May Day (1st of May) brunch

1 05 2014

1st of May (Vappu) is peculiar in Finland because similar celebrations can be seen only if Finland wins World Hockey Championships or Eurovision Song Contest (latter has happened only once). It is also typical for Finns to enjoy May Day brunch or lunch at restaurants or have picnic in Kaivopuisto (if one lives in Helsinki). Unfortunately our climate does not favor so often outdoor picnics; no exception this year, only +5C degrees and rainy!

But May Day in Malaga, Spain is somewhat different. Temperature is more convenient and no celebration at all. Similarites are bank holiday and food, you have to eat anyway.

Brunch at Molina Lario - reijosfood.com

Brunch at Molina Lario - reijosfood.comCrepe at Molina Lario - reijosfood.com

Have a nice Wappu!





Restaurant review: Yume – modern Asian cuisine

28 02 2014

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.

We arrived early at 5PM when restaurant opens. Reason for early arrival was Michael Buble concert, where we should be at 8PM latest when the warm-up band or actually accapella group Naturally 7 should start singing. Although we would have a little bit more than 2 hours to eat, we decided to order longer tasting menu

Menu Tiong Bahru

which included 7 dishes. Shorter menu would have included one dish less.

First two dishes were brought to the table at the same time

Fresh Spring Rolls

Fresh veggie spring roll, sweet chili sauce and black vinegar

Yellowtail Sashimi

Yellowtail sashimi, sweet soy-chili sauce

Veggie ment mainly sprouts which made first dish one-sided although rolls were delicious with sauces.

Sashimis were perfect, two pieces of soft fish for both. Suitably flavored sauce and vegetables made the dish masterpiece. We used chopsticks for sashimis as they were an option to be used for eating.

Sprubg rolls and sashimi at Yume - reijosfood.com

Third and fourth dishes were again at the same time on the table.

Pork Ribs

Pork Ribs and thai-chili sauce

Som Tum Salad

Spicy green papaya salad with cucumber and carrots

Pork ribs were juicy, crunchy and crisp at the same time. Sometimes candied pork, which is usually offered in modern asian restaurants, can be dry. These ribs were not candied and the way the were prepared was new for us. Extremely scrumptious, if you happen to like a little bit greasy pork.

Salad supplemented well this combination, better than rice would had. Noticed that kitchen had not yet served any rice which was good idea. Sometimes you might eat too much if rice is all the time on the table.

Pork ribs and salad at Yume - reijosfood.com

Pork ribs at Yume - reijosfood.com

Hot Stone

Beef/Lamb/Tofu tai Tiger Prawn

We chose tiger prawns instead of meat. Waitress instructed us first to fry prawns on the hot stone, then dip them to the sauce and add salt and chili powder. Understandable, because otherwise whole restaurant would have been filled with stick smoke as most of the tables would have used hot stones.

Tiger prawns at Yume - reijosfood.comTiger prawns on stone at Yume - reijosfood.com

Whitefish “sweet and sour”

Roasted whitefish, black sweet and sour sauce, fresh herb salad

Whitefish was best of all portions. First fish was roasted perfectly and then placed to the sauce in in order to get more flavor. Mint and other herbs completed this taste of heaven. And if you would still be hungry big bowl of rice would take it away. You could choose whitefish also from a la carte list from “warm dishes to share” section but for two I would suggest to order two portions. You would not like to share this one 🙂

Whitefish at Yume - reijosfood.comWhitefis and rice at Yume - reijosfood.com

Passionfruit Pudding

Passion pudding, coconut sorbet

Dessert was one of the best in asian type of fine dining restaurants. Not too asian but still asian flavors. Means that sometimes different type of vegetables and herbs used in desserts make them almost snack or main course, not dessert.

Pudding at Yume - reijosfood.com

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

At 5PM restaurant was still empty as it has just opened it’s doors. At 7PM most of the tables were occupied although Canada played against USA in Sotshi Olympic Ice-Hockey games. Unfortunutely Finland had just lost to Sweden and will play for bronze medal.

Cutlery at Yume - reijosfood.comYume - reijosfood.com

For wine we chose Gysler Weinheimer Riesling Trocken 2010 from Pfalz, Germany. Dry, but not too dry riesling with enough acidity and fruit flavors paired well with oriental tastes. Also had glass of pinot noir from Bourgogne, France with ribs. This wine would have been served if you would have ordered matching wines with tasting menu.

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. A little bit more spices in some of the dishes and then food would have also scored 4,5. Service was professional as expected.

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

http://ravintolayume.fi/en/





Hotel review: Fuerte Miramar (Marbella, Spain)

16 02 2014

Pool at Fuerte Miramar - reijosfod.com

As we shall visit Malaga early May, noticed that have forgotten to post one hotel review from last August.

4-star hotel Fuerte Miramar is located in right on the beachfront and close to the Marbella Old Town. Hotel is beside a pedestrian promenade (Paseo Maritimo) that links up in 5 minutes to the fishing harbour and the marina. You can also walk to Puerto Banus via Paseo Maritimo in 1 1/2 hours if you are sporty. Actually it is a nice way to observe Marbella from the beach side.

Hotel Fuerte Miramar - reijosfood.com

Fuerte Miramar - reijosfood.comFuerte Miramar lobby - reijosfood.com

Note that hotel is open only from March to November.

Hotel has three restaurant areas: Bar Noble, mainly drinks and light lunch. El Olivo, offering buffet-style dishes and breakfast. Beach Club Restaurante Grill that serves a large variety of fish and paellas beside the beach. Beach Club was open only during the lunch time.

Bar Noble at Fuerte Miramar - reijosfood.comBar Olivo at Fuerte Miramar - reijosfood.comRestaurant El Olivo - reijosfood.comRestaurant El Olivo - reijosfood.com

Hotel also has The Miramar Spa & Beauty, which is fully-equipped hydrotherapy centre that has sauna, Turkish bath, whirlpool bath and a wide range of treatments such as massages, algae wraps, etc.

There is also small pool available behind the hotel with sportive activities and free pool towels. Pool was quite occupied during the busiest season but one option was to go to the beach opposite of the hotel. Major shortcoming at the beach was that there was no showers.

Pool at Fuerte Miramar - reijosfood.com

Rooms are quite spacious and most of them have a balcony with front and side sea views. All of them are equipped with Wi-Fi, satellite TV, minibar, desk and safe. We had Double Room with sea side view.

Doublre room at Fuerte Miramar - reijosfood.com Sea view at Fuerte Miramar - reijosfood.com

Best of all of staying at Hotel Fuerte Miramar was location; closeness to the Olf Town and by Paseo Maritimo. Hotel is excellent base for culture and shopping purposes. Also spa in the spring and autumn times sounds attractive.

Marbella Old Town - reijosfood.comMarbella Paseo Maritimo - reijosfood.com

When it comes to service e.g. at Bar Noble, there is opportunity to improve. Small pool and simple beach closest to the hotel do not encourage to sunbathing, if you are only looking for that. Fuerte Miramar has bigger sister hotel Fuerte Marbella which fulfills also this requirement. It is more expensive due to spacious pool area and better beach, of course.

However, hotel seemed to be favored by Spanish vacationers which is always a good sign of popularity and loyal customers.

Reviews of some of the restaurants we visited in Marbella, can be found at reijosfood.com (August 2013)

http://www.fuertehoteles.com/en/hotels/fuerte-miramar-marbella/





Restaurant review: Ambassador – New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner

2 01 2014

Taittinger at Ambassador - reijosfood.com

The first review in 2014 is from last day of 2013, New Year’s Eve Gala Dinner at restaurant Ambassador. Restaurant is in Hotel Lopesan Costa Meloneras Resort, Spa & Casino where we stayed for couple of weeks.

One might think that Gran Canary Island is worn and old-fashioned which is partly true. But there is certain area, Costa Meloneras, which is new and peaceful. Lot’s of good restaurants but no disturbing pubs or night clubs. All hotels are 4-5 star large complexes but well designed and equipped.

Restaurant had prepared menu which sounded promising, but was it what we expected?

Restaurant Ambassador - reijosfood.com

Dining room was decorated well beforehand in order to create solemn athmosphere.

Ambassador - reijosfood.com

After mojito aperitifs, dinner started with four starters which was maybe the weakest link. Clams were ok, but otherwise ensamble did not convince. However, although the expectations were high were were not disappointed.

Appetizers at Ambassador - reijosfood.com

Asparagus with quail fillet paired well. As quail was so soft all you needed was spoon.

Asparagus at Ambassador - reijosfood.com

Turbot was perfectly cooked which might be difficult when kitchen prepares it to around 100 diners in quite tight time schedule.

Turbot at Ambassador - reijosfood.com

Between fish and meat champagne sherbet was served. It was sweet which is not typical when you still have one main course to go. Stick holding strawberry was also eatable.

Sorbet at Ambassador - reijosfood.com

Beef tenderloin continued the high level of competence kitchen has. Solomillo is popular meat dish in Spain and this one was one the best I have eaten.

Beef tenderloin at Ambassador - reijosfood.com

Forgot to take a picture of dessert which was really delicious. There was small cake inside mousse which crowned the dessert. Fresh fruits complemented dinner also quite nicely.

Dinner included whole bottle of  Taittinger Champagne which you could drink at the table or enjoy later when the year changed. That is what we did because after aperitif, couple of glasses of white and red wines it was good to have short break. Noticed that all that wine which was served was also enjoyed by couple of tables. Maybe not good idea thinking about morning feeling.

The whole dinner was real success! Food was good, service professional and you could really be satisfied for the set up arranged by hotel restaurant. Most of the diners seemed to be Spanish and I shall bet we were the only ones from Finland.

Tradition is also to get “party bags” as presents after leaving dining room. Found quite nice mask from it and used it almost he whole evening.

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





Wine tasting without advance booking

8 08 2013

Wines and iPAD - reijosfood.com

What a great wine tasting experience and without booking in advance! And odd dialog in the background while tasting wines.

Boutique hotel Yöpuu & Restaurant Pöllöwaari are located in Jyväskylä and provide quite unique hotel-restaurant combination. All 26 hotel rooms are individual and every room is decorated with its own personal style. Names of the rooms tell about style; like Marimekko, Aalto, Hemingway and Jugend.

Visited Winebar which offers a possibility to have a wine tasting with an iPad and without reservation. The tasting begins from tasting technique and continues to characteristics of wine. The price of the tasting is 20 € per person and it includes 8 cl of 3 different wines. However, machine did not beat the waiter as he professionally described wineyards, grapes and tasted 3 red and 3 white wines. And I think 8 cl per wine was just an rough guidance 🙂

Pöllöwaari Winebar

Tasting started from lighter wines and ended up to full-bodied wines.

Winebar - reijosfood.com

White wines tasted:

Roero Arneis from Matteo Correggia – grape Arneis (Italy). Unknown grape for us but definately has more bouquet than Pinot Grigio’s. (4-/5)

Te Muna Road wineyard Savignon Blanc 2011 from Craggy Range – grape Savignon Blanc (New Zealand). Typical aroma of grape but did not taste too much for black currant leaves. (3+/5)

2011 Estate Chardonnay from Ridge wineyards – grape Chardonnay (USA). Typical aroma of grape and some butter in flavor. (3,5/5)

Red wines tasted:

Pinot Noir from Becker Family – grape Pinot Noir (German). Stronger and darker than typical grape. (4+/5)

Baron Louis 2009 from Chateau de Montfaucon – grapes Grenache, Syrah, Cinsault, Carignan, Mourvedre (French). Excellent ensable of grapes, full-bodied aroma and soft taste. (4,5/5)

Ridge 2009 Geyserville from Ridge wineyards – grapes Zinfandel 78%, Carignane 16%, Petite Sirah 4% (USA). Pleasant surprise for Zinfandel but maybe other grapes supplemented well. (5-/5)

My favourite was Ridge 2009 Geyserville as it had enough character. However, as Chateau de Montfaucon has Finnish hostess, would also rank Baron Louis high.

Wines and cheese

You can also order small bites from short menu and we decided to taste SLICE’s OF CHEESE chef’s marmalade, thin crispy bread. Goat cheese, white cheese and swiss gryerere suited well with red wines but for white wines of course not perfectly.

Cheese plate

Winebar is quite unique in Finland and especially outside of Helsinki. It is really difficult to find such a place you can drop by without reservation. 20€’s for tasting 3 different wines and getting excellent service is unexpensive. Next time have to dine at restaurant Pöllöwaari because it is also quite famous.

Quite odd happened in the background while we tasted wines. Man dressed in orange clothes (yes, orange jacket and trousers) told to one of the Pöllöwaari waitresses, while interviewing her about the menu’s, that he writes blogs to one afternoon newspaper and intended to write about the restaurant. What did he expect; free meal or drinks in order to write positively? If he really was restaurant critic why tell beforehand about it?

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

PS. Yöpuu = Perch and Pöllöwaari = Owl grandaddy in English; not so easy to translate

http://www.hotelliyopuu.fi/en/4/2/Winebar





Hotel review: Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone (Savonlinna)

4 08 2013

Room with a view

Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone is located in the centre of Savonlinna next to the Market Square and the Passenger Harbour. The medieval castle of Olavinlinna is few hundred metres away. Hotel has 84 rooms, 8 of them are Superior in which we stayed.

Sokos Hotel Seurahuone Savonlinna

Hotel has several restaurants and it specializes in night life as there are two night clubs, Night & Bar Tamino for younger adults and Dance Restaurant Mefisto for “grown ups”. We did not visit those places but usually there are quite crowded in the summer time; and the beats goes on….Be sure you do not get a room above restaurants on Friday or Saturday nights.

Dining is not in focus as there are two really modest restaurants, Muikku Terrace (in the picture, see separate review) and Restaurant Piatta where breakfast is also served. Piatta has small terrace and dining room which is really dark. There is also small Cafe Opera (in the picture) with terrace on the right when you come in. Seemed to be quite empty all the time.

All public areas would need some furbishing because they are worn. Problem of course is that July is the most busiest month and in the winter time hotel must be quite empty. But this summer has been more quiet for hotels because customers are seeking more affordable accommodation due to recession. First summer can remember there were free rooms available easily although Opera Festival tickets have been selling well.

Muikku TerraceCafe Opera

Rooms are modest compared to the price level during Opera Festival. Air conditioning seemed to be replaced with fan which we did not need because of cool weather. If there should be warm and sunny, fan would not be enough.

Superior roomSuperior room

Best part was the view from the room at 5th floor. You can watch steam boats taking passengers for short sightseeing cruises and by-passers on their way to Market Square or to Savonlinna Castle. First picture was also taken from the French balcony.

Superior room with a view

There are two hotels in Savonlinna, reviewed Sokos Hotel Seurahuone and Best Western Spahotel Casino which we have usually visited. From these two hotels would choose Spahotel Casino because it is closer to nature, it has great terrace and basically most of the rooms are with balcony + free parking. And it is not too far away from Savonlinna Market Square, just walk over the bridge between island and town.

http://www.sokoshotels.fi/en/hotels/savonlinna/





Restaurant review: Muikku Terrace (Savonlinna)

21 07 2013

Sokos Hotel Seurahuone Savonlinna

Muikku Terrace in Original Sokos Hotel Seurahuone offers views over the Saimaa lake, the Savonlinna Market Square and the town. On the terrace in the 6th floor main food portions are vendaces (muikku in Finnish), which are fried in lots of butter. This used to be problem because the whole place was covered with grease. Due to that we have avoided Muikku Terrace but decided to try it now because we stayed at the hotel. Luckily there was less grease in the restaurant this time.

Muikku Terrace

The hotel itself used to be independent but was acquired a year ago by local cooperative business and was changed to Sokos hotel.

Restaurant is open only in the summer time and really popular during Opera Festival period in July. You can not make table reservation, just wait for free table as many has to do. Savonlinna Opera Festival is phenomenom and in some areas beats Verona. Recommend to visit if you are travelling in Finland.

You can choose from Muikku’s on wooden platter with lemon, salad and a baked potato or Muikku’s on wooden platter with lemon without side dishes. Ordered both of them.

Muikku platterMuikku platter

Not so impressive, best part was baked potato with sauce. Vendaces were crisp but would have required more salt. Amount of vendaces was enough to take your hunger away. Service was relaxed and quick. Anyway, Muikku Terrace is in a way must place to visit in Savonlinna. You can also try vendaces at Market Square which is really popular on summer sunny days.

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

http://www.sokoshotels.fi/en/hotels/savonlinna/restaurants/

http://www.operafestival.fi/en

Savonlinna





Hotel review: Hilton Molino Stucky Venice

28 06 2013

Venice

On the banks of Giudecca island, Hilton Molino Stucky has 379 rooms and with capacity to host up to 1000 people, the hotel boasts the largest conference facility in Venice. Minor problem concerning the location; you can not walk via bridges to “main” islands, you always have to use water taxis or shuttle boats.

Hilton Venice

Hilton Molino Stucky has several restaurants and bars. Specialities are Skyline Rooftop Bar and Skyline Pool restaurant at the 8th floor with great views to Venice. Moet Ice Imperial seemed to be popular drink in the pool restaurant; rooftop bas is open only in the evening. Breakfast is served in quite modest Il Molino restaurant but breakfast itself is luxurious and service is excellent. Rialto Lobby Bar and Lounge serves different type of snacks, drinks but you can also dine there.

Hilton VeniceHilton VeniceHilton Molino Stucky

Had pleasure to spend few nights at King Deluxe Suite with view at 5th floor.  Suite ahd separate living room, kitchenette, bed room and bathroom. And best of all great view to Canale Della Giudecca (3rd photo below text). Suite was well equipped and there was plenty of room to relax (if had had time to be in the room).

Hilton VeniceHilton VeniceHilton Venice

As you can not walk via bridges to hotel, only way but not the cheapest is to arrive with water taxis from airport or train station. Dock is around the corner of hotel main entrance. You could also choose shuttle boat which is more affordable but then you have to first find suitable launch pad of boats.

Hilton VeniceWater taxi in Venice

Hilton Molino Stucky is first of all conference hotel. Most visitors have bagdes which tell you that they are visiting Venice due to some conference or meeting. You might want to choose some other hotel if you like more “natural” athmosphere. However, worth to visit is 8th floor Skyline bar with views to two directions over the roofs of Venice. One reason for visit might also be floating art exhibits (paintings and sculptures). At the time of staying art from Monica Marioni was on the walls.

Hilton Venice

http://www.molinostuckyhilton.com/index.php





Restaurant review: Brasserie Kämp

1 05 2013

Vappu at 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. 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. A shopping centre, Galleria Esplanad, was also opened within the same city block.

Brasserie Kämp offers a wide range of European food brasserie style and Kämp Bar offers you the unique cocktails; in fact mainly champagne, wine and beer which customers usually order. Bar is also very popular on Friday and Saturday evenings. You can also enjoy Sunday brunch at Brasserie Kämp. After building heated terrace two years ago you can dine “outside” all year around like in many brasseries in Paris.

May Day (1st of May) is typical day for enjoying lunch buffets. Had May Day lunch served to the tables at Brasserie Kämp. A la carte list was short which made ordering easy; two starters, two main courses and two desserts. Foccacia and bread were grea compliments to start lunch.

Starter

Starters were QUAIL & SPRING CABBAGE & APPLE Quail terrine, poached egg of quail, poached spring cabbage, apple compote, apple purée, apple “ donut “ and ASPARAGUS & SHRIMP & KUMQUAT Sitrus- marinated white asparagus, green asparagus, kumquat, smoked shrimps, shrimp crème and cress

Both dishes were ok, but dissapointment for taste was obvious. Quil was tender and tasty, BRAVO! Shrimp starter was difficult to understand, what was the clue? Small portions but tasty….Unfortunately we did not understand all flavours of dishes, especially aspargus was not as we expected.

DSC03843

Main courses were LAVARET & NEW POTATO & PARMESAN Roasted lavaret , new potatoes, peas, radish, spring onion, zucchini, caper, parmesan veloute and DUCK & MOREL & POMEGRANATE Duck confit,, baked potato filled with morels, potato, shallot and chives, shallot crème, pomegranate and pomegranate-duck stock.

Cooking of lavaret was excellent; basic fish flavours. Duck confit was delicious, really well cooked. Could have eaten much more…..

LavaretDSC03845

Tried both desserts CHOCOLATE & DRIP BREAD Araguan- chocolate mousse, drip bread ice-cream and RHUBARB & STRAWBERRY & MEAD Marinated rhubarb, strawberries and mead sorbet.
Both desserts were great; Sauli Kemppainen and his team had really made their best. But using of milk was not so clear,,,,

StrawberryChocolate

Brasserie Kämp is perfect location to observe passers-by on Esplanadi promenade. You can also watch swanky cars parked front of Hotel Kämp or driving to the hotel garage. Latest celebrity visitor at Hotel Kämp was Justin Bieber on 25th April!

BUT; May Day is a little bit difficult occasion to compare restaurants and dishes. Because of 1st of May we decided to be modest. Unfortunately we would give only 3+ for food if this would be normal lunch. Anyway, were were able to listen nice male choir singing for us.

Choir

DSC03857DSC03874

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

Normal lunch, only 3+ for food! But we like international athmosphere…..

http://www.hotelkamp.com/brasseriekampbareng





Restaurant review: Glogatan 4

14 04 2013

Restaurant Glogatan 4 was opened in February 2013. Swedish name comes from the street name restaurant is located and from the hotel name Glo where it was opened. It is part of Kämp -Group which has hotel Kämp just beside Glogatan 4. Kitchen is open but does not appear to diners because of pillars and visual barriers. Bar is now in the middle of dining room.

Glogatan 4 kitchenGlogatan 4 barGlogatan 4

Extremely interesting discovery are the Finnish Hermanni wineyard wines on the otherwise short wine list! Mostly used grapes in the wines are white currant in sparkling and white wines and black currant in red wines. Actually it is quite difficult to compare Finnish wines to “normal” wines because of the berries used. Yes, berries not grapes. Anyway had to try for aperitif Hermanni, Haigu Extra Sec sparkling wine.

DSC03717´´

BUT…. Hermanni sparkling wine was finished! So we had to order something else.

Anyway, started the dinner with Spring potatoes Dill / Juniper berry / Roe and Spring carrots with tarragon Carrot / Tarragon / Fennel. To be honest, one of the best starters ever. Spring is late but these dishes carried it closer.

Dessert

Restaurant bread was also really delicious, served with two different butters. One, apple spiced butter, was in the tube, it is not toothpaste 🙂

DSC03729???????????????????????????????

For main courses ordered Smoked fish Pickled cucumber / Radish / Spring onion / Carrot and Steak 200 g with specialities. Serving the fish (whitefish) was nice experience. It was smoked in metal box which was brought to the table. You seldom get smoked fish and how it was served was amazing.

Entrecote with cole slaw salad and carrot pure was a little but chewy because there was almost no fat which is typical for entrecote steaks. Side dishes were mouth-watering. See also knife on the plank; it is typical Finnish knife from the past.

Smoked whitefish

Smoked whitefishSteak

For desserts, because there was still plenty of room for food due to quite small portions (except steak), tried Rhubarb and liquorice Rhubarb / Liquorice pudding / Ymer sorbet and Chocolate. First dessert was tailored because we asked not to use milk products and still it was a success. Chocolate reminded from childhood; ice cream stick was delicious and it was dipped on white cholocate crumb.

DessertChocolate

Food is excellent and service even better. Dining room was too dark at the end of space because it was difficult to see menu’s. Lightning is better by Glogatan (Kluuvikatu), ask therefore for window table. Hotel guests dine at the restaurant, all neighbor tables were reserved by Russian guests which made athmosphere international.

REVIEW: FOOD 4+/5 – SERVICE 4,5/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4+/5 Note! Restaurant has changed name and style in Spring 2014

We found quite interesting black and white pictures all over the place…especially on the way to rest rooms.

http://www.glogatan4.fi/en/





Restaurant review: Le Havre

22 03 2013

Le Havre dining room

Hotel Seurahuone Helsinki, located by the Market Square and housed in a building designed by Carl Ludvig Engel, held its grand opening on 8 December, 1833. The hotel relocated to its current premises in Kaleva Palace opposite of Railway Station in 1913. At that time hotel restaurant was famous, but during the past years it has been “trying to find itself”. Therefore for several years I have not paid any attention to hotel Seurahuone restaurants or bar Socis, but opening of new brasserie restaurant was of course reason to visit and write a review.

Bar SocisHotel Seurahuone

With the name Le Havre, restaurant pays tribute to the site where it originally situated, the harbour, and to the most genuine core of European food culture, the French brasserie cuisine.  Therefore brasserie is used in restaurant name. Le Havre was opened 1st of March 2013. Menu has been created by chef Henrik Poulsen who has been behind of several similar restaurant openings. On Sundays restaurant serves brunch which has become quite popular way to attract customers on otherwise so quiet day.

Entrance to the restaurant is via hotel doors. When you come in you can leave your coat in old cabinets looking like they used to be in swimming halls or at schools decades ago.

Cabinets at Le HavreLe Havre

For starters ordered LES FRUITS DE MER  Queues de gambas grillées, huile de sésame, vanille, persil  Grilled king prawn tails, sesame oil, vanil with parsley and Coquilles Saint Jacques sautées, haricots blancs, amandes émondées et mousse de crabe Fried scallops, white beans, almond and crab foam.

King prawns were excellent, reminded from Mediterranean beach restaurants serving char coal grilled shellfishes. But only four tails :(, could have eaten at least six for starter. Scallops were well cooked and crab foam delicious. Cooking broth had made foam a little bit soggy, but it dit not bother too much. Good start for dinner!

King prawnsScallops

For main courses LES PLATS had Poisson du jour Fish of the Day and Cuisse de canard confite, purée de pommes de terre aux truffes, choux de Bruxelles braisés et sauce au cidre Duck leg confit, truffle-potato pyre, braised Brussels sprouts with dark cider sauce.

Fish of the day was arctic char and potates with morel sauce.  Fish was well prepared because it had not been over cooked. Morels did not include sand or stones which is unfortunately too typical, so well done again! Duck leg was soft and crisp at the same time, really delicious, can recommend. We ordered as side dish Epinards à la crème Spinach simmered in cream because we were first told that certain portions would need that. It came late so we got it on the house. Also it included too much leek which was not mentioned. In overall main courses were success as a whole.

Arctic charDuck leg confit

For Les Desserts had Tarte Tatin, glace vanille Tarte tatin with vanilla ice-cream and Assortiment de sorbets, salade de figues Assortiment of sorbets with fig salad.

Tarte tatin with ice-cream was scrumptious, caused water to flow from mouth. Sorbets were orange, coconut and blackcurrant. They were prepared at restaurant and really well-made. Especially coconut sorbet was pleasant surprise.

Tarte tatinSorbet

Weakest part of dining is wine list. All wines come from France, so you really must be friend of French wines. Only one riesling and unfortunately semi-dry. You can also order from two ciders, apple and pear, which are unsual on wine list but so French as restaurant aims to be.

Service was quick and polite. Some initial confusion about the menu but otherwise professional. Background music…of course French classics. Le Havre complements well the culinary offerings of Helsinki restaurants with succesful French style.

Even the restrooms had been decorated with style…..see the stern eyes in the pictures.

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

Le HavreLe Havre

http://www.hotelliseurahuone.fi/ravintolat/fi_FI/lehavre_inenglish/

https://www.facebook.com/BrasserieLeHavre

 





Restaurant review: Casa Largo

16 02 2013

Restaurant Casa Largo on the ground floor of Sokos department store is a modern “Spanish” restaurant with a bar, tapas bar and restaurant as well as wine bar. Main dining room is on 1st floor opposite of Railway Station and tapas bar is on 2nd floor. You can see hotel Vaakuna reception from so called 2nd floor wine bar which is behind tapas bar. Functionalist style, which was popular during Helsinki Olympic games 1952 including Glass Palace (Lasipalatsi) being opposite the hotel Vaakuna, has been maintained. Picture below is from the hotel lobby taken from the Casa Largo wine bar.

Hotel Vaakuna lobby

All HOK-Elanto restaurants have Champagne offer for the whole year 2013. You can get bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte Brut for 39€, which costs the same as wines at the restaurant. Had to taste it instead of Cava although we were in the “Spanish” restaurant. BUT, it was served too warm which made the tasting useless. Pity for champagne,,,,Hopefully champagne is not wasted in other HOK-Elanto restaurants.

Champagne

Started dinner with Tapas frias & calientes: TOSTADAS manchego, piquillo peppers and aioli on toast and several times POLLO AL AJILLO garlic seasoned chicken, Really delicious and well prepared dishes. Also had Tapas frias: QUESO MANCHEGO Manchego cheese and rosemary honey and CHORIZO Chorizo sausage. To be honest tapas were best part of dinner. Recommend to order 4 tapas dishes for main course and you are there. Chicken has been always delicious and seldom Manchego lets you down. TORTILLA ESPAÑOLA potato omelette was OK but original ones in Spain beat this one.

PolloManchego

For main courses had 2 times DORADA A LA PARRILLA whole gilthead bream, grilled and stuffed with garlic butter and herbs, served with escalivada vegetables and herbs. Because Solomillo is usually good test for quality of kitchen compared to original Spanish kitchen, also ordered SOLOMILLO A LA PIMIENTA grilled fillet of beef (200g) with creamy peppersauce. Guilthead was basically ok but it was over cooked. Meat was best part of main course, really tender and soft, to be honest better than same dishes in Spain. Also ordered POLLO ASADO CON CREMA ESPINACAS corn fed chicken breast with creamy spinach and sherry sauce. Unfortunately chicken was too dry.

Gilt head???????????????????????????????SolomilloChicken

You have to order side dish from separate list (no additional cost); alternatives were TORTILLA ESPAÑOLA potato omelette, ARROZ rice with saffron, PATATAS BRAVAS fried potatoes with salsa brava and aioli and ENSALADA salad. You could order Patatas Bravas as one of the tapas starters but it suited well with Solomillo, this was bull’s eye pairing!

For desserts ordered famous Spanish “Churros”. Unfortunately you should stick to original churros because this version was not enough baked. Churros are perfect if prepared well and sorbet is always eatable, if prepared at the restaurant. Do not know if it was, because of the chewyness.

Sorbet

Unfortunately service had not improved. We had to ask several times for service but requestd were forgotten. Also paying was problem, had to go to cashier as mobile system did not work.
Casa Largo is really popular restaurant because of location. Remember to book table beforehand but be careful your wishes are conveyd to restaurant, ours were not.

REVIEW: FOOD 3+/5 – SERVICE 2/5 – OVERALL GRADE 3/5

http://www.casalargo.fi/





Hotel review: Lopesan Costa Meloneras Resort Spa and Casino (Spain)

9 02 2013

Lopesan Costa MelonerasLopesan Costa Meloneras

Check out “Michael Jackson” and lobby videos below!

Lopesan Costa Meloneras Resort Spa & Casino, a 4 star category hotel, is located on the sea front and just a few metres from the Nature Reserve of Dunas de Maspalomas, in the south of Gran Canaria island. Hotel is the biggest in Canary Island with over 1000 rooms.

Have stayed at this hotel already 4 times, maybe getting too comfort-loving or just like this hotel. But never before during Christmas and New Year, which had pros and cons. New Years Eve party was amazing compared to ones in Finland for several reasons; warm weather outside instead of freezing, adult-like celebrating instead of too heavy drinking and trouble making and well prepared program. Great light show on the hotel walls and firefors. On the other hand expensive time including dinners.

Standard rooms are quite simple a little bit worn but spacious, best part is bathroom with separate bath tube and shower and balcony, of course. If you want to have pool and garden view, you have to pay some extra but it is worth of it.

Standard room

Lopesan Costa Meloneras Resort, Spa & Casino invites its visitors to enjoy an atmosphere of peaceful activity in which you can practice all types of sports and look after body and mind in the fantastic Spa Corallium, a real gift for the senses in an impressive centre inspired by the volcanic nature of the island. Have visited spa and it is one of the best equipped have seen with different saunas, pools and relaxing rooms. Several saunas including African sauna (like Finnish), steam sauna, Turkish Hammamet and salt pool and different water treatments and relaxing rooms….Unfortunately no pictures because did not want to carry camera with me.

Most photographed area at the hotel is Lago Pool which seems to end to Atlantic Ocean. If hotel is introduced in some travel magazine you will see same view almost every time. And pool really is marvelous but unfortunately in the winter time too cold, at least for us. Four different pools makes the difference and the garden and the mini golf and tennis court and….

Lago Pool and sea

Quiet pool is situated at the far end of hotel, quite nice spitting dogs guarding the peace.

If you want to swim around the garden you can use pool whic is in the middle of the pool area. You can walk via two small bridges over this pool.

Hotel has 3 big buffet dining rooms, a la carte restaurant Ambassador, 4  pool bars, lobby bar, cafe……Hotel “outsourced” summer 2012 two of its restaurants to restaurateurs which was good move. Earlier quite empty but now really busy restaurants partly because entry has been opened to beach boulevard. Had Christmas Eve dinner at Ambassador and New Years Eve dinner at buffet restaurant. Both were really great experiences. Also dined at El Churrasco, one of the two “external” restaurants. Reviews can be found at reijosfood.com

AmbassadorEl Churrasco

New Years Eve buffet, just some pictures….buffet restaurants really did their best. Of course breakfast is versatile but you soon realize that you take the same eats every morning

Hotel lobby is large and service is excellent…Only place you can use WiFi for free. So this is the weakest link of the hotel which is otherwise almost perfect.

Lobby

And top of all great performances every evening at the stage. Was amazed to see that “Michael Jackson” was alive and kicking.

Michael Jackson copy

This Lopesan hotel is perfect for us because it is enough big, all services available and lot’s of good restaurants nearby. Also the area around is modern and quite new. No bibulous tourists who used to take part in the pig feasts in the past. Also Maspalomas dunes are just around the corner.

Maspalomas dunes

https://reijosfood.com/2012/12/26/restaurant-review-ambassador-spain/

https://reijosfood.com/2013/01/05/restaurant-review-el-churrasco-spain/





Hotel review: swissotel Tallinn (Estonia)

6 02 2013

First hotel review at reijosfood.com. First widened restaurant reviews to wine reviews and now it is time to share hotel experiences. Maybe someday helps you to select suitable hotel.

Five-star Swissotel Tallinn is the highest building in the city, boasting impressive views of the old town and the Baltic Sea. 238 rooms and the facilities of this hotel should leave nothing to be desired; and it did not. Only problem in the room was that could not get any water to bath tube. 22nd floor also opened quite nice view to Tallinn, however whould have prefered other direction. You can see in the picture Radisson Blu hotel Tallinn which we used to visit.  Level of rooms and service lowered after SAS sold it’s hotel business.

SwissotelSwissotel bathroom

On the 11th floor there is heated indoor pool with Finnish sauna and a state-of-the-art fitness club. Purovel Spa and Sport is the perfect retreat after a long day out, offering a wide selection of treatments, from hydrotherapy to hot stone massages.

Unisex sauna was least attractive because it was quite simple; steam sauna’s suit better to spa’s. Maybe it has been there ealier as it was mentioned on hotel website.

Purovel Spa

Tallinn’s “highest” culinary landmark is at the top of Swissôtel Tallinn, with views far out over the Baltic Sea and the medieval old town. Restoran Horisont and bar offer fine dining and drinks at 30th floor and restaurant is ranked in 13th place on list of Tallinn best restaurants.

Plan was to eat at the restaurant but it was reserved for wedding party. However, tasty drinks prepared for dinner at Bocca.
And view from the 3oth floor is amazing, recommend to visit bar although you would not spend night at the hotel.

Horisont barDrinks

Cafe Swiss is at the 8th floor serving breakfast buffet (can recommend, lacked only sweet pastries), lunch and dinner. Service at breakfast was polite and thoughtful.

Cafe Swiss

Lobby includes reception, bar and coffee shop. Same waiters operated both places, service again thoughtful. At coffee shop had muffins and coffee/tea. Unfortunately muffins were old because they were dry.

LobbySwissotel lobby bar

Swissotel Tallinn is excellent place to spend long weekend. For 5 star hotel it is also quite affordable. Stockmann is 150 meters from the hotel and walk to old town takes about 15 minutes.

http://www.swissotel.com/hotels/tallinn/





15 BEST restaurants 2012 in Tallinn (Estonia)

19 01 2013
It takes only 2 hours to cruise to Tallinn, which makes it easy to visit there regularly. Nowadays there are lots of good restaurants in Tallinn, worth to visit for that reason.
Ranking below is made by Eesti Maitsed based on the votes of the key employees of various Estonian restaurants. Each voter compiles a personal list of 7 restaurants that he or she thinks are the best in Estonia. The voters must have visited these places and the list cannot include the voters’ employers or restaurants related to their personal property. List includes all restaurants in Estonia but I have picked up Tallinn restaurants.

Winner, restoran Tchaikovsky, definitely earns 1st place. It is part at hotel Telegraaf. We were impressed by it’s style, food and service. Restoran Ö has won 1st place 2009 and 2010 in Tallinn but still was really sophisticated year and a half ago but has lost several places. Both restaurants as well as Chedi, Bocca and La Bottega are owned by Sparkling Group http://www.sparkling.ee/eng/?page=about
—-
Tsaikovsky

2. Chedi
3. Leib
4. Moon
5. Neh
6. Bordoo
7. Ribe
8. Bocca (https://reijosfood.com/2013/02/02/restaurant-review-bocca-estonia/)

imageBocca
9. La Bottega
10. Dominic
11. Ö (below, visited 30.7.2011 but did not make review)

ÖÖ
12. MEKK (https://reijosfood.com/2013/02/03/restaurant-review-mekk-estonia/)

MEKKrestoran MEKK

13. Horisont

Horisont
14. Cru
15. F-Hoon

Whole list can be found via link http://www.eestimaitsed.com/eng/restaurants#2012








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