the dish, Kungfu fries.

And then the price of water, paid 6 euros for still water. One can explain the price with Thoreau Water which is a Swedish Design Concept for serving water that is produced locally. But as far I understand it is still tap water?

Kungfu Kitchen is excellent restaurant for Asian cuisine lovers. Food is fresh and tasty, definately a place to re-visit. It has many vegan choises which is becoming more and more popular trend.

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

https://www.kungfukitchen.fi/








%d bloggers like this: