Copas y Tapas – Finnish food & Spanish wines

18 11 2016

Restaurant Copas y Tapas is one of the best Finnish food restaurants in Helsinki. The name might be a bit misleading, but allmost all ingredients and dishes are Finnish. What is unique Spanish, are the wines, which are usually from small Spanish producers.

As have visited at Copas y Tapas several times, this post is not typical review. The idea is to clarify that restaurant serves Finnish food dispite the name. What is also remarkable that most of the ingredients come from local or small producers, which usually are listed when dishes are served to the tables.

Menu of the Day costs 49€. You can choose from four different main course; fish, vegetarian and usually from two meat options. Usually one meat dish is a little bit more expensive due to ingredient. Restaurant also prepares vegan versions. Recommend to ask for that when making reservation and you can enjoy delicious set of dishes.

Starters always include three bites, usually delicious soup and two other small dishes.

This time pictures tell more than writing. If you would like to know more about dishes, please ask.

 

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Usually let waiters to choose wines which pair with dishes.

This time had for aperitif Raventos i Blanc, nice and bubbly cava http://www.raventos.com/

For main courses recommendations were Laderas de Leonila with beetroots and Altos Iberico with ragu. Both wines matched perfectly with food.

Digestive or dessert drink was Gramona Gra a Gra from pinot noir grapes. Already favourite from last visits.

If you are interested in wines at Copas y Tapas you can always hear short lecture of wine origins, procuder and wine itself. Restaurant start to import themselves wines next spring, which sounds fascinating.



 

As Copas y Tapas is family run business, you can see it in the service. Extremely polite but natural.

This time shall only give overall points which is 5 without no hesitation.

http://www.en.copasytapas.fi/

 





Restaurant review: Hard Rock Cafe Helsinki

5 11 2016

Hard Rock Cafe Helsinki was established in October 15, 2012. It’s location is excellent, opposite to Stockmann Department store by Aleksi street. Dining room and bar are at the 2nd floor and shop at the 1st floor.

All restaurants must develop their operations in order to attract new customers and keep existing. Visited HRC in October 2016, when they had special vegetarian menu. Hard Rock Cafe Helsinki was celebrating Vegetarian Awareness Month by expanding its legendary menu offerings and introducing brand new limited-time meatless options.

For starters there were no vegan options available, so ordered only main courses.

Vegan main course was KEFTA BURGER A house made burger of potato, shiitakes, portabellas, balsamic glaze, barley, thyme and seasonings served on a burger bun with a sriracha hummus, arugula and tomato.

It is now easier to find vegetarian/vegan options in restaurants in the Helsinki area.  It was a nice option having a vegan burger made from other ingredients than lentils or chick peas.  The burger was juicy, and hummus was a good addition to the dressing.

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For meat dish ordered ORIGINAL LEGENDARY® BURGER Topped with smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, golden fried onion ring, crisp lettuce and vine-ripened tomato.
Every half-pound burger (225g) is made with HRC proprietary blend of premium grade beef. Grilled medium well and served on toasted brioche with seasoned fries.
Must say that quality and taste of burger had improved a lot compared to last visit. Burger itself was enough “moist”, couple of times it had been quite dry making it almost difficult to eat. Also fries were well prepared, big enough not to be over cooked.

 

For wine had young 35 South Organic Cabernet-Carmenère-Merlot 2015. Wine was full-bodied, medium tannic, with blackcurrant and blueberry notes. For vegeterian month organic wine suited well.
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Below is a picture of Vegetarian Menu.   It could easily become part of the regular menu as they did a great job at putting the menu together.


Hard Rock Cafe chain is quite successful because of concept and food (if you do not dislike that kind of dishes). Service is quick and polite and always chance to practice english.

Once there was even Planet Hollywood in Helsinki, but global restaurant concept did not survive.

O’Learys has established restaurant in the capital area. Tries to serve similar food with sports concept. But unfortunately food is not at the level what HRC can offer

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

Some examples of decoration….

 

http://www.hardrock.com/locations/cafes3/menu.aspx?LocationID=627&MIBEnumID=3





Restaurant review: Blue Peter

25 10 2016

Blue Peter is situated on Lauttasaari island by Gulf of Finland 4 km from Helsinki city centre. In the summer time it is really popular due to large terraces and HSK sailing club members. Restaurant is open all year around hosting private events also in the winter time.

Had dinner in October on Friday. Because of Autumn vacations, restaurant was quite empty. On top of that windy weather might have reason for lack of customers.

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Menu changes nowadays enough often, which is good reason to visit nearby restaurant.

For starter ordered Spicy lobster soup by house and roasted brioche . Dish was delicious and tasted lobster, but meat pieces on the bottom of plate were pieces of crab. However, bull’s eye for soup!

Do not order sausages so often but decided to try House sausages with sauerkraut poultice and Jaloviina mustard. Basically dish would have been excellent, but as sausages were not enough warm = hot, had to decrease points. Additional side dish, sweet potato pyre, was tasty as well as sauerkraut.

Blue Peter is especially summer restaurant, but it does not mean, that in can be cozy also in the winter time.

Starterd earned 4 for Food, but main course dropped points.

But it is great that there is stylish dining place outside of Helsinki centre, because it is not easy to survive all year round. Especially in the summer one of the restaurants you should visit.

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

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PS. click the link and check the video!





Wine review: Ned & Henry’s Shiraz 2015

25 09 2016

Established in 1998 Hewitson winery is situated in the heart of the Barossa Valley. Hewitson’s vineyards are spread throughout the renowned wine regions of South Australia, including the Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills.

As fan of Hewitson red wines tasted this time Ned & Henry’s Shiraz 2015. Wine comes from Barossa Valley. Grape used is Shiraz 100%.

Like the names many Hewitson wines have. Miss Harry is the favourite also when it comes to taste.

THE LOOK

Color is quite deep red like a crimson

THE NOSE

Forest berries and slight oak bouquet

THE TASTE

Berries warm texture and soft tannins. Fresh acidity on the finish

Ned and Henry’s is meant to be enjoyed young. Had couple of weeks earlier at restaurant Roster same wine but vintage was 2013. Must say that difference between 2015 and 2013 is not huge, but would have given 4 1/2 for 2013.

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As wine is not the strongest it can be enjoyed well as aperitif, if you like red wine before dinner.

Facts:

Alcohol: 14,0% by volume
Extract: 28 g/l
Acidity: 5,4 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml (370 kJ/100 ml)
Closure: metal

 

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

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Restaurant review: Gaijin – re-visit

19 09 2016


“Gaijin” is Japanese word meaning “non Japanese” or “alien”. Restaurant has been extremely popular from the date it was established, which means you must prepare to reserve table enough early. Easiest you get the table at 17.00 ro after 20.00. Before eight, you have 2,5 hours time to dine which is common nowadays in trendy and busy restaurants. There is also possibility to eat in the small bar, but tables are not actually meant for eating due to height.

Decided on third visit again to trust on chef’s skills and ordered tasting menu, MENU GAIJIN and VEGE, which you can also get as vegan version. But before eating tasted aperitives like Gaijin Martini which was really refreshing and tasty drink. Not os strong as martini’s usuallu are, but that was not a problem at all.

Gaijin menu included following dishes:

MUSSEL & YUZU HONEY

green shell mussel, yuzu-honey dressing, seaweed caviar


PORK BUN

pork belly, kimchi mayonnaise, pickled cucumber, soft bread


SASHIMI TASTING

selection of sashimi, roe, wasabi-yuzu dressing, wakami, wasabi mayonnese


SASHIMI PRAWN, FOIE & ROASTED ALMOND “NIGIRI”

Tigerprawn “nigiri”, foie gras, truffle, teriayki rice, almond snow


ROASTED “SAIKYO MISO” SALMON & CAULIFLOWER

‘saikyo’-miso marinated salmon, cauliflower, truffle, dashi emulsion, bonito


BABY BACK PORK RIBS

pork ribs, soy mirin caramel, togarashi


SEARED SCALLOP & X.O

seared scallops, rare chinese X.O. dressing dressing, X.O. mayonese, crispy garlic, seaweed caviar


GAIJIN TONKATSU PARTY

grispy fried pork, salad leafs, Japanese pickles, Gaijin’s kimchi, sesame dressing, chilli paste, brown butter mayonnese


 PUMPKIN & LICORICE

pumpkin & almond cake, licorice ice-cream, pistachio and vanilla creme anglaise, licorice cream, licorice marengue

You could order matching wines, but decided to have red wine, Antonutti, from Merlot grapes. Colorful label on the bottle. Wine itself is quite basic but paired well with all dishes enjoyed.

Most of the wines are quite expensive except few “table wines” like Antonutti. On the other hand asian fusion food does not require vintage wines as the taste of wine disappears under the spices and herbs.

Instead of describing and reviewing all dishes, I summarize dining experience.

All dishes were delicious and savory. The whole menu, when it comes to taste, was better than last time I ate it. More spices were used and if you look at the partly rare ingredients, combining them to different dishes, was briallianty done.

Could have given even litter better grade for FOOD, but using only pork for 3 different meat dishes menu included, lowered the grade. Last time also chicken and lamb was used.

VEGE version was also excellent. Maybe later will post a review about it.

Restaurant Gaijin is cozy and relaxing place to eat as all 4 restaurants which are owned by same chef’s.

Service is great as you could expect although the spaces between tables are narrow. Ingredients of all dishes are opened up every time although remembering all of them must not be easy.

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

http://gaijin.fi/?lang=en





Restaurant review: Gaijin – re-visit

18 09 2016


“Gaijin” is Japanese word meaning “non Japanese” or “alien”. Restaurant has been extremely popular from the date it was established, which means you must prepare to reserve table enough early. Easiest you get the table at 17.00 ro after 20.00. Before eight, you have 2,5 hours time to dine which is common nowadays in trendy and busy restaurants. There is also possibility to eat in the small bar, but tables are not actually meant for eating due to height.

Decided on third visit again to trust on chef’s skills and ordered tasting menu, MENU GAIJIN and VEGE, which you can also get as vegan version. But before eating tasted aperitives like Gaijin Martini which was really refreshing and tasty drink. Not os strong as martini’s usuallu are, but that was not a problem at all.

Gaijin menu included following dishes:

MUSSEL & YUZU HONEY

green shell mussel, yuzu-honey dressing, seaweed caviar


PORK BUN

pork belly, kimchi mayonnaise, pickled cucumber, soft bread


SASHIMI TASTING

selection of sashimi, roe, wasabi-yuzu dressing, wakami, wasabi mayonnese


SASHIMI PRAWN, FOIE & ROASTED ALMOND “NIGIRI”

Tigerprawn “nigiri”, foie gras, truffle, teriayki rice, almond snow


ROASTED “SAIKYO MISO” SALMON & CAULIFLOWER

‘saikyo’-miso marinated salmon, cauliflower, truffle, dashi emulsion, bonito


BABY BACK PORK RIBS

pork ribs, soy mirin caramel, togarashi


SEARED SCALLOP & X.O

seared scallops, rare chinese X.O. dressing dressing, X.O. mayonese, crispy garlic, seaweed caviar


GAIJIN TONKATSU PARTY

grispy fried pork, salad leafs, Japanese pickles, Gaijin’s kimchi, sesame dressing, chilli paste, brown butter mayonnese


 PUMPKIN & LICORICE

pumpkin & almond cake, licorice ice-cream, pistachio and vanilla creme anglaise, licorice cream, licorice marengue

You could order matching wines, but decided to have red wine, Antonutti, from Merlot grapes. Colorful label on the bottle. Wine itself is quite basic but paired well with all dishes enjoyed.

Most of the wines are quite expensive except few “table wines” like Antonutti. On the other hand asian fusion food does not require vintage wines as the taste of wine disappears under the spices and herbs.

Instead of describing and reviewing all dishes, I summarize dining experience.

All dishes were delicious and savory. The whole menu, when it comes to taste, was better than last time I ate it. More spices were used and if you look at the partly rare ingredients, combining them to different dishes, was briallianty done.

Could have given even litter better grade for FOOD, but using only pork for 3 different meat dishes menu included, lowered the grade. Last time also chicken and lamb was used.

VEGE version was also excellent. Maybe later will post a review about it.

Restaurant Gaijin is cozy and relaxing place to eat as all 4 restaurants which are owned by same chef’s.

Service is great as you could expect although the spaces between tables are narrow. Ingredients of all dishes are opened up every time although remembering all of them must not be easy.

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

http://gaijin.fi/?lang=en





Restaurant review: Holiday

21 08 2016

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Restaurant Holiday is lively neighbourhood restaurant, bar and summer terrace, located on Katajanokka island. Building is old and siuates just below Cathedral of Uspensk. Spot was established by same group as The Cock and it operates under Royal Ravintolat new concept. This means that founders are responsible for running the business. Holiday’s kitchen serves seasonal menu with seafood, fresh fish from the nearby market and modern veggie dishes. Notice that meat dishes are not available.

Menu and wine list are quite short which makes ordering easy. It is worth to check also cocktail menu as they are also innovative.

From Raw Bar ordered White fish | avocado | cucumber | soya | sesame | ginger | furikake | cilantro.

White fish was under the vegetables, new asian fusion way to prepare spiced lavaret. However, taste of fish disappeared under excotic ingredients but it it always good to see innovative cooking. Close to ceviche type of starter, which seems to be popular in trendy restaurants.

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As other starter ordered from Garden Greens Fried sweet potato | mayo-zu | tomato

Crispy, and perfectly seasoned fries. The tomato sauce was not your regular sauce; it was cooked with garlic, and other spices that gave it a rich flavor.  The mayo was left out for a vegan option.

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For one main course had from Fisherman’s catch Soft shell crabs | Tokyo gold | mayo-zu | sushi rice | furikake.

Whole crabs were well prepared, crispy and tasty. You must like furikake (Japanese seasoning) in order to enjoy the whole dish as it is part of it. And look at the flower!

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Vegan main course ordered was Poke Bowl | tofu | sushi rice | avocado | seaweed | kohlrabi | daikon 

A full of flavor bowl.  The tofu is perfectly fired, and other additions like ginger, not added to the list of ingredients, give this dish even more flavor.

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For wine had Spanish El Gallito from Merlot grapes. Merlot is not so typical grape in Spain and wines are usually quite light as this one too.

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You can watch chef’s working in open kitchen. Small space requires seamless teamwork.

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Vegan food has quite remarkable role in restaurant Holiday and it tasted good. Dishes are imaginative and also well prepared.

When weather is good terrace is one of the most popular in Helsinki. When sun shines it is difficult to find free seat or table. Also dining room is very popular and one interesting detail was that 80% of the customers inside were women. Maybe the lack of meat on the menu is the reason?

When dining inside prepare for noise because DJ is playing music quite loud which makes diners raise more they voices when speaking over the table.

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

http://holiday-bar.fi/

 

 








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