Restaurant review: Taqueria El Rey Annankatu

21 04 2019

Taqueria El Rey opened it’s big brother (or sister) in Annankatu in March 2019. First El Rey is small taqueria which earned title “Best tacos in Helsinki” few years ago. New spot is in the same place where one of the first genuine Mexican restaurants Patrona located. With new owners Patrona was later ruined and it closed it doors 2018. So, what would be the better location to continue real Mexican tradition than the corner by Annankatu.

Menu at El Rey Annankatu is more varied and ambitious than in small taqueria, but same tacos are of course available. Also wine selection is more comprehensive and what makes wine menu remarkable is that there is one excellent wine from Baja California, Mexico!

Started the dinner with aperitifs, glass of La Chouette Champagne and Paloma, fresh and tasty Mexican drink made from tequila and grapefruit soda.

 

For starters ordered Guacamole Made daily with fresh avocados, tomato, onion, coriander, chile & lime. Served with traditional totopos, Sopesitos 3 small hand made corn sopesitos, topped with smashed beans & chorizo, crème fraiche, lettuce & queso fresco and Yaca Pibil Panuchos From Yucatán 3 small corn panuchos, topped with smashed beans, jack fruit pibil, pickled habanero & onios

Guacamole and totopos are always perfect combination. And as also “nachos” are home made, which make them lighter and less salty, it is easy to empty the bucket.

Sopesitos were excellent and one can “adjust” the taste by adding spicy sauces which were brought to the table.

In that sense Panuchos were great as they were served with jackfruit. That gave unique taste for the starter as we have not seen this tropical fruit used before.

We also got chance to try Ceviche de Coco Baby coconut, cooked in lime & yellow habanero juice, mixed with seaweed, avocado, onion, coriander & zuccini. Tart and strong flavor made this starter interesting, could even find savor of fish although this dish is vegan. For our taste it was a little bit too sour.

 

Main courses were one of the Chef’s specialities, Pulpo Grilled octopus with garlic, roasted potatoes with habanero & casbel chili oil and baby gem topped with pickle Xnipec and avocado mousse and Tacos Dorados de Camote 3 crispy tacos filled with sweet potato topped with hot chipotle salsa, fresh lettuce, avocado, coriander, onion & vegan creme fraiche and cheese.

Pulpo was crispy and soft at the same time, which it should be, if prepared in the right way. Portion does not necessarily need potatoes but for Finns they are many times very important side dish.

Tacos with sweet potato were delicious. When eating the third one, sweetness started to dominate but with spicy sauces taste could be balanced.

 

Had to order Mexican wine from Valle de Guadalupe although it was the most expensive on the wine list. L.A. Cetto Nebbiolo 2013 color is intensively dark red, it is full-bodied and taste is rich. Only the price might slow down the sales, otherwise it could be the best-seller in the restaurant.

 

Taqueria El Rey Annankatu is propably the flagship of Mexican cuisine in Helsinki. Brilliantly designed menu and well prepared food guarantee the success. Table reservation is good to make beforehand especially for weekend evenings.

Service is professional and polite but suitably easy-going as the idea is not to be too rigid. If that would be the case remember to try tequila from wide selection.

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

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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: 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





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.





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: Noa – Tallinn, Estonia

22 04 2017


NOA is a seaside restaurant on the border of Tallinn and Viimsi, Estonia, seating 80 people. The NOA dining room has been built on three different levels allowing guests to see the view of the Old Town silhouette across the bay. When putting together the menu, restaurant has not committed to any specific ingredients, countries or locations, but rather focused on creating an equal experience to all vege, seafood and meat eaters.

For aperitives decided to order NV Ruinart Blanc de Blancs Brut, Champagne AOC, France and Gin tonic made from worlds best gin, Napue, Finland. With sea view, perfect drinks to start the dinner.


Before starters restaurant offers fresh bread and spreading, which both tasted excellent. Big box instead of plate, at least kept the pieces of bread warm.

For starters ordered Crispy seafood and chips with cuttlefish sauce, coriander, lime and potatoes and Grill “Caesar” with romaine lettuce, asparagus (& cheese).

Seafood included pieces of mussel, octopus and some white meated fish, which I can not remember any more. Anyhow all pieces (finger food) were perfectly prepared. Chips were one of the best ever tasted; there was some spice on them, which made them scrumptious. And sauce paired well both with crispy fish and potatoes.

It was not your ordinary Caesar salad.  Warm, but fresh served with seasonal veggie, in this case asparagus.  A simple, but tasty starter.

For main courses had Octopus pasta Homemade pasta, wine and butter sauce, tomato garlic, pepper, grispy panko and Eggplant “burnt end” (Goat’s cheese curd), crispy vegetables, smoked tomato

Pasta was cooked as it should be, al dente, and it was still hot. That is difficult combination! Octopus was crispy and fresh, very tasty on top of all. Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb, but as the amount was small, it just completed the dish.

The eggplant dish was served with cranberry sauce which gave the dish a bit of a sour taste.  The crispy vegetables made for a nice addition.

For wine ordered 2011 Chateauneuf-du-Pape AOC, Chateau Mont Redon, Rhone, France. Full-bodied and round. It paired perfectly with the dishes eaten.

Restaurant Noa (a la carte) serves excellent food, dining room is cozy and athmosphere relaxed. One could also choose 11 course menu on separate dining room with white table clothes.

Service was professional and polite. Kitchen had just changed menu, which meant that had to wait for main courses quite a long time. Due to delay, restaurant offered Limoncello’s for digestive for free. Must say that they were better than ever had, even better than in Italy! But delay had a small impact on service rating.

For Finnish readers; if you want to taste Noa kitchen, you can find them at Taste of Helsinki in June. Must check their goodies again.

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

http://www.noaresto.ee/en

 





Michelin star restaurants in Helsinki 2017 – no changes

22 02 2017

Lamb at Demo - reijosfood.com

Michelin Guide announced new list of Michelin starred restaurants in Finland today, no surprises. Four restaurants kept 1 Michelin star, all in Helsinki. No new stars, unfortunately. 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 – Restaurant Ask.

Chef & Sommelier, Huvilakatu 28, Helsinki – Restaurant Chef & Sommelier, Helsinki / Chef & Sommelier – Organic restaurant in Eira.

Demo, Uudenmaankatu 9-11, Helsinki – Restaurant Demo | ”Share a laugh in the middle of culinary excellence”

Olo, Pohjoisesplanadi 5, Helsinki – OlO Restaurant treats you to a Gastronomic journey of Nordic influence

Demo bar - reijosfood.com

Pictures are from restaurant Demo which has had Michelin star since 2007.

Bib Gourmand restaurants also remained the same as last year; Boulevard Social, Gaijin and Farang are owned by same chefs, incredible achievement year over year. Fourth restaurant is Emo.

I would add to this list at least restaurants Copas y Tapas and SPIS, latter could even earn 1 Michelin star. There are at least 5 additional 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 earn to be named.








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