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.





Restaurant review: SPIS

10 12 2016

Restaurant SPIS is small 18-seat Nordic restaurant in Kasarminkatu, Helsinki. It is open only in the evenings. Because restaurant is tiny and very popular, during weekens you have to choose to dine at 0530/06.00PM or 0830PM. From Tuesday to Thursday dining starts between 0600-0800PM without time limit. And then and at “night shift” you can order Long Tasting Menu with six courses. However, with snacks and greetings from kitchen, you get over 10 plates front of you.

Enjoyed Short Tasting Menu with 4 courses. Price varies from 50-57€ depending on ingredients. Vegan menu is also available, which is not yet so typical for fine dining bistros. But this is quite natural for SPIS, as main ingredients used are vegetables.

 

First surprise were crackers, which started the dinner. Had already ordered glass of champagne, bubbly and fresh.

Second snack were vegetable greetings from the kitchen, yellow root and spiced cucumber, so simple but always delicious.

And third snack was even more interesting and scrumptious, “spaghetti” with cloudberries. Creative way to combine ingredients, which you may not use together in your own kitchen.



After 3 apetizers kitchen brought first dish, starter, which name I do not unfortunately remember any more. First picture below tells more. As menu do not describe what it includes, post should be written quite soon after dining. Now it has gone three weeks.

Second dish was pike perch with two ways with onions. Pleasantly soft and tasty fish and sweet onions paired well with each other.

And third dish, second main course, was braised pork with fennel. Excellent mixture of salty meat and slightly sweet vegetable!



Before desserts we were served cup of cloudberry soup. This led perfectly to sweeter world of SPIS dishes.

First dessert was greetings from the kitchen, kind of apple crumble.

And fourth dish and actual dessert was cake, which melted in the mouth.

You can combine food with recommened wines with price of 36€, which we did. Because SPIS uses lot’s of vegetables and way of using spices is Nordic, also the wines are light.

With starter we were served sauvignon blanc, which unfortunately not, is my favourite wine.

For vegan version next two wines would have been orange wine, totally new experience, but after first glass changed it to stronger red wine from Italy, which was served with pork. Orange wine is produced from different white wine grapes, which have spent some maceration time in contact with the grape skins, giving the wine an orange color.

Must say that as a friend of full bodied red wines, would next time order a bottle of ripasso or something similar.

 

After asking for check, restaurant always serves final culinary pieces, some sweets on huge Lego brick

SPIS is one of the best Nordic food restaurants in Helsinki. Food served is well prepared, creative and tasty. And I really appreciate that restaurants goes through the trouble of preparing all snacks between the dishes.

Service has always been one of the strengths of restaurant. Chef”s bring some of the dishes to tables, which makes the dining more intimate. However, this time it was sort of difficult to hear what waitresses explained to us.

Some changes in wines and overall grade would have been 5-.

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

 

http://spis.fi/





Michelin star restaurants in Helsinki 2016 – 4 restaurants with 1 star

24 02 2016

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

Michelin Guide announced new list of Michelin starred restaurants in Finland today, 24th of February. Four restaurants got 1 Michelin star, all in Helsinki. Actually all 4 restaurants maintained rating but unfortunately no new stars.


Restaurants with 1 Michelin star in Helsinki 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 maintained Michelin star since 2007 being oldest Michelin star restaurant in Helsinki.





Traditional Finnish crayfish party – re-post

21 07 2015

Crayfish - reijosfood.com

As Crayfish season starts again on the 21st of July, 2015, reminder for those who participate crayfish party first time.

Crayfish season in Finland is always from 21st of July until 31st of October. There are two species available, crayfish and signal crayfish. Origins of crayfish are in Finland but signal crayfish was imported from U.S.A in 1960’s. Crayfish is less common than signal crayfish and therefore more expensive. You can of course dine at restaurants offering crayfish menu’s, but more convenient is to enjoy them at home and hopefully outdoors.

1) DRINKS (most important after crayfish itselves)

First thing; make sure there is sufficient amount of drinks for the whole meal. You must have schnapps available, which can be Finnish vodka or Swedish aquavit. Then you must decide if champagne, white wine (recommend riesling) or beer suits best depending on your taste. And of course mineral or mountain spring waters must be available. But remember that all bottles on the table and in the fridge are not meant to be drank in a hurry. As crayfish dinner takes about 3-5 hours, be careful!

