Restaurant review: Yume – second visit 2014

7 11 2014
Drink at Yume - reijosfood.com

Bramble

Restaurant Yume is part of Kämp Group, which also operates luxury hotel Kämp. Yume serves Asian flavours 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.

Our first visit was in February when we enjoyed tasting menu. This time decided to try dishes on the a la carte list. Unfortunately whitefish was not there anymore; it was the best dish last time from the menu.

Restaurant Yume - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Yume

 

Before ordering food had to relax with aperitives. Chose Bramble Gin, bramble (blackberry) and lemon and Yume Roayl. With the amount of ice, Bramble drink almost dissappeared, but it was excellent apritif to start with. Royal included some herb, can not remember anymore which one. You could not notice bouquet of herb but the taste yes.

Drinks at Yume - reijosfood.com

For starters we ordered Thai pork ribs Pork ribs, herb salad and thai-chili sauce and Whitefish Kinilaw Whitefish, lime and chili.

Portion of ribs was huge and propably idea was to share it. But after tasting, I think no-one wants to share it. One of the best pork ribs dishes ever eaten. Last time one tiny setback was that food was not so spicy as we would like it to be, especially Asian. Now everything was in harmony including herbs, chili and sweetnes; perfect combination. And no grease at all around bones.

Whitefish was marinated with lime and it was partially raw matured. You must like lots of citrus taste and of course chili, if you order this. Lavaret or whitefish is one of the best Finnish fishes to prepare like this.

Pork ribs at Yume - reijosfood.comWhite fish at Yume - reijosfood.com

For main courses we had Cod and Crispy Noodles Fried cod, noodles and spicy ginger sauce and Salmon Teriyaki Roasted salmon and sweet teriayki sauce.

Cod is excellent fish, a little bit under valued. If there had been less deep frying, this portion would have been really delicious. Dish was fine tuned due to our request and sauce was luscious.

Unfortunately salmon was a little bit over roasted but side dishes, thai salad and sauce, matched brilliantly with the fish.

Cod at Yume - reijosfood.comSalmon at Yume - reijosfood.com

For wine we chose Weingut Weegmüller, Riesling Trocken 2012, Pfalz, Germany. Nice basic riesling, not so typical size, 1 liter.

As starters and main courses were quite heavy, we settled for espresso and tea. Tea pot was matching with Yume style.

Tea pot at Yume - reijosfood.com

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

Cutlery at Yume - reijosfood.comYume - reijosfood.comYume dining room - reijosfood.com

Yume is one of the best “gourmet” Asian cuisine restaurants in Helsinki. As it is in the center of the city, next door to Hotel Kämp, it’s location is also perfect. Would have liked to give 4 1/2 for food, but main courses are most important part of dinner. Clear improvement was more use of spices, herbs and chili.

Modern rhythm music is not too loud and most of the tables are not thick on the ground, which makes discussion possible. Service was again professional as expected.

Next time, which will definately come, we shall try Hot Stone dishes. Scent in the restaurant is attractive due to several sizzling stones on the tables. It is not disruptive at all, which may be the case in some restaurants with the same idea.

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

http://ravintolayume.fi/en/





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/





Restaurant review: Messina (Marbella, Spain)

16 08 2013

Restaurante Messina - reijosfood.com

When restaurant does not achieve the level they are reaching for…. 😦

Visited Restaurante Messina 2nd time because first experience was quite impressive (see review from last year via link below). Decided to try Menu Messina because 1st time ordered starters, main courses and dessert from a la carte list.

A mistake we should not have made, especially after asking if kitchen could serve one menu without milk products. But waitress took our order anyeay after checking it first from the kitchen if it would be possible.

But, huge mistake from the restaurant concerned 2nd dessert, although our order was accepted. But let’s come back at the end of post and go first through smaller gaps which restaurant trying to reach fine dining level, should really not afford.

Snacks

Layout and looks of snacks were impressive as last time. However, this time restaurant did not serve any greetings from the kitchen which usually starts the dinner. Waitress also explained too quickly how to go through small bites, so we had to partly guess, if we should eat 4th shrimps or marinated fish. So, we asked to get menu list back because it was not left on the table.

When ordering last time starter and main course from a la carte list, we got same type of snacks assortment to start with but it was not one of the a la carte portions. It was before starters.

Restaurante Messina - reijosfood.comRestaurante Messina - reijosfood.comRestaurante Messina - reijosfood.com

“Sea snail”

This exotic portion had to be eaten with fingers. Sea snail was not our favourite but maybe because it was quite chewy.

But, we wondered if we should go to wash our hands because restaurant did not provide towels to wipe our hands. If you have studied menu and wine list you might want to eat with clean fingers.

Restaurante Messina - reijosfood.com

Squid sandwich

Again eating with fingers. Open up the packet and you find the sandwich. Would recommend the restaurant to provide those towels. Sandwich itself was delicious.

Restaurante Messina - reijosfood.com

Sea urchim mi cuit and celery water

One of the best portions of the menu. Celery water did not include any additives and it was poured by waitress on top of the sea urchim.

Restaurante Messina - reijosfood.com

Tuna “parpatana” with crispy bread and fresh tomato juice

Again delicious portion. Tomato juice was again poured by waitress on top of tuna and it fresh tomatoes tasted good.

Restaurante Messina - reijosfood.com

Raw “grilled” crayfish and coconut

Crayfish was grilled from one side maybe 5 seconds but as it was fresh, it also tasted excellent. After eating crayfish waitress poured some fish broth in the coconut bowl. After mixing it with spoon, it changed into delicious fish soup. Well designed two-step portion by the chef, who is quite known in the area.

Restaurante Messina - reijosfood.com

Barbacued red mullet

Portion was OK, but fish was a little bit over cooked and therefore dry.

Restaurante Messina - reijosfood.com

Grilled sweetbread with yuzu cream

Rare delicacy but composition of sweetbread did not impress. Maybe it was our personal feeling and someone might like it.

Restaurante Messina - reijosfood.com

Malaga’s baby goat with pumpkin and mini pickled vegetables

Maybe baby goat should be greasy but this time it did not fit after soft sweetbread. Too close to each other.

Restaurante Messina - reijosfood.com

But, after finishing so called main courses, one waitress poured 20 cm long, green olive oil trail on the tablecloth while taking oil bowls away. Instead of changing tablecloth she covered the trail with napkin. Easier for the waitress but undesirable for customers.

But, before serving desserts, one waitress put dessert cutleries on the table. Then head waitress removed them, cleaned the table with scraper and put them back. Something had forgotten from the first waitress.

“Spanish French toast” Thai style

Really delicious dessert and other portion was replaced sorbet without milk as was planned.

Restaurante Messina - reijosfood.comRestaurante Messina - reijosfood.com

Yoghurth Chantilly and strawberries

But, then came the disaster! Restaurant had decided not to serve anything to replace the second dessert which included milk products. Waitress did not bother to tell that, just first served the dessert for person without milk product menu and then asked us to share it. She also explained that it does not include milk! We gave dessert back after commenting mistake but restarant served it again, now to me. Asked now what had happened to dessert without milk products. This was the moment restaurant had to tell that nothing was coming. Head waitress asked if she should discuss with the kitchen.

Too late, I said, and asked for check.

But, restaurant first tried to invoice whole value of the menu, but we requested 8€ discount from 78€ menu, which we got after discussion. Picture below is from the dessert we did not eat because milkless second dessert was not served at all.

Restaurante Messina - reijosfood.com

But, what was also annoying was the habit to serve champagne Dom Perignon Vintage 2003, we had ordered, every 5 minutes. Our dinner was interrupted continually by waitresses pouring noble drink about 2 cl’s at a time. Two times they almost served male first and 1 time they did so. Small thing but should be obvious for this restaurant to serve ladies first.

Messina tries to be fine dining restaurant. Modern decor, menu and appearance of food portions shows this to be true. But too much trying on the service side without properly trained dining room staff, does not carry.

If you decide to try Messina, order separate portions from a la carte list and do not ask changes for portions. Maybe also best time to visit restaurant is outside of main summer holiday season.

REVIEW: FOOD 4-/5 – SERVICE – 2/5 – OVERALL GRADE 2+/5

http://www.restaurantemessina.com/

Restaurante Messina - reijosfood.com





Restaurant review: Demo

26 08 2012

Restaurant Demo is a 45 -seat Michelin star restaurant that opened its doors January 2003. Demo serves high class food combined with personal and friendly service. Demo is owned by chefs Tommi Tