Restaurant review: Sue Ellen

24 06 2018

Restaurant Sue Ellen was opened in November 2017 and it replaced Bystro, which was also owned by the same chef’s familiar from Demo and Muru. Bystro served Russian food, but Sue Ellen has quite different cuisine. It comes from Southern coast of America like Savannah, South Carolina and Charleston. Sue Ellen is good example of new “pop-up” trend in restaurant scene. Instead of fine tuning decoration and menu, close old concept and open new one.

Sue Ellen is located in former colonial merchant’s house by the sea, opposite to Old Market Hall. Hotel Haven is behind or around the restaurant and many guests of course use the opportunity to dine without need to walk far.

The name of the restaurant presumably raises eye brows of those who remember old TV series called Dallas. If you go to wash your hands, you can even see pictures of main characters.

There is one special dish restaurant offers. You can order whole Piglet 3-4 days beforehand. Of course there are shellfishes, oysters and some other meat dishes available, but piglet is quite extraordinary.

Decided to order 4 course menu, which cost 55€, as waitress told that it was also available as vegan. Also ordered wines suggested for the dishes.

Vegan starter was GREEN TOMATOES Fresh salad and Louisiana remoulade and standard CAROLINA CRABCAKE & OKRA SALAD Romesco paste, lemon curd.

Tomatoes were the best part of vegan dinner. Because of those, expectations were quite high for next dishes.

Crabcake was tasty, one could really find the taste of juicy crabs. Paste made the dish even more delicious.

Wine served for both starters was Pinot Noir from Robert Mondavi. Fruity and almost full-bodied wine paired perfectly with starters.

 

Second dish on the menu was SPICY MANGO Baby gem, fried shallot, pimento.

Vegan dish did not include biscuits on the top of the food. Mango was not so sweet because it travels quite long time from country of origin before fruits end up to Finland. As being used for enjoying often spicy food, dish was slight disappointment.

Wine served was German Riesling from Böcking. Dry, crispy and fresh wine comes from Mosel area and for mango, it matched perfectly.

Next and last salty dishes were Asparagus based vegan dish and SLIGHTLY SMOKED BRISKET Brisket ”Au Jus”, roasted cauliflower purée and broccoli

Second vegan main course was combination of different vegetables and roots. The idea came from dish called FROM THE SEA, which includes asparagus and sweet potato chips. However, typically restaurants provide tofu or some other protein product like Härkis or Nyhtökaura replacing meat of fish. In this case restaurant did not have those.

Brisket was excellent, tender (au jus means juicy) and fumigating was made with skill. Was just hoping for the third slice as was still hungry. Tiny side dish was also perfect match when it comes to taste: but again, double the amount and this dish would have been bull’s eye.

Both wines come from Charles Smith Wines. Boom Boom Syrah for meat and Eve Chardonnay for vegan dish. Waitress actually chose white wine as it paired better with asparagus and other veggies.

Dessert / Sweet of the Day on the menu was Chocolate cake, which was delicious with all add-on’s. Sorbet was included in both dishes and as it is prepared at restaurant, it was also very tasty.

Desset wine from Bigaro, Piemonte, Italy is produced with two different grapes, one white (Muscat) and a black (Brachetto). Amount of alcohol is only 5%, which makes this perfect summer wine.

Sue Ellen wanted to provide vegan dishes for 4 course menu, but that seemed to be quite difficult. Standard menu was delicious and worth to order, although portions are not that big. As many restaurants provide also vegan version of their menu, grade is compared to those.

Service was casual but professional, the contents of dishes were explained well and the pace of serving food was well planned. Waitress also changed the champagne aperitif as she saw that there were not enough bubbles.

Same owners have also new interesting experimental restaurant Ultima in the same building. Part of the ingredients are grown in the restaurant and 90% come anyway from Finland.

REVIEW: FOOD Vegan 2,5/5 Standard 4-/5 – SERVICE 4,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4-/5

https://sue-ellen.fi/en/





Restaurant review: Loiste at 10th floor

21 01 2017

Restaurant Loiste is located in the heart of Helsinki at the 10th Floor of Hotel Vaakuna and Sokos department store. There is a nice view from terraces and part of the restaurant windows. If you are seated on the right side of the restaurant, when you come in, you can not enjoy of the view, unfortunately. Therefore ask for window table and you can take a look at Kamppi and Forum shopping centres. Loiste is casual type of restaurant, but tries to put effort on the menu and food.


If you just want to enjoy aperitif or you are not hungry enough, you can visit the bar, which is located at the same premises, at 10th floor.

 

This time no starters as had decided to eat dessert too. However, as portions were not that big, could have eaten Blini, the season dish, for starter.

For main courses ordered Fish of the day and Chickpea steak, baked shiitake and kale, bell pepper tzatziki, which was the vegan dish.

Fish of the day was Arctic char, which is cold-water fish in the family of salmonidaes. Quite common in Finland. Side dishes were beetroot, potatoes and mushroom sauce. Simple, tasty but fish pieces could have been bigger.

For vegan porton, not your typical Chickpea steak.  A combination of chickpeas, shredded carrots, and zucchini put together in tasty steak shape. Served with a delicious red pepper tzatziki sauce and a side dish of seasoned wild mushrooms. Overall a delicious dish worth a second try.

For desserts ordered English cranberry-chocolate pudding  and Basil-Coconat sorbet.

Pudding was more like a cake, but delicious. Again few bites bigger and experience would have been perfect.

The vegan dessert was a creamy, structure like ice-cream.  Basil and coconat are not a common combination, but it totally works!



 

This time had for red wine Trapiche Astica Merlot-Malbec from Argentina. This basic wine had intense red color with ruby hues. Fruits and vanilla aromas, great complexity of the red and black fruits in the palate with sweet tannins. Malbec softened Merlot taste nicely.

 

Bigger portions for the price paid is a wish, when it comes to non vegan dishes.

Service was polite but we were wondering why we did not get window table although requested. Few tables were empty all the time by the window. Otherwise restaurant was quite busy.

 

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

https://www.raflaamo.fi/en/helsinki/restaurant-loiste

 





Restaurant review: Brasserie Kämp

3 07 2016

Brasserie Kämp

Hotel Kämp is a historical hotel in Helsinki. The hotel was originally built in 1887 by Carl Kämp. The building was demolished and the facade was rebuilt in 1965. 

Dining at Hotel Kämp gives a possibility on a culinary journey from East to West. Asian food is offered at restaurant YUME. Brasserie Kämp offers a wide range of European brasserie style food.

A la carte list is short which makes ordering easy, if you find suitable dish. One option is to order gourmet “fast food” like Kämp burger or club sandwich which are luxorious. Especially french fries are maybe the best in the city.

Wanted to challenge kitchen and decided to order for starters Salad a la Kämp Mixed salad, cucumber, plum tomatoes with marinated artichokes and button mushrooms

Crispy, fresh vegetables made for a very delicious salad.  The parmesan dressing was substituded by a vinagrette, and marinated artichoke with button mushrooms were the choice to make the perfect all vegan option.  The other options are shrimps or chicken.

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and Arctic Ocean Shrimps Hand peeled shrimps, fennel and apple salad, cold cucumber juice.

Shrimps were fresh and just hand peeled, of course. Cucumber juice was delicous and made the dish sort of soup like of starter.

Shrimps at Kämp

For main courses ordered Roasted salmon Creamed seasonal mushrooms seasoned with chervil and tarragon, potato puree.

Salmon was roasted well, meaning that it was not over cooked which can happen easily. Mixture of mushrooms and potato puree paired extremely well with the fish.

Salmon at Kämp

 

and from All day Dining list Black rice and cauliflower Black rice from Piemonte, roasted cauliflower, hazelnut vinaigrette.

From the “All Day Dinning” part of the menu, this is the perfect vegan option.  The original dish is served with goat cheese.  The dish is creamy, but the hazelnut vinagrette and roasted cauliflower keep it fresh and crispy.

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Recommend to dine at the terrace of Kämp Brasserie, which is perfect location to observe passers-by on Esplanadi promenade or pedestrian street. Most of the dishes can be ordered as starters or main courses which helps in keeping the menu short.

Service was unique with French touch. There is a difference between Kämp Brasserie and recently opened trendy bistro type of restaurants when it comes to service. But it is refreshing that there still are some traditions honored.

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

http://brasseriekamp.fi/en/

 

 





Restaurant review: Yume – New Year’s Eve dinner

9 01 2016

Restaurant Yume - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Yume is part of Kämp Group, which also operates legendary luxury hotel Kämp. Yume serves asian flavours and dishes in a modern decor and is located in the same building as hotel Kämp. Inspired by the Jack Yoss Experience pop up restaurant which was at Yume in July 2012, restaurant’s menu changed and offers today a wide variety of modern asian food.

Note that restaurant is closed in January 2016 due to renovation.

New Year’s Eve did not differ so much from regular evening except when it comes to menu, that was planned for special day. Food is always well prepared and delicious at Yume, but special menu was not that special because menus have always been enjoyable. Maybe surprise small bite between dishes would have been spectacular.

Started with aperitives, but got first two dishes 2 minutes after drinks. Those two dishes, Spiced salmon in soy sauce and Sushi pieces were first part of the dinner being both starters. But it was quite odd that restaurant served these portions while taking first sips. OK, waitress noticed that eating did not start before had enjoyed the drinks and after that it was more comfortable to eat next dishes without rush.

Yume starters - reijosfood.com

3rd dish was the best of all portions. Pork ribs were so delicious that could have eaten them for rest of the menu. Extremely well spiced these juicy ribs were so far the best have ever tasted.

Yume beef - reijosfood.com

And 4th dish was Beef meat served with rice. A little bit too greasy, but with chili slices and “soup” again show case of Yume kitchen professionalism.

Yume beef - reijosfood.com

 

Yume can Asian-Scandinavian type desserts! Not too complicated for local taste. Means that sometimes different type of vegetables and herbs used in desserts make them almost snack or main course, not dessert. Dessert was Pudding with sorbet.

Yume dessert - reijosfood.com

Interesting detail is the location of extra cutlery. They are hidden in a small box under the table, but only on one side.

Cutlery at Yume - reijosfood.com

For wine chose The Velvet Devil from Charles Smith Wines, USA. 100% Merlot pairs well with spicy, almost even hot dishes.

The Velvet Devil at Yume - reijosfood.com

Yume is one of the best “gourmet” asian cusine restaurants in Helsinki. As it is in the center of the city, next door to Hotel Kämp, it’s location is also perfect. Modern rhythm music is not too loud and most of the tables are not thick on the ground, which makes discussion possible. Service was professional as expected and would have given 4,5, if starters would have not appear so quickly.

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

http://ravintolayume.fi/en/

 





Restaurant review: Brasserie Kämp – Kämp burger

26 04 2015

Brasserie Kämp - reijosfood.com

Hotel Kämp is a historical hotel in Helsinki. The hotel was originally built in 1887 by Carl Kämp. The building was demolished and the facade was rebuilt in 1965. The headquarters of the bank KOP were situated in the building for almost three decades, until 1995. A major restoration project, started in 1996, culminated in the reopening of Hotel Kämp in 1999.

Restaurant Brasserie Kämp offers a wide range of European food brasserie style. After building heated terrace four years ago you can dine “outside” all year around like in many brasseries in Paris. That is the place for enjoying Kämp burger.

Kämp burger consists of Black Angus beef patty, chipotle and bacon dressing, pickled red onion, cheddar, little gem lettuce between roll and pommes frites.

You can can choose the degree of maturity of the meat. Medium means that you get patty which is red inside. And patty is thick, thicker than you usually have seen and juicy. It is one reason for the price, 24€, but of course the milieu adds some value add. Fries are crispy as they should be and served with elegance.

With red wine, usually pinot noir, Kämp burger is perfect hunger killer for lunch!

Kämp burger - reijosfood.com

Brasserie Kämp is perfect location to observe passers-by on Esplanadi promenade and eat that famous Kämp burger. You can also watch swanky cars parked front of Hotel Kämp or driving to the hotel garage.

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

Ravintola Brasserie Kämp.





Hotel review: Barcelona Princess

6 02 2015

Hotel Barcelona Princess

The hotel Barcelona Princess boasts 363 fully-equipped rooms, a sun terrace with pool on the 23rd floor with a nice view of the city and small pool with gym on the 3rd floor.

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Located on the ’Avenida Diagonal’ just in front of the shopping center Fórum, this 4-star hotel is located less than 20 minutes from the centre of Barcelona with decent public transport alternatives available.

Interesting detail is Desigual Loft on the 23rd floor with decor, which takes care of every detail, patchwork rugs, lamps, wicker armchairs and low tables puff type created by artisans of different peoples of the Mediterranean.

Desigual loft - reijosfood.com

ROOM

Spent few nights in the double room on the 19th floor with sea view. Room was well equipped, bath robe and slippers waiting to be used. Free mini bar with soft drinks and bottle of beer per day and free WI-FI.

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Bath room was behind the glass wall, but it can be hided with automated screen, if you are shy. However, toilet and shower are behind doors, some relief?

Hotel Barcelona Princess room - reijosfood

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PUBLIC SPACES

Breakfast was generous compared to many other hotels in Barcelona. Something for everyone. Tried also room service once. Service was quick and actually room service price list is affordable.

On the first floor there is small bar and lobby but hotel is not actually place for dinners. Prepare to reserve table from “real” restaurants in the city or by the sea.

Two pools and new and well designed rooms are best part of the hotel.

Location from Plaza Catalunya is quite far, but walking by the sea to Port Olympico does not take too much time. Then it is up to you, if you want to continue to Maremagnum and then to Ramblas by foot. I actually walked that route, but with one pit stop in Tapa Tapa tapas bar or restaurant.

Hotel Barcelona Princess is for business travellers and for those, who do not want to pay higher prices in the city for lower standard.

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

Hotel Barcelona Princess – Official Website | Barcelona Hotel.





Restaurant review: Ovo – Gourmet restaurant at hotel Lopesan Villa del Conde

16 01 2015
Restaurant Ovo

Restaurant Ovo

The distinguished Club Restaurant Ovo is situated in the central building of hotel Lopesan Villa del Conde next to the central square. In its envolving interior of simple elegance, the Ovo permits to taste pleasantly a virtuos creative cuisine.

Visited Ovo twice, New Year’s Eve Gala dinner and few days later. Review is combination of these two visits, which differed quite a lot from each other.

NEW YEAR’S EVE (SYLVESTER) DINNER

New Years Eve Menu at Ovo - reijosfood.com

New Year’s Celebration is spectacular not only because of better climate compared to Finland but also way of celebrating and enjoying party. Dinner was also perfect as well as service. What was extremely unique, hotel gave a food allergy card in check-in, which was useful whole stay. And it proved to be working already during New Years’ Eve dinner although menu was fixed.

Dinner started with Appetizer consisting of three delicacies. Names of goodies can be seen on Menu above.

Then came the soup where you could see how well restaurant took into account the food allergy card. Tomato soup instead of cream.

Lobster with side dishes was great! Cooking was perfect because lobster meat was soft, not chewy.

Meat, beef tenderloin, was prepared with talent and it was one of the best red meats eaten ever.

For dessert combination of sweet goodies but not too sweet. Perfect ending for the dinner. Ups, forgot glass of Lanson, which actuallu ended the dinner.

Starters at Ovo - reijosfood.comTomato soup at Ovo - reijosfood.com

Cream soup at Ovo - reijosfood.com

Lobster with flower garden at Ovo - reijosfood.com

Beef at Ovo - reijosfood.com

Dessert at Ovo - reijosfood.com

RE-VISIT and STANDARD A LA CARTE LIST

Second visit was few days after New Year’s Eve. Expectations were high as we were amazed by the service and food served last time. We did not need food allergy card because main waiter remembered changes what needed to be made, excellent!

Dinner started with greetings from the kitchen, soup and vitello tonnato Ovo way. Best part of the dinner, unfortunately.

Starters, giant shrimps and Ceasar salad, were ok but not that impressive as we expected. Ceasar salad missed taste of anchovy and garlic.

Main course, sea bass, was prepared too early. It was not anymore enough warm and crisp.

But service, it was again professional and polite.

Appetizers at Ovo - reijosfood.com

Shrimps at Ovo - reijosfood.com

Ceasar salad at Ovo - reijosfood.com

Fish at Ovo - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Ovo can be gourmet restaurant if it wants. Service is outstanding and it really takes into account customer. But gourmet restaurant needs to serve stable quality when it comes to food. This was not the fact at second visit. However, Ovo maybe is the best restaurant in Costa Meloneras.

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








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