Drinks - reijosfood.comDrinks - reijosfood.com

2) TABLE-SETTING AND OTHER CRAYFISH TAT

Pictures of crayfish must be everywhere; in serviettes, tablecloth, plates, crayfish bib…etc . Even lanterns must include crayfish figures.

Eating crayfish requires specific knife in order to deal with claws. Otherwise they are eaten with the hands/fingers.

Crayfish tat - reijosfood.com

Crayfish - reijosfood.com

3) PROTECTION FROM SPLASHES

Crayfish bibs are usually made from disposable material, but you can of course make long-term investment or get them as a gift. And make sure bib is enough long to extend up to the knees. If it is too short, you will notice it afterwards.

Essu - reijosfood.com

4) AMOUNT OF CRAYFISH

To eat only crayfish the entire course of the meal is rare. It takes so long time to eat them, that you become hungry again during the dinner, so it is usual to eat crayfish as a starter. Thefore reserve about 7-10 crayfish for each diner and you are ready to float in the atmosphere. But if you decide to eat only crayfish, 20 is the minimum amount.

Crayfish - reijosfood.com

5) CRAYFISH SONGS

If you do not like to sing, after couple of vodka’s you might anyway be the loudest singer. Songs are short but funny, most famous is Swedish song: “Helan går”

If you are not sure how to eat crayfish, just google “How to eat crayfish” and you find several videos.

Then, it is crayfish party time!

Crayfish with Finlandia vodka - reijosfood.com





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

 





First of May (Vappu) lunch at Vanha

1 05 2015

Vanha - reijosfood.com

Historic restaurant Vanha ylioppilastalo, Vanha in short, has been serving customers for more than 140 years. It is the classic venue for hosting celebrations and events in Helsinki. Located at the heart of the city, Vanha is not only an impressive building but an integral part of Finnish cultural history. Vanha’s spacious Great Hall provides a luxurious venue for dazzling concerts, dinners and corporate events.

Vanha - reijosfood.com

Nowadays restaurant business is run by Royal Restaurants, which owns most of the fine dining restaurants in Helsinki.

Vappu lunch table - reijosfood.com

First of May (Labour Day) is a day for lunch or brunch depending which time you choose for eating. Usually first setting is already at 11.30 and that is OK, if you have not had chance to eat breakfast. Prefered latter setting, which was at 15.00 at Vanha.

People were crowded in small hallway because setting was late. Doors to Great Hall were opened 15.20, which meant that earlier setting ended too late.

Vappu is also day for bubbling drinks. Instead of sponsor champagne Lanson, ordered Moet & Chandon. Wine list was all along short, so short that there was only one red and one white wine alternative for glass. Tried white wine and it was barely drinkable with whitefish.

Menu at Vanha - reijosfood.com

Menu consisted of starter, main course and dessert buffets. Kind of was expecting that main courses would have been served to the tables but it would have been impossible.

Food available can be seen from the menu above but as it is only in Finnish, some highlights from it in English.

Starter buffet included herrings, gravlax, warm smoked salmon, lamb meatballs, caesar salad, breads and some other stuff.

For main course there was two alternatives, whitefish or beef fillet with root vegetables.

And for dessert chocolate cake, sweets and cheeses.

Starter Buffet at Vanha - reijosfood.com

Dessert Buffet at Vanha - reijosfood.com

Food itself was excellent. All dishes were fresh and well prepared. Even whitefish was delicious although it was in thermal container. Of course it was a little bit over cooked due to that, but otherwise good.

Restaurant advertised with live music. Well, 20 minutes playing by 6 ladies, which you could hardly hear. Our table was close to the stage for shows, which allowed to see and listen but I think that at other end of hall they could not hear anything. Ladies played well, that was not the problem, but you expect to hear music at least half of the time dining lasts, which was 2,5 hours.

Live music at Vanha - reijosfood.com

As mentioned before, food was excellent.

You can not review service because you had to pick up the food by yourself. Drink serving was polite and special thanks to effort made for bringing us Moet & Chandon instead of Lanson.

Vanha and Great Hall are glorious and therefore overall points could be better. But for vappu lunch system does not work. First you waited to get in because earlier setting was late. Then you queued for starters. And then next event was already starting when you paid the bill. Space was used too effectively on the First of May.

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

Vanha Ylioppilastalo








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