Restaurant review – Penelope

7 09 2019

PLATO PEQUEÑO, GRAN SABOR

Restaurant Penelope was opened late 2018 by celebrity chef’s Hans Välimäki and Arto Rastas. Modern fine dining tapas kind of bistro serves well desingned and tasteful dishes. Restaurant has 60 seats but you can also dine by the bar desk as we did at the first time or in the summer time at the terrace.

Had 8 course dinner when eating first time. This time let you enjoy pictures because Penelope is one of the best restaurants in Helsinki, when it comes to international food.

Ordered for wine Enemigo Mío Garnacha from Casa Rojo. Cherry red wine with purple trim. The nose is fruity and floral, with notes of rose petals. Delicate, elegant, with a rich complexity in which the aromas of red fruits and balsamic. Nice with all dishes enjoyed.

 

Restaurant is cozy and laid-back. You can see chef’s working in the open kitchen.

Food is excellent and dishes well prepared. Service was professional but as we dined by the bar desk, there were some limitations.

Waiting for third visit…

 

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

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Restaurant review: Frida’s

7 09 2019

Frida’s – modern mexican restaurant & garden bar was opened almost at the same time as El Rey. Owners are the same who used to run Patrona before selling it. They also have Italian restaurant Bastardo in Kamppi shopping center, but as roots are in Mexico, quite natural to make a come back.

However, Frida’s is closer to Patrona than genuine Mexican restaurant. Decor is international, music is global and Finnish staff is dressed closer to fine dining bistros Helsinki is full of nowadays.

Started the dinner with aperitives, Margaritas. For some reason drink includes egg in the foam.

 

For starters had Guacamole and Roasted Pork Taco.

Restaurant’s vegan options are limited, that was the reason to choose nacho’s as one starter. Typically they are eaten before any actual dishess.

Pork taco was delicious. Small but tasty with all ingredients professionally chosen.

For main course had Mole Negro Flank Steak.

Mole is a traditional sauce originally used in Mexican cuisine. Two states in Mexico claim to be the origin of mole: Puebla and Oaxaca. Moles come in various flavors and ingredients, with chili peppers as the common factor. However, the classic mole version is the variety called mole poblano, which is a dark red or brown sauce served over the meat.

Quite modest taste, but enjoyable.

What was interesting the prices of wine we had. Coroa D’ouro 2016 was 30€ cheaper than in restaurant Vinkkeli. Must say that Vinkkeli fooled a little by telling that wine is imported by restaurant. And price was ridiculous compared to Fridas’s.

Frida’s do not differ that much from the concept Patrona had after Frida’s owner sold it, at least then when visited 4 months ago few weeks after opening.

Of course, it is worth to visit due to impressive dining room, polite staff and international menu. However, El Rey is closer to Mexican origins.

 

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

https://www.restaurantfridas.com/





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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Restaurant review: Cevicheria

31 03 2019

Cevicheria is small Peruvian restaurant and Pisco bar in newly opened dining area in so called Autotalo. Office building does not invite customers to step in to that area, but when you are there you can see sushi restaurant, Nepalese restaurant and couple of other different style dining spots.

Cevicheria claims to be first cevicheria in Finland. Maybe, but Pastor has served Peruvian fusion food including ceviches for many years. Menu consist of starters, ceviches & tiraditos, main courses and 2 desserts. Side dish selection is versatile. Vegan versions are also available.

Ordered for starters Ensalada Quinoa Salad of quinoa with avocado and Ceviche Carretillero Pike-pirch, octopus, greenshell mussel, lime juice, Aji amarillo, choclo corn and sweet potato.

Both dishes were tasty when we got them to table after quite long waiting time.

Quinoa was cooked differently as usual which made it quite special.

Ceviche is actually enough big to be main course. Fish was nicely “cooked” in citrus sauce and shellfishes were fresh although we are in Finland. Dish does not need sweet potato as a starter, but as main course it is justified.

 

For main courses had Carapulcra Sunroot, artichoke heart, chickpea, smoked chilipepper and vanilla and Aji de Gallina Chicken in creamy cocos chili sauce served with rice.

Sauce complemented nicely chickpeas which were enough moist. Typically they are quite dry.

Pulled chicken was delicious in it’s topping. Menu says that side dish is rice but it was served with potatoes. In this case fried sweet potatoes were not needed. But must say they were the best ever eaten in Finland.

 

For wine had Portuguese COROA D’OURO 2016. Pleasant bouquet and smooth, full-bodied and aromatic taste. Produced from Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Tinta Barroca grapes.

 

Ceviche is welcomed new cuisine in Helsinki restaurant scene. Just recently opened dining spot practices serving but most important thing are tasty and fresh dishes.

Location might be slight challenge because restaurant is in the office building without windows opening to the streets. But that should not be problem if food served keeps the level it had during our visit.

 

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

https://www.cevicheria.fi/





Restaurant review: Vinkkeli

17 03 2019

Restaurant Vinkkeli is located in the heart of the Kaartinkaupunki neighborhood, at the intersection of Korkeavuorenkatu and Pieni Roobertinkinkatu. Vinkkeli can be described as a food and wine restaurant, presenting a friendly, honest, and uncomplicated take on classic cuisine, where the wine and drink selection is given the same devotion as the selection of ingredients in the kitchen. 2019 Vinkkeli was selected as 7th in the “50 Best Restaurants” in Finland list. Excellent achievement as we have 6 Michelin star restaurants.

From Monday to Saturday Vinkkeli offers a four course dinner menu which is designed by their chef’s in the kitchen and wine pairings selected by the sommelier. A la carte list consist of three starters and main courses, but we chose the dinner menu as vegan version was also available. One just have to order it beforehand when making reservation.

To add more hunger enjoyed as aperitifs A. Viot & Fils Champagne Millesime 2008. Fresh and cheery sparkling from small producer with lot’s of bubbles.

 

First courses served were delicious masterpieces.

Carrots and sweet potato were main ingredients in vegan dish. Smoked salmon with accompaniments was tasty, leaving the feeling that one wanted to eat more.

 

Next came the soups, onion and pumpkin.

Both were served so that soups were poured on the plates at the table. Some side dishes were already placed on the plate before pouring.

 

After short brake main courses were served.

In vegan dish broccoli and eggplant paste had main role. Veal was fleshy and cabbage, sauce and paste were delicious.

 

For dessert Vinkkeli served home-made ice-creams.

Oat milk ice-cream with blueberries and blueberry ice-cream with crispy cake melted in the mouths. Perfect finish for excellent dinner.

 

Sommelier suggested for wine Portuguese winery Pinalta. This wine was not on the wine list where there are mostly wines from France. Also Spain and Italy are quite well presented.

Pinalta 2010 is produced from the same grapes as port wines are. Smooth aroma and full-bodied taste made the food-wine combination perfect.

 

Dining room furniture and decoration is classic and elegant.  Restaurant itself is in old building which supplements dignified experience.

 

No doubt Vinkkeli earns accolade it has been given. All pieces are in order for earning Michelin star. Food is excellent and portions are impressive. Service is professional and insconspicuous. Dining area supports well classic dining experience which definitely is not too rigid.

 

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

http://www.ravintolavinkkeli.fi/en/

 

 





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/

 








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