Restaurant review: Sandro Kortteli

24 09 2017


Restaurant Sandro Kortteli is the third Sandro restaurant in Helsinki. It was opened on the 3rd of December 2016, when all other restaurants in the “block” were opened in Kamppi shopping center 5th floor. In August 2017 4th Sandro restaurant was opened in Tapiola, Espoo. The first Sandro in Kallio suburb was established in 2013 and it started the triumphal leading to more openings. All Sandro’s serve African style, mostly Moroccan, food.

Brunches and buffet’s are most popular. In Kortteli, Marrakech Madness Feast, seemed to be mostly chosen portion from the menu. It included starters, main courses and desserts at the price of 33,90€. Recommend to order that instead of dishes from a la carte list. Reason for this is, that there are not actually starters on menu and main courses are quite expensive.

Anyway started the dinner with aperitives called Flower Mule. Very refreshing and tasty drink, which included cucumber, chili and ginger.


For main courses, as there were no starters, ordered Tajines. African Sweet Potato Curry coconut, organic tofu, chili and coriander as vegan dish and Slow Cooked Lamb Shank ginger, cinnamon, chili, prunes, sesame and almonds. All Tajines come with baby gems, tzatziki, harissa pesto, hummus, cinnamon pumpkin, cauliflower tabbouleh, couscus and saffron bread.

The curry was the only vegan option on the menu. It was spicy, but the serving size is quite big, so after a while the taste is overwhelming to the taste buds.

Must say that Lamb Tajine was dissappointment. The sauce sounded tempting when reading what it consisted. But could not find any of listed spices from the taste. Luckily lamb was well prepared and crisp, which compensated a lot.

With many side dishes one can taste different flavors from Morocco. However, value more strong and deeper savors.



Wine list is short and quite expensive for casual restaurant. One wine under 40€ and most cost 60€ or more. Ordered French-Moroccan Tandem Syrah 2014.

Alain Graillot, a highly respected grower in Crozes-Hermitage in the Rhône, met the owners of this North African domaine while on a cycling holiday in Morocco and now they make this wine in tandem. That is how the name was invented. Wine paired quite nicely with food enjoyed.

Sandro restaurants have been popular since opening. Chain is part of Royal Ravintolat group which has changed it’s profile from traditional fine dining chain to co-owner of restaurants serving more diversified and casual dining experiences.

Food in Sandro Kortteli could have been more spicy when it comes to Lamb Tajine. On the other hand curry had enough kick.

Service was professional, but is seemed that waiters were quite busy.

Ask for window table and you can see Narinkkatori and buildings around Kamppi. Location and view restaurant can offer, is one of the draws Sandro Kortteli has.

 

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

http://www.sandro.fi/en/restaurants/sandro-kortteli/

https://kampinkortteli.fi/en





Restaurant review: Masu – Asian bistro

3 09 2017


Masu Asian bistro was opened in Helsinki at the end of August by former 2 Michelin star chef Hans Välimäki and Restamax Group. Masu has been operating in Tampere several years and now it arrived to capital city.

Restaurant Masu is part of Asian cuisine complex. It is located at the second floor; at the first floor there is Säm – Asian bar & kitchen. Masu tries to be more sophisticated but also relaxed. Säm serves street food, you actually walk trough it when entering to Masu. However, many of the dishes are same in both spots.

In the past at the same location was Italian restaurant Vespa, but it seems that concept was not any more successul.

You can choose 4 or 7 course dinner but ordered first starters Pork Buns Miso grated roasted pork loin with pineapple salsa and warm Nanohana rabe and Nakame seaweed salad Broccoli, tomatoes, marinated seaweed with garlic-sesam dressing.

Buns were delicious, pork crispy and tasty. Salsa matched well to this dish. And must say that 2 pieces is a lot for starter but this can be ordered also as main course.

The warm salad was tasty, and because of the soy and seaweed, a bit too salty.  The portion is big for a starter.

For main courses had Ca Kho To Fried crispy pike perch, broccoli, tamarind, soy-chili caramel and black radish and Hot Paa Naam Tok Mushrooms woked in sesam oil, nudels, soy, leon grass, chili, mint, roasted onion and peanuts.

Pike pirch was extremely well prepared, crispy but not dry. Combination of spices and ingredients paired perfectly. But as there was already noodles in the bowl, there was no need to add Gohan as side dish. Would not have ordered rice if waitress would not have asked.

The portion is big; plenty of vegetables and noodles. The dish mentions the mushrooms as the main ingredient, but there were not many to be found. The taste of the starter was too similar to this main dish.

Ordered also Kimchi as side dish but as portions were that big just tasted it.

Dessert was Banana King Kong. Had to order that because of the name! Deep fried banana, salt toffee and vanilla ice-cream was delicious. Can recommend it!

Wine list, when it comes to red’s, is quite short and prices are quite expensive for casual bistro. Had so familiar The Velvet Devil, which is one of the favourite Merlot wines.

 

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

As there are only sticks on the table when you arrive, would have appriciated spoons with main courses and fork with dessert, got then only small spoon. As ordered main courses were partly like soups, it would have been nice to have few sips of the broth. Also needed finger with dessert to help with. One could also ask for those but practiced service should notice those beforehand.

Location is price, remember to ask window table and you see the Park Esplanade, Swedish Teater and restaurant Teatteri opposite to Masu.

With some fine-tuning Masu will be one of the top Asian cuisine restaurants in Helsinki.

 

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

http://www.ravintola.fi/ravintola/masu-asian-bistro-helsinki/

 





Restaurant review: Oh Lala! – Playa del Carmen, Mexico

13 08 2017

Usually write about restaurants in Helsinki, Finland, but if find nice restaraurant worth to try outside of territory, you shall find the story here.

Travelled to Playa del Carmen during summer holidays and found a unique restaurant which differs from all others. Oh Lala! was opened in January, 2011, by co-owners George and Mikaela With a total of 9 tables divided between the indoor and outdoors seating, and an open kitchen, Chef George, Mikaela and professional staff, make sure that every visit to Oh Lala! is to be remembered.


Mikaela spends her time with customers in dining room. She told that originally restaurant was opened around the corner, which was not the perfect place due to by-passing carbage trucks. But existing location, although it is not by busy 5th Avenue, which is actually good, seems perfect.

Menu is actually quite versatile and international, but also local dishes like grouper fish is available.

Dinner starts with appetizers, restaurant served Foccacia with parma ham and mozzarella and as vegan version 3 different kinds of cherry tomatoes, olives served with the house vinagrette.

For starters ordered Shrimp and Scallop skewer and Mushroom salad.

Skewer was very well spiced, shrimps were kind of wrapped around scallops. Cherry tomatoes are not so easy to eat, which I noticed in Kappeli on Mid-Summer, therefore took extra attention when trying to pick them up.

The dressing made the salad.  Mushrooms, lettuce and cherry tomatoes made for a simple, but very tasty dish.

For main course had Octopus with potatoes and green salad and Red Curry.

Octopus “tower” was impressive piece of art. Again well spiced and salted and what was most important, it was not soft and chewy as it unfortunately many time is. Crisp and firm structure and delicious side dish, although “only” potatoes, guaranteed enjoyment.

When ordering curry, waiter asked how hot curry can be. Ordered strongest one and indeed it was spicy and hot. For country of salsas, like habanero, curry was prepared to meet the requirements of spice enthustiac.

Mexico is growing wine producer country, which means that many of the wines are still quite young.

Casa Madero’s Casa Grande Gran Reserva Seleccion de Barricas 2012 is produced from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petit Verdot grapes and it meets even the most demanding needs. Bouquet was nice and taste enough full-bodied. One could even see from the glass that is has been stored some time. And this also meant that price was at least at the same level as European wines in Europe.



Dessert drinks are also international. Difficult to imagine how many restaurants serve grappa in country of tequila.


Oh Lala! is restaurant worth to visit in Playa del Carmen. It is one of the most expensive but if you compare it to restaurant prices in Finland, more affordable.

Food was excellent, service professional and dining room cozy. Some food scent from the open kitchen, but it made one more hungry. And part of uniqueness was, that co-owner Mikaela spent time in dining room discussing with customers and creating relaxed athmosphere in fine dining restaurant.

 

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

http://www.ohlalabygeorge.com/





Wine review: Matsu El Recio

16 07 2017

 

First time I saw this kind of a “hilarious” series of Spanish red wines, was couple of years ago at some wine fair in Helsinki. Already then I took the cards of the wines to study them more closely later.

Several times have ordered basic Matsu El Picaro in restaurants and it has always been enoyable. Medium-bodied, almost full bodied and pairs nicely with meny dishes. Therefore expectations for Matsu El Recio were maybe to high.

Matsu wines come from an area called Toro with very favourable conditions for obtaining a good quality grape. The climate in this area is a continental climate with an Atlantic influence. It is an area that experiences extreme temperature changes, reaching 11 degrees below zero in winter and 37 degrees in summer. There is also a considerable temperature contrast between night and day, which favours an optimum maturation of the grape. In addition, the annual rainfall is very low, so the risk of diseases appearing is also very low and therefore grapes grow in a perfectly healthy state.

Vineyards produce the Tinta de Toro (Tempranillo) variety; between 80 and 100 years of age and have a very low yield per vine.

THE LOOK

What was attracted my interest, was the label. Or actually series of labels. In this wine there is a middle aged man.

Color of the wine is quite deep red but not as brownish as I expected-

THE NOSE

Ripe plum, cranberry and sour cherry. Quite mild, actually difficult to find anything, but somhow acidity came through.

THE TASTE

Regarding to notes, wine should be full-bodied, but this one was not. Would say it medium-bodied. And acidity and tannins dominated also in taste as well noticed in bouquet. Also spiciness was obvious. Not my favourite.

 


 

Must say that this Matsu El Recio was dissappointment. I tried to find some wine error, acidity maybe was, but could not actually identify. Cork was ok also. Maybe it is just so, that this wine is too light and blend for my taste.

However, suggest to try El Picaro which is also affordable. I am now wondering if I shall try El Viejo at all. Any experience?

Facts:

Alcohol: 14,5% by volume
Acidity: 4,4 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal/100 ml
Closure: Natural cork

 

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 2/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK + / +++

http://bodegamatsu.com/en/





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: Taverna Vaelsa

18 06 2017


Ristorante e Taverna Vaelsa opened spring 2015 at the Market Square, at Pohjoisesplanadi 9 in the historic Govinius building. At the 2nd floor there is restaurant serving with wider menu and downstairs is taverna, which serves pizzas and some salads. Vaelsan’s kitchen combines local food and classic Italian cuisine with a modern touch.

Visited taverna at late lunch time on Saturday and tried pizzas. Ordered them from the menu under Pizze Speciali headline.

Chose Bresaola Mozzarella, Rucola, Bresaola, Parmigiano, Lemon Vinaigrette and Vegana Zucchini, Paprika, Eggplant, Parsley, Vegan Cheese.

Pizza Bresaola was delicious, but quite dry as there was not tomato sauce. Pizza base was quite thick and had to cut quite hard pieces. There was enough fresh rucola, which is not always the case when pizza includes rocket salad.


Pizza Vegana was also tasty and it was pleaseant surprise to see that taverna served also vegan version including cheese. That definately increases points.


Wines were a little bit problematic, only 3 red wines available and 2 out of them had run out and replaced with other brands. Of course pizzas do not necessarily require full-bodied wines but for instance the one we enoyed was quite light.

Location is excellent, just opposite to Market Square. And if you get window table like us, it is nice to watch the crowds outside.

Service was a little bit limping, maybe due to busy lunch hour, which was ending. If you want to visit ristorante, better make table reservation, to taverna you can just walk in and check if there are free tables.

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

http://vaelsa.fi/taverna/





Restaurant review: Bistro Telakka in Lauttasaari

20 05 2017

Summer restaurant Bistro Telakka opened it’s doors just before MayDay. First warm weekend in Helsinki and had to have late lunch there. Telakka operates in the premises of Yacht Club Sinbad like Blue Peter in HSK. By the way, Telakka means shipyard in English.

Restaurant renews its menu every summer and this year it seemed to be very promising. More ambitious and more vegan versions.

For starters ordered Vietnamese summer rolls, ginger-sweet chili dressing. Extremely healthy version of so called spring rolls but as it is summer (almost), rolls were cold, not stir-fried as spring rolls usually are. Carrot dominated as filling and coriander as a taste. Promising start as said before about the menu.

Main courses enjoyed this time were Salmon and tiger prawn smoked at Telakka, asparagus, summer potatoes and lime hollandaise and Roasted Cauliflower Ras el Hanout, warm soy bean-millet salad, lemon yoghurt.

Fish dish looked luxorius as prawn was placed on top of salmon. Salmon was perfectly smoked, not too dry and very soft. Summer potatoes will hopefully be new ones when they are available because of the name. Fried potatoes are not that summery.

Ras el hanout or Rass el hanout is a spice mix from North Africa. It plays a similar role in North African cuisine as garam masala does in Indian cuisine.  Light and tasty dish perfect for a summer day, but it was more like a salad or a started dish when talking of the serving size.

Avarage price of wine bottle on short list is about 35€, which is really affordable concerning wine prices in Helsinki restaurants in general.

Telakka bistro - reijosfood.com

 

Telakka bistro is excellent supplementary dining place in Lauttasaari. Food is excellent when it comes to outlook and taste. With existing prices bistro is quite expensive compared to size of portions and the interior of restaurant.

Terrace outside tempts to dine outside but as May has been one of the coldest in Finland so far, one should have dine inside. We were lucky to have sunny afternoon and could eat at the terrace.

It is a little bit difficult to review service as you have to order from the bar inside. Portions are brought to the tables, no need to pick them by yourself.

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

http://www.bistrotelakka.fi/

 

 





Restaurant review: Venn Helsinki

1 05 2017

Restaurant VENN Helsinki was established in late April 2017. It replaced Michel, which more restaurant than bar, which VENN aims to be. VENN positiones itself as wine bar and obviously there is going to be new nationwide chain as city is added after the name of the restaurant.

Menu is short including modern pizzas, burgers and salads. Wines are reasonable priced, which of course increases attractivess of VENN.

Decided to try burgers for late lunch.

Avocado burger consisted of avocado, grilled vegetables, salad and piri-piri mayo. Tasty burger with big slices of avocado, zucchini and red peppers.  A nice choice as a vegan version, and different from other burgers served in other restaurants.

VENN burger included 200g minced meat steak, comte cheese, grilled zucchini, tomato and horseradish mayo. Steak was ordered as medium but it was medium – due to redness of meat. And could not find zucchini this time. Otherwise burger was very tasty and fresh.

For both burgers ordered potato blocks which paired well main dish. Other options would have been potato chips (big ones) or salad.

For wine had Californian Barefoot Merlot, which was classified as Velvety red on wine list. Wine has good combo of cherry, plum, and even chocolate. A mocha finish is complemented by hints of smoky vanilla oak.

Decoration is cozy, same big bar in the middle of room dominates the space. Windows open on two sides, both pedestrian streets, but one of them is in the summer time famous outdoor night club with live music.

Venn is part of S-Group restaurant complex in old buidings in one of the best location in Helsinki. New concept will be more popular than Michel was due to more relaxed athmosphere and easy food. Drinks and wines are now main part of operation.

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





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

 





Restaurant review: Salutorget

1 04 2017

 

Set in a former bank building, Salutorget comprises a dining room known for its pared-down elegance, a stylish bar and a cosy outdoor terrace with views of Helsinki’s seafront market. Dining areas, main and old bar/lounge space look, look really impressive, if you like classic decoration. There are also private dining rooms located on the second floor.

Have not dined in Salutorget for couple of years, so it was time to try it again.

For starters ordered Smoked beetroot, crutons, buckwheat and tofu sauce and Escargots á la Peltola´s Blue, country style baguette

Beetroot was fresh, and the tofu sauce a very nice addition to the dish.

Escargots were really tasty. Blue cheese added nice flavor on soft snails; garlic is used too oftern. Structure of snails was also perfect, not chewy at all.

 

Main courses were Globe artichoke and “falafel” with nuts and lentil and Grilled trout, smoked potato and hollandaise with white fish roe

Fresh, and home made tasty falafels.  Nicely presented and garnished with fresh cherry tomatoes, and greens.  The mashed potatoe sauce was nice and creamy, and the artichoke was a nice addition to this dish.

Trout was perfectly grilled, but could have eaten two pieces. Side dishes were well planned as they were delicious and paired extremely well with the fish.


 

Wine ordered this time was a real bargain. At the price of 45€ (restaurant price in Finland) you seldom find that tasty Shiraz. Most of the wines are reasonably priced, which is not the case in most restaurants in Helsinki.

Tempus Two was founded in 1997 by one of Australia’s most iconic and revered wine families, the McGuigans. Wine enjoyed was Tempus Two Shiraz 2014. Although it is still quite young, would agree on winemakers notes, “Big, Bold and Beautiful”!

 

Salutorget is the restarant to visit, if you want to try tasty Finnish food with international twist.

Food was excellent, also vegan. Restaurant has vegan main course on web -pages, but not on on printed menu. Also vegan dessert was available, but not listed on menu

Service was professional as you can expect in restaurant like Salutorget.

Overall grade is 4,5 because of reasonable wine prices and decoration, which is unique. Also the summer time terrace is worth to visit as it is opposite to Market Square and statue of Havis Amanda.

 

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

http://www.salutorget.fi/en/front-page/





Restaurant review: Hoku

12 03 2017



HOKU was opened on the 3rd of December 2016, when new restaurant concept was launched in Kamppi shopping center 5th floor. Area is called Kortteli (Block), which includes 11 restaurants with different cuisines, HOKU being one of them.

Restaurant HOKU is a Hawaiian restaurant started by Ryan Shibuya. It is located by the windows opening to Narinkkatori offering great view if you get window table. So ask for it, but enough early. Some of the tables are on the other side behind glass walls after Beijing8 restaurant.

For starters ordered EDAMAME Lightly boiled and seasoned soybeans with a sesame-soy chili dressing and SOFT SHELL CRAB Deep fried and served on mixed salad with a creamy sriracha vinaigrette

Edamame, which is common in Hawaii,  was a very simple dish, and a bit lacking imagination.  As tasty as the sauce is, at the end they are just soy beans. Suitable for snack to be shared but maybe not for starter.

Crab was delicious and actuallu quite big for starter. Crispy shells with tasty salad made this crab starter maybe the best of all dishes eaten.

 



From several main courses ordered STEAMED SEABASS WITH BLACKBEANS Seabass steamed in cabbage leaf, salty black beans, shimeji mushrooms, ginger pesto and TOFU TERIYAKI Pan seared with teriyaki sauce.  Served with rice, green or potato salad, pickles.

Seabass was wrapped in cabbage leaves, 3 pieces, which make portion generous. Sauce or soup was quite salty but rice lightened it. Fish itself was perfectly cooked, soft and tasty.

The tofu was silken, and pair well with teriyaki sauce. In menu dish is with salmon but can be replaced with tofu.  In the plate there are 3 different flavors, sweet with the red cabbage, sour with the pickles  and chilli with cabbage.  The green salad is simple, usually served with a mayo dressing, but as it was served as vegan, the dressing was a vinagrette.



Wines are affordable when it comes to restaurant prices. If you get bottle of decent wine under 40€ in Finland, then you are on right track. Had South-African The Innocent Syrah 2015 from wineyard Lammershoek. The palate was soft and round upfront mouth feel. Quite light for Syrah but paired well with Hawaiian style food.

