Restaurant review: Ragu

26 01 2019

Restaurant Ragu opened its doors April 15, 2014, respecting the history of renovated Neo-Renaissance house in the 1890s. Restaurant has several dining rooms due to old building, but it makes the spaces more private although one could call the area open concept. Success has continued since opening and Ragu was fully booked when we dined there on nice October Saturday. Although restaurant promotes still separate bar, it is reserved for diners nowadays.

Food is Scandinavian although one could think it is Italian due to name. Anyway, all wines come from Italy (except Champagnes).

Had been in Ragu several years ago but as they now serve Ludari menu also as vegan decided to dine there again. Ordered also pairing wines in order to test how well Italian wines match with Nordic cuisine. The name of the menu comes from the street restaurant is located, Ludviginkatu, I believe.

After placing the order freshly baked 4 different breads and 4 different spreads were brought to the table.

 

Menu was built around fresh Finnish ingredients, lot’s of vegetables were used. Vegan and standard menu outlook’s did not differ that much which means that kitchen really thought about dishes.

 

 

Second starter was impressive. When jar was opened, smoke rose up. Unfortunately could not catch that in the picture. Vegan version was based on roasted cauliflower.

 

Two main courses were maybe a little bit too much as after first one you already feel full. Both vegan and standard menu included pasta which fills the stomach.

 

Desserts were sweet and tasty. Also the paring wines were well chosen as they were not the sweetest ones.

 

Food at Ragu is well prepared, elegantly set and delicious. Finnish-Italian fusion cuisine works well by combining best parts of both. Only if there had been more depth of flavors and spices grade for food would have been close to 5.

Waitresses take orders and serve drinks but you can meet chef’s and confectiners as they bring some of the portions to the tables. The contents of each portion was explained well and it is needed, if you choose surprise menu as we did.

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





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





Finland 100 years

6 12 2017

Finland celebrates its 100 years of independence on the 6th of December 2017. Many countries, cities, private and public organizations around the world honor it by illuminating monuments and sights.

Most impressive seemed to be Colosseum, which was illuminated already on the 5th of December.

Colosseum in Rome, Italy

 

 

From Finland one of the best light arts and world’s biggest one by Kari Kola comes from Lappland.

Saana in Enontekiö

Below you can find a link to list of spots which are lightened up in blue and white. New sights are published all the time.

http://suomifinland100.fi/news/world-congratulates-100-year-old-finland-lighting-blue-white/?lang=en

100 years independency deserves vintage champagne, Palmes d’Or 2004 from Nicolas Feuillatte. Non alcoholic sparkling choice is Kuohuva Kuusenkerkkä from Finnish producer Korpihilla.

 

Happy Indepence Day!





Restaurant review: Kappeli

9 07 2017

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.

In the summer you can also dine at the outside terrace, which is at the end of the building behind main terrace. If you want to sit in the middle of the main terrace but inside, ask for oriel window table for two. It is small but charming and one can even watch bands and singers at the stage opposite to the restaurant. We dined in that small glass walled space on Mid-Summer Eve.

Kappeli - reijosfood.com

Menu today looks tempting and first time it included vegan dish. But as it was Mid-Summer, it was nice to start the dinner with Vodka Martini. Unfortunately, as drink order was taken at the same time as food orders, starter came earlier than aperitif.

For starters ordered Kappeli’s Green salad and Prawn salad and smoky chilli dressing Citrus and tarragon marinated prawns, fried potatoes, samphire, cherry tomatoes seasoned with sorrel and egg.

Prawns were fresh and tasty. Potatoes were extremely delicious, they were cooked somehow differently than ever seen before. I do no recommend to try to spoon the tomatoes with fork, they might surprise you…

As green salad was so basic, no picture or story.

As main courses had Chargrilled whitefish, fried scallops and a fish roe and crème fraîche sauce Almond potato purée seasoned with dill, grilled spring cucumber and carrots and Broad bean and tomato ragù Deep-fried kale, fried mushrooms, macerated mini plum tomatoes and vegan cheese.

Long names for portions and all ingredients well listed.

Whitefish is favorite Finnish fish, light and not greasy at all like salmon. Side dishes were delicious and paired well with the main dish.

Ragu was made of Finnish invention called “Härkis“. It is made from broad beans and also available in the supermarkets. Vegan dishes are not basically meant to look or taste like meat, but this one was made so well that could have thought it was minced meat like ragu usually consists of. With spaghetti would be perfect, made like that.

 

For wine had organic Savia Viva from Pares Balta. Paired well with all dishes enjoyed. Take a look at the label! You can see some historic pictures from Finland, including Kappeli.

Kappeli is a perfect place to try Finnish kitchen in the center of events. Most of the diners are tourists especially now when it was Mid-Summer Eve.

Food was the best one so far compared to previous visits. Especially ragu surprised.

Service was polite and professional, but as mentioned earlier, aperitif was brought too late.

 

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

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

 

 





Restaurant review: Tony’s deli

9 05 2015

Tony's deli - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Tony’s deli was re-opened in April 2015 after an extensive renovation. Italian cuisine continues to be the main attraction, but restaurant includes now more space due to the new spot at street level.

Main restaurant, Tony’s deli, serves more sophisticated portions like it did in the past.

Tony's deli - reijosfood.com

Lounge diVino with shop has a antipasti buffet and new in restaurant concept, Italian Street bar, is most relaxed, when it comes to athmosphere. There you can order antipasti trays and even listen modern music.

Lounge diVino - reijosfood.com

Antipasti Buffet - reijosfood.com

Tony’s deli (restaurant name) was founded already in 2005, but after some changes in restaurant location and ownership, Ravintolakolmio http://www.ravintolakolmio.fi/ operates it.

First hiccup came when asked recommendation for aperitif and if restaurant has Aperol Spritz. Waitress had to go ask if they have it….. Decided to order Campari soda and glass of house champagne, which was Mumm.

Campari soda - reijosfood.com

Started dinner with Antipasti as in Italian restaurant you should do. Depending on the amount and size of these small Italian snacks, you soon know if you have to skip Primi Piatti, pastas, which are also on menu.

For antipasti had Tony’s delis beef carpaccio with raspberry vinegar, Olives with basil and rocket and Grilled gem lettuce with parmesan and pine nuts.

Beef was tender but taste was covered under sweet vinegar, salt and parmesan. With less of those, this dish would have been excellent. Olives are good example of basic Italian antipasti and Tony’s deli managed well. Gem lettuce could have been more grilled, but it must be difficult to avoid burning of soft lettuce leave.

With starters restaurant serves delicious foccaccia and even gluten-free bread if needed.

Beef Carpaccio - reijosfood.com

Olives at Tony's deli - reijosfood.com

Salad at Tony's deli - reijosfood.com

For main courses ordered Braised entrecote of beef with thyme and red wine sauce and Pan-fried white fish with white wine sauce. For main courses you have to choose side dish from 8 different alternatives. Part of them are the same as starters.

Entrecote was braised well so that grease had almost gone. Only problem was that lettuce was softening in sauce. Suggest to serve it in separate bowl as potatoes for whitefish. Fish was well prepared but maybe side dish suggestion, potatoes, is not the perfect match.

Braised entrecote - reijosfood.com

Whitefish at Tony's deli - reijosfood.com

Wine list is modest consisting mainly from Italian wines. Chose for red wine Chianti which paired well with meat starter and main course. Montiggl riesling instead was dissappointment. Tasted almost like sauvignon blanc and it was served too early. Had to ask ice for it.

Noticed that restaurant offers wine tastings, but if 4 glasses are filled with 16cl at once, what happens to temperature of white wines?

Chianti at Tony's deli - reijosfood.com

Tony’s deli antipasti buffet is the one you must choose, if you visit restaurant. It is most popular among diners. Main courses are of course most difficult to prepare.

As restaurant has been opened month ago, waitering needs still some guidance.

Italian pizzeria music in the background might attract most and main dining room is quite impressive due to glass roof. There are many paintings on the wall’s and Sophia Loren is still on men’s room wall.

Sophia Loren - reijosfood.com

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

Restaurant Tony’s Deli – Italian restaurant, Helsinki

 





Restaurant review: Ragu – revisit

15 03 2015

Restaurant Ragu opened its doors April 15, 2014, respecting the history of renovated Neo-Renaissance house in the 1890s. Restaurant has dining rooms and all year-round open terrace, where we dined this time. Chefs Antti Antti Asujamaa and Erno Kemi have created a menu from Italian food traditions and Scandinavian ingredients.

Ragu used to have wine bar when we visited first time, but success in restaurant side required more space and bar was partly changed to dining room.

Started the dinner with Aperol Spritz and bland de blanc Champagne. Ragu makes the best Spritzs in Helsinki, because the amount of Aperol is just the right, so that you can identify the flavor.

Aperol Spritz at Ragu - reijosfood.com

Champagne at Ragu - reijosfood.com

You can choose separate portions from a la carte list or pick, for instance, one of the menus. We chose again menu Ludari with 4 courses, which partly are surprises. The name of the menu comes from the street restaurant is located, Ludviginkatu.

Kitchen is skilled to take into account customers constraints of some food ingredients and other wishes especially with this menu. Menu should change on weekly basis.

After placing the order freshly baked 4 different breads and 4 different spreads were brought to the table. Restaurant also served self made glutein-free bread (in the picture) and must say that the baker really can her job. You can also order home that bread, if you ask it day before.

Glutein-free bread at Ragu - reijosfood.com

For starters we were served Broiled trout, which was delicious. You really enjoy the taste of fish when it is broiled, but not too much because part of the trout was medium cooked.

Quail egg and pecorino cheese on salad leaves complemented the enjoyment of eating first course.

Broiled trout at Ragu - reijosfood.com

Second course was Crab soup which was served with style.

Pieces of crab were in glass jar, which was poured half full with crab stock.

You could also order this dish from a la carte list, which I can warmly recommend. That tasty and mouth-watering crab soup was!

Crab soup at Ragu - reijosfood.com

Crab soup in Ragu - reijosfood.com

For 3rd and main courses restaurant served Braised Iberico pork with risotto and Halibut with dark fish soup.

Pork was crisp due to long cooking time. Dish itself was prepared with professional way. Cauliflower lightened otherwise quite luscious dish.

Propably halibut was meant to be second dish as it was so small. Also salinity disturbed a little bit. Maybe the weakest link of all dishes.

Iberico pork at Ragu - reijosfood.com

Halibut at Ragu - reijosfood.com

Before dessert restaurant served Blue cheese in a glass jar. Jars are typical for Ragu as I was served veal similar way when visited first time restaurant.

Blue cheese at Ragu - reijosfood.com

And for desserts we got two different portions due to special requests concerning some of the food ingredients.

Pannacotta cake, Ice-cream and other goodies made the dessert like heaven.

Special dessert was prepared from Meringue and Sorbet, again tour de force from the kitchen.

Great way to end the dinner.

Dessert and wine at Ragu - reijosfood.com

Dessert at Ragu - reijosfood.com

For wines we trusted restaurant’s recommendations for each portion. All served wines came from Italy, of course.

Maybe the best of all 4 different wines was the only red wine with pork. From barbera grapes produced Giulia Negri from Piemonte paired brilliantly with meat.

Sweet white wine with dessert was not too sweet and matched with dish nicely.

Red wine at Ragu - reijosfood.com

Ragu has also Italian vintage wines from Angelo Baja, Piemonte. So, you can spend almost 500€ for white wine bottle of vintage 1999, if you like to.

Restaurant, as it is in elegantly renovated building and it’s dining rooms are classic yet chic, enjoys still of success. You can eat in privacy as tables are not too close to each other. Music is not too loud, again more customer-centric approach. As you can see from the glasses on the tables, every detail has been taken into account.

There are many paintings on the walls. We were sitting at the covered terrace where picture below was taken. Remember seeing at least 6 art works in that space.

Ragu dining room - reijosfood.com

Painting at Ragu - reijosfood.com

Food at Ragu is well prepared, elegantly set and delicious. Finnish-Italian fusion cuisine works well by combining best parts of both. If fish main course would not have been so salty, Ragu would have earned close to 5 points for food.

Waitresses take orders and serve drinks but you can meet chef’s, bakers and confectioners as they bring most of the portions to the tables. The contents of each portion was explained well and it is needed, if you choose surprise menu as we did.

Our revisit was successfull and can thefore recommend Ragu, if you are looking for sophisticated and modern dinner setting with excellent food.

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





Wine review: Aalto – Spanish winery and red wine have Finnish name!

13 02 2015

Aalto

Famous Finnish architect and designer Alwar Aalto has desinged several buildings in Finland including Finlandia Hall. Buildings designed by him can be found also in USA, Germany, Italy, France, etc. One of his most known glassware works was Aalto (Savoy) vase.

Bodegas Aalto was founded in 1998 by Mariano Garcia, Vega Sicilia’s legendary winemaker of over 30 years, and Javier Zaccagini, former President of the Ribera del Duero AOC. Almost 20 years since it was founded, the winery is considered one of the best in the region. The name of the winery was inspired by famous Finnish designer Alwar Aalto. Aalto is main wine for this winery and also reviewed wine carried Aalto name.

Grape used in producing Aalto red wine is 100% TINTO FINO. Tempranillo, more known grape, is known under a number of local synonyms in different regions of Spain, Cencibel and Tinto Fino are used in several regions, and it is also known as Tinta del País in Ribera del Duoro where Aalto winery is located.

Aalto wine - reijosfood.com

THE LOOK

Label itself is one of the most minimalist seen before. Different colors of black and silver gray letters and small bunch of grapes in the upper right corner of O letter.

Vintage 2010 was dark red like but not not brownish, which means that 2010 is still quite young.

THE NOSE

Bouquet was rich and pleasant, could recognize tempranillo. Some black berries and hint of fennel. Aroma became even more elegant after 10 minutes.

THE TASTE

Full-bodied, again elegant and soft. Filled mouth not just flowed down. Again tempranillo was easy to identify, one of the best Spanish wines ever tasted. And this was not the first time!

I am fan of tempranillo wines, which might affect, but not too much. Tasted wine first as such and then with fillet steak. Pairs perfectly with red meat and bet that also with strong cheeses.

Fillet steak and Aalto wine - reijosfood.com

Facts:

Alcohol: 15% by volume
Extract: 28 g/l
Acidity: 5 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml (380 kJ/100 ml)

Vintage 2010 is “stronger” than 2008, which had 14% alcohol by volume. To be honest, liked vintage 2008 a little more than 2010….but 2010 is also great and enjoyable!

Aalto wine is elegant but partly because of low production volume, it is not the most unexpensive. Although you have to pay a little bit more the quality really provides value for the money.

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

http://www.riberadelduero.es/en/bodegas/aalto-bodegas-y-vinedos-sa





Hotel review: Regatta – boutique hotel in Hanko, Finland

23 08 2014

 

Moet Ice Imperial at hotel Regatta - reijosfood.com

Regatta Hotel is a modern boutique hotel located in Hanko in the Finnish architect Lars Sonck planned Art Nouveau building from 1898. There have always been hotel business in the famous cultural building and in 2012 the hotel opened again after a complete renovation.

Hotel Regatta - reijosfood.com

Hotel Regatta has 49 different rooms, including 2 single rooms, 45 double rooms and 2 suites (Regatta Suite and Lars Sonck Suite). Each room has its own air conditioning, safe, LCD- TV film- and information-system, internal phone, kettle and hairdryer. The rooms are on the first to fourth floor and accessible by elevator or by one of the two staircases.

This was our 2nd visit to Regatta, so everything was already familiar to us.

ROOM

We had Superior Plus room on the 4th floor with a nice view to the sea. Room itself was modern and cozy. In the summer small fridge would be useful, as there was no mini bar either. Bathroom was small, too small for this type of room. But same room level last time and the bathroom was superb. Take a look at yellow bath tube, which we expected to see also this time.

Hotel Regatta Superior Plus room - reijosfood.comAnna Codorniu Blanc de Blancs - reijosfood.comRegatta room with a view - reijosfood.comRegatta room 403 bathroom - reijosfood.com Regatta bathroom - reijosfood.com

PUBLIC SPACES

In the summer terraces are best part of the public spaces. Patio terrrace especially with cozy chairs tempts you for glass of champagne. Terrace by the street is also relaxing, but unfortunately had one of the worst rose wines ever.

Hotel does not have own dinner restaurant, as there are several nice restaurants nearby. In the winter time that might be deficiency, but in the summer you want to eat at some of the restaurants by the sea.

Hotel Regatta patio terrace - reijosfood.comHotel Regatta terrace - reijosfood.com

Hotel Regatta is the the best hotel or accomodation place in Hanko. Before it was renovated there was a big gap in that business. Only thing what I miss is the swimming pool, which was in front of the original hotel Regatta several years ago. The sea is 50 meters away but hotel swimming pool would complete luxury.

Hotel Regatta in Hanko - reijosfood.com

With fridge and same bathroom as last time, room would have been 5+. As there is only breakfast room and terraces, public spaces is close to 4.

But as the building is nicely built and athmosphere is luxorius with BMW test drive opportunity not forgetting local standards, overall grade is close to 5.

Must stay, if visiting Hanko.

REVIEW: ROOM 4+/5 – PUBLIC SPACES 4-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 5-/5

Hotel Regatta | Ajatonta nautintoa – ympäri vuoden





Hotel Manta of Helsinki – built around the statue of Havis Amanda

16 08 2014

Hotel Manta - reijosfood.com

Hotel Manta of Helsinki is a hotel room built around the statue of Manta in Market Square. The space designed by Tatshu Nishi serves as a hotel room by night, and as an open exhibition space during the day. The work not only creates a new surrealist setting for the monument, it offers a new perspective on the statue. Manta can now be met at eye level; also privately during the nights, if you were able to book the room.

Statue of Havis Amanda - reijosfood.com

The project is produced by the Helsinki Art Museum and it is part of the Helsinki Festival programme. In cooperation with Museum of Finnish Architecture and Design Museum. The work is supported by The Cenetary Foundation of the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design.

As visiting times during Helsinki Festival are between 11.30 – 17.30, cleaning up must be made in hurry. The cost for visit is 3€.

Cleaning of Hotel Manta - reijosfood.com

Hotel Manta of Helsinki was opened on the 15th of August and waiting for the first customer must have been exciting.

Hotel room was sold out in a minute, which is not surprising. Being part of art work must be fascinating. And price for night is not expensive, 130€. But of course without breakfast, which you can enjoy after checking out for instance at Market Square cafes.

Hotel Manta - reijosfood.com

Because of daily visiting hours, check-in can not be before 18.00 and check-out has to be made before 11.00.

Windows without curtains ensure that statue of Manta is visible all the time.

Hotel Manta of Helsinki - reijosfood.comHotel Manta of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

The statue is in the middle of the hotel room and actually splits twin bed. It sort of stands between the pillows.

Let’s see what is the condition of statue of Manta after Helsinki Festival celebrations will end. They will take two months.

Behind the link is also web camera pictures from past days.

Hotel Manta of Helsinki.





Food Art in kitchen accessories

20 04 2014

Food images are sometimes used in clothing when it makes sense and brings joy to special occasion, like crayfish figures during crayfish season. First time saw Karjalan piirakka look alike used in accessories.

Kitchen wear accessories - reijosfood.com

Karjalan piirakka – traditional Finnish rice-filled Karelian pasty, is popular in Eastern parts of Finland, but you can find them in many supermarkets. Usually it is eaten with egg- butter spread.

To use Karjalan piirakka as a model for a purse or small bag is interesting idea. Photos were taken in Joensuu, in Taitokortteli buildings.

Karelian pastry purse - reijosfood.com

http://www.taitokortteli.fi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karelian_pasty

There were also other traditional clothing to be seen.

Taitokorttelit - reijosfood.com

 





Restaurant review: Savoy – world’s oldest design restaurant

9 03 2014

Savoy menu - reijosfood.com

What would be the right place to celebrate International Women’s Day?

Of course legendary Restaurant Savoy, world’s oldest design restaurant, which opened it’s doors first time in 1937. Since then it has been the flagship of Finnish gastronomy and restaurant culture in Helsinki.

The dining hall of Restaurant Savoy is an important part of Finnish design history. The interior was initially designed by Aino and Alvar Aalto in cooperation with textile artist Dora Jung and the then newly established Artek. Its pure and austere minimalism has remained in vogue for decades. Our table was at the covered patio with view to Esplanade Park and hotel Kämp.

We started the dinner with glasses of Champagne Larmandier-Bernier Latitude Extra Brut. Bouquet and taste of blanc de blancs champagne were perfect, felicitous kickoff for the dining.

Champagne at Savoy - reijosfood.com

There was good sounding tasting menu available and you could also pre-order pressed grouse menu (presser in the 1st picture), but we decided to try a la carte dishes.

Dinner started with greetings from the kitchen, white bean soup, which was delicious appetizer.

White bean soup at Savoy - reijosfood.com

For starters we had Tartare of brined salmon with Finnish caviar and avocado crème and Crème Ninon with lobster and Savoy’s air-dried duck breast

Salmon tartar was basic Finnish starter, well prepared, but nothing extraordinary.

Creme Ninon, “pea soup” flavored with champagne, was poured on top of the lobster pieces and dried duck was grated after that by waitress. This starter earned 5 because it was so scrumptious and of course the looks of the portion was fabulous. Fresh peas paired extremely well with lobster and duck.

Starter at Savoy - reijosfood.comStarter at Savoy - reijosfood.com

For main courses we ordered Roasted turbot with piquillo pepper tortellini and deep-fried anchovies and Pan-fried lavaret with blue mussel cassoulet and fennel.

Both fishes were well prepared as could be expected. But as French cuisine does not save butter, they were a little bit heavy. Moussel cassoulet was garbled and there was no need for asparagus.

Portions looked again stunning, no doubt about that.

Turbot at Savoy - reijosfood.comLavaret at Savoy - reijosfood.com

After main course we still had room for desserts and ordered Triple chocolate cake with passion fruit ice cream and Baba moistened with Savoy’s honey bock and honey ice cream.

But before those dishes kitchen served pre-dessert which actually could have been one of the desserts as it was so tasty.

Dessert at Savoy - reijosfood.com

Both desserts were excellent. There were three different layers inside the chocolate cake and it’s flavor was crushing. Honey suited well with baba and it should have been prepared in the kitchen as Savoy has their own beehives at the roof terrace.

Chocolate cake at Savoy - reijosfood.comBaba at Savoy - reijosfood.com

For wine we chose Riesling Münsterer Pittersberg Trocken which paird well with starters and main courses. Not too many mineral or petrol flavor.

Restaurant Savoy has style, no doubt about that. But it’s price level is at least the same as in Michelin restaurants or even higher. Food is delicious and portions look stunning. If you like the decor and view of the Esplanade Park (but you must have table at patio) then Savoy is right restaurant for you. But at the same price level you might also enjoy food at e.g Luomo, Olo or Postres, which all are located close to the park.

Park Esplanade - reijosfood.com

Service was professional except one mistake. Ordered double espresso with dessert, waitress came back to check if it was double, but still I was served small espresso which they had to replace. If I would have been responsible for serving I would have invoiced small espresso not double or even given it for free.

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

http://www.ravintolasavoy.fi/en

Savoy - reijosfood.comSavoy entrance - reijosfood.comSavoy table - reijosfood.comSavoy vase at Savoy - reijosfood.com

You might also be interested in to get more familiar with Alvar Aalto after visiting Savoy

http://www.alvaraalto.fi/index_en.htm





Restaurant review: Alberga – dinner and comedy theatre

8 02 2014

Alberga - reijosfood.com

Our visit to Alberga, one of the oldest theatre restaurants in Finland, was probably the 20th or at least something like that. And proof of our long history with Alberga was warm welcome handshake by owner,  when we arrived.

Theatre restaurant Alberga is family owned scene in Espoo, Leppävaara (Alberga in Swedish). Restaurant was established 1988 and since then it has presented over 1000 plays, mostly comedies.

We came to see “Rich, Dear and Work” performed by Minna Kivelä and Annu Valonen. Both are well known comediennes from TV series “Handy hostess”.

What a play! These comediennes are the best in Finland and made us laugh bellies ache.

There is always special theatre menu available consisting of one starter, two alternative main courses and one dessert. Dinner is served before the show which usually starts at 20.00.

Dinner started with Beetroot flavored salmon which is basic delicious Finnish dish and never let’s you down. Salmon must be enough thin in order not be chewy.

Salmon at Alberga - reijosfood.com

For main courses kitchen served Roasted Arctic char with lingonberry sauce and Fried sirloin with red wine sauce.

Fish included cooked potatoes and made portion again basic scrumptious Finnish plate. Sirloin was tender and properly roasted, meat inside was rose. Side dishes, oven potato and roasted root vegetables complemented the dose perfectly.

Acctic char at Alberga - reijosfood.comSirloin at Alberga - reijosfood.com

Dessert served was Parfait which included orange, chocolate and strawberry. Could have eaten three of them.

Parfait at Alberga - reijosfood.com

Theatre restaurant Alberga is more sedate than Kaksi kanaa, which is also popular scene (review was posted 4.3.2012).

Alberga - reijosfood.com

You should visit Alberga although you would not like theatre. It is totally different to follow up the show two meters from the small stage than sit in the back row of big hall. And most of the plays are enjoyable, well written and acted out. Athmosphere is relaxed and informal. Therefore Alberga earns 4,5 for overall grade.

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

http://www.ravintolaalberga.fi/





Restaurant review: Kappeli

11 08 2013

Muusa at Kappeli - reijosfood.com

Finnish food in historic building.

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. You can also find some art pieces inside the restaurants if you look carefully, like “Muusa” sculpture in the picture.

In the summer you can also dine at the outside terrace which is at the end of the building behind main terrace. If you want to sit in the middle of the main terrace but inside, ask for oriel window table for two. It is small but charming and one can even watch bands and singers on stage opposite the restaurant. We dined in that small glass walled space, like private dining at the sames time as Jazz Espa was playing at the stage and there were several diners in the main dining room.

Kappeli - reijosfood.com

For starters ordered large Kappeli’s vegetable salad Salad, sweet pepper, artichoke, endive, green beans, croutons and honey sauce and Kappeli’s fish assortment Smoked salmon mousse, cold smoked Baltic herring skagen, smoked whitebait, cold smoked salmon and organic scrambled eggs.

Vegetable salad was fresh and it was asked to be served without green beans and croutons. Fish assortment was dissappointment, too salty and more simple than last year when we dined and made review (see link below)

Kappeli salad - reijosfood.comFish starter - reijosfood.com

As main courses had Smoked salmon creamy false morel sauce, potatoes with dill, butter and onion, baked tomato and zucchini and large Caesar salad and chicken.

Differences compared to last visit can be seen from previous review. Asked now to get false morel sauce in separate bowl. Salmon itself was well prepared. Caesar salad was delicious again as it was last time, a safe choise.

Salmon at Kappeli - reijosfood.comCaesar salad at Kappeli - reijosfood.com

Kappeli is a perfect place to try Finnish kitchen in the center of events. Most of the diners are tourists. However, food compared to experience is too expensive as well as wines. But you have to pay some extra for the specific athmosphere, restaurant style and location as in any other city. If weather is good, take a table at the terrace which unfortunately is a little bit aloof and try large Caesar salad.

If you have S-Group loyalty card you can utilize offers like Italian sparkling wine. Maybe cost of a bottle is about 2€’s to the restaurant but as we are in Finland, 24€’s for Loyal Customers and for others 35€. Best offer still is bottle of champagne for 39€ in all S-Group HOK-Elanto restaurants and that is decent offer!

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

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

https://reijosfood.com/2012/07/14/restaurant-review-kappeli/

Sparkling at Kappeli - reijosfood.com





Hotel review: Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

28 06 2013

Venice

On the banks of Giudecca island, Hilton Molino Stucky has 379 rooms and with capacity to host up to 1000 people, the hotel boasts the largest conference facility in Venice. Minor problem concerning the location; you can not walk via bridges to “main” islands, you always have to use water taxis or shuttle boats.

Hilton Venice

Hilton Molino Stucky has several restaurants and bars. Specialities are Skyline Rooftop Bar and Skyline Pool restaurant at the 8th floor with great views to Venice. Moet Ice Imperial seemed to be popular drink in the pool restaurant; rooftop bas is open only in the evening. Breakfast is served in quite modest Il Molino restaurant but breakfast itself is luxurious and service is excellent. Rialto Lobby Bar and Lounge serves different type of snacks, drinks but you can also dine there.

Hilton VeniceHilton VeniceHilton Molino Stucky

Had pleasure to spend few nights at King Deluxe Suite with view at 5th floor.  Suite ahd separate living room, kitchenette, bed room and bathroom. And best of all great view to Canale Della Giudecca (3rd photo below text). Suite was well equipped and there was plenty of room to relax (if had had time to be in the room).

Hilton VeniceHilton VeniceHilton Venice

As you can not walk via bridges to hotel, only way but not the cheapest is to arrive with water taxis from airport or train station. Dock is around the corner of hotel main entrance. You could also choose shuttle boat which is more affordable but then you have to first find suitable launch pad of boats.

Hilton VeniceWater taxi in Venice

Hilton Molino Stucky is first of all conference hotel. Most visitors have bagdes which tell you that they are visiting Venice due to some conference or meeting. You might want to choose some other hotel if you like more “natural” athmosphere. However, worth to visit is 8th floor Skyline bar with views to two directions over the roofs of Venice. One reason for visit might also be floating art exhibits (paintings and sculptures). At the time of staying art from Monica Marioni was on the walls.

Hilton Venice

http://www.molinostuckyhilton.com/index.php





Wine review: Aalto

22 02 2013

Aalto

Famous Finnish architect and designer Alwar Aalto has desinged several buildings in Finland including Finlandia Hall as well as abroad. Buildings designed by him can be found also in USA, Germany, Italy, France, etc. One of his most known glassware works was Aalto (Savoy) vase. Think it is still one of the most popular items to by in Finland by tourists. Aalto was also responsible for interior design of classic restaurant Savoy in Helsinki, which still looks the same as 75 years ago.

If you have any knowledge of Aalto, I would be interested in to hear how did you learn about him or his works. Do you have Aalto art pieces at your home?

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EXCUSE ME! This post should review wines, not art or design, am I wrong??!!

WAIT, there is link between Aalto and one Spanish winery and it’s wine…….

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Bodegas Aalto was founded in 1998 by Mariano Garcia, Vega Sicilia’s legendary winemaker of over 30 years, and Javier Zaccagini, former President of the Ribera del Duero AOC. 15 years since it was founded, the winery is considered one of the best in the region. The name of the winery was inspired by famous Finnish designer Alwar Aalto. Aalto is main wine for this winery and also reviewed wine carried Aalto name. Fantastic honours to Aalto!

Grape used in producing Aalto red wine is 100% TINTO FINO. Tempranillo, more known grape, is known under a number of local synonyms in different regions of Spain, Cencibel and Tinto Fino are used in several regions, and it is also known as Tinta del País in Ribera del Duoro where Aalto winery is located.

THE LOOK

Label itself is one of the most minimalist seen before. Different colors of black and silver gray letters and small bunch of grapes in the upper right corner of O letter.

Vintage 2008 was dark red like red wine grape looks before collecting.

Aalto wine

THE NOSE

Bouquet was rich and pleasant, could recognize tempranillo. Some black berries and hint of fennel. Aroma became even more elegant after 10 minutes.

THE TASTE

Full-bodied, again elegant and soft. Filled mouth not just flowed down. Again tempranillo was easy to identify, one of the best Spanish wines ever tasted.

Aalto wine labelAalto red wine

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 14% by volume
Extract: 27 g/l
Acidity: 5,3 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml (380 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

Aalto wine is elegant but partly because of low production volume, it is not the most unexpensive. 39€ in Alko and 145€ in restaurant Savoy, where it is available, does not allow wine to be enjoyed too often. Although you have to pay a little bit more the quality really provides value for the money.

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

Unfortunately winery web site was under construction when writing this post http://www.aalto.es

???????????????????????????????Aalto wine

You can find more about Alwar Aalto via this link  http://www.alvaraalto.fi/aalto_architect_designer.htm

Restaurant Savoy wine list including Aalto wine http://www2.royalravintolat.com/savoy/pdf/viinilista/savoy_viinilista_uusin.pdf








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