Restaurant has it’s own beer as you can see from the picture below. One of the Hawaiian islands, Kona, can be seen on the sign behind bar desk.

Restaurant Hoku will be success for sure. Excellent location in Kamppi shopping center by the windows with great view help it also.

But of course food is most important part and it was tasty. Especially not too strong Hawaiian flavors should melt Finnish mouths.

Service was professional being not too formal.

Saw many customers trying to step in without table reservation. On Saturday evening restaurant was fully booked.

 

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

http://hoku.fi/index.html

http://kampinkortteli.fi/en

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Wine review: Rouge de Carsin Suomi Finland 100 2014

6 03 2017

Finland’s big year 2017

Finland became an independent state on 6 December 1917. The newly born state was willed into being by the Finns after a long struggle. In spite of hard times, the Finnish people have for almost a hundred years engaged in the building of their country and making decisions together. Now the Finns are leading their country into a new century with courage and determination.

The centenary of Finland’s independence in 2017 will be the most significant commemorative year for this generation of Finns. The centenary emphasises Finland’s strengths, such as equality and democracy by offering Finns and friends of Finland diverse and international centenary programme in Finland and abroad. The centenary year provides opportunities to better understand the past, experience the jubilee together and set the course for Finland’s future success.

The official Finland 100 corporate partners, products and services and the centenary projects of different companies. When it comes to wines, Chateau Carsin from Bordeaux, France is the one of the 2 partners.

In early 1990, Château Carsin was purchased by Finnish wine enthusiasts, the Berglund family. At the same time New World wines were becoming strong in the markets. In order to be competitive, a totally modern winery was ordered from Australia. With that investment winery is able to compete against other French producers.

Winery has used in production traditional Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

THE LOOK

Suomi Finland 100 logo is on the label as a proof of partnership.

For quite young wine, color is already dark red. When you circulate the glass, wine flows down, as it would do when you observe older wines.

THE NOSE

Bouquet is pleasant, actually quite intense compared to the taste. Spicy with some berries like blackberry.

THE TASTE

Taste reveals that you are having quite young wine in your hands. Medium-bodied with soft tannins.

 

Facts:

Alcohol: 13,5% by volume
Acidity: 5,1 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal/100 ml
Closure: natural cork

 

There is also white wine, Blanc de Carsin 2015, available. As a friend of red wines, might not have time to taste it.

Suomi Finland wines are of course marketed in Finland, but if you find them somewhere else, please let me know.

 

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

http://carsin.com/suomi100/

 

 





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: Bar Con

19 02 2017


Bar Con was opened on the 3rd of December 2016, when new restaurant concept was launched in Kamppi shopping center 5th floor. Owners of Bar Con were also behind the new concept, Kortteli (Block), which includes 11 restaurants with different cuisines.

Bar Con is, however, located in its area above other restaurants and cafes. You climb the stairs to the “6th” floor where is the dining area and bar behind the desk.

Restaurant Bar Con is relaxed and casual spot serving similar food as you would get in Barcelona tapas bars. Menu includes pintxos, which are served on a crunchy slice of bread, tapas and main courses. Also few desserts are included.

Started the dinner with 2 pintxos and 2 tapas. Pintxo is snack, one piece costs 4€. Tapas portion can be shared. Ordered QUESO AZUL Y NUECES Asturian La Peral blue cheese with walnuts and SETAS AL AJILLO Seasonal mushrooms sauteed with parsley, garlic and pine nuts.

Amount of cheese was overwhelming but could not find walnuts. Would prefer blue cheese as slightly melted but this pintxo was delicious.

The garlic taste was a bit overwhelming, but overall it was a nice little snack.


Next came tapas portions, had ordered PIMIENTOS DEL PADRÓN Green Padrón peppers fried in olive oil and seasoned with coarse salt from Ibiza and PATATAS BRAVAS DE BARCELONA Crispy potatoes, spicy sauce made of smoked pepper and aioli.

One tapas plate is enough for two person for starter, if you order first pintxos.

Spiced potatoes were excellent, but missed a little bit taste of chili, which is used in some tapas bar in Barcelona.

Also salted green sweet peppers were as they should be.

For main courses decided to ordered MAR Y MONTAÑA Chickpeas, Spanish butifarra sausage and baby squid and POCHAS A LA NAVARRA White bean and vegetable stew from Navarra.

Mar was now shrimps instead of squid as restaurant was not able to get fresh octopus. Better this way than to serve frozen food, which can be quite stewy when it comes to squids. Butifarra sausage was as good as expected and stew very tasty as a whole.

The white bean stew was the only vegan choice.  This dish was a bit too salty, but must wonder if the combination of tapas on top of this main would have made a difference on the taste.  Overall a nice warm dish.

Wine list consist of Spanish wines, of course, and most of the wines are from small producers and imported by the company owning Bar Con. List also tells that wines are vegan, which means that animal-derived products has not been used during production.

Ordered Seis de Azul y Garanza, which has its origin in six vineyards placed next to the Desert of Bardenas Reales which produce small grapes. Waiter suggested this wine for all dishes we had ordered and pairing was perfect. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot were perfect combination.

 

Restaurant Bar Con will be success, no doubt about it. Perfect location and you can even watch out from the narrow bar.

Food is tasty and ingredients used fresh and original, imported from Spain. Must say that so far most authentic when it comes to real Spanish food.

Service was professional and seemed natural. Information about food and wines were available with professional way.

 

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

http://www.bar-con.fi/

http://kampinkortteli.fi/en





Restaurant review: Kaarna – bar and kitchen

12 02 2017

Restaurant Kaarna is a laid-back Finnish restaurant with a Scandinavian twist. The restaurant offers simple food and as speciality beers from microbreweries. Most of the dishes also have beer suggestions. To start with, restaurant recommends to try snapas, a sortiment of tapas made from Finnish ingredients. 

Kaarna is located in Forum shopping center in two floors. Street level, there is a small bar, and at the second level there are the dining area and lounge type of bar. There is even small inside terrace by the entrance in the shopping mall.

Ask for window table by Mannerheim street, if you want to follow by-passers and shoppers.

 

For starters had Green salad and Blini with pike roe.

It looked beautiful, but unfortunately the taste was not.  No dressing was added to the salad, or oil offered.  This salad is not listed on the menu, but there were not vegan options for starters.  Nice of them to improvised, but not a success this time.

As it is blini season, had to try it for starter. Only roe available was pike, usually salmon or white fish roes are served. Blinis were ok, but the amount of roe was ridiculous. Never have I seen that tiny pile of roe. And seldom, if ever, syrup is served with blini. Missing black pepper was the third thing, which went wrong.

For vegan food Pulled oats flatbread Pulled oats flavoured with tar and fennel, onion purée and flatbread from Lapland and Roasted country chicken Chanterelle sauce, fried vegetables and roasted potatoes.

Pulled Oat is oat and bean based protein food developed by Gold & Green, new Finnish vegan food producer.

Finnish flat bread is tasteless and dry as it is, so the toppings should be the opposite.  In this case, once again, it looked delicious, but there is just one word to describe this dish:  Bland.

Taste of chicken was nice, but is was quite dry. Portion included sauce, which tasted mushrooms. Maybe, if there had been some bites of chanterelles, it might have tasted, what it should have been.



Wine, which was so called Loyalty Customer wine, was best part of the dinner. Banrock Station Shiraz 2016 from Australia paired well with slightly spiced food. Quite sweet taste still because wine is really young.

Restaurant Kaarna has perfect location in one of the busiest shoppping centers and by the Mannerheim street. If you want window table, it is recommend to make table reservation in advance because restaurant is busy on weekend evenings.

Because of fully booked tables, had to wait 40 minutes for starters.

Unfortunaly food experience was not at the level we expected but location and window table increased overall grade.

REVIEW: Food 2/5 – Service 3+/5Overall grade 3+/5

https://www.raflaamo.fi/en/helsinki/kaarna-baari-keittio








%d bloggers like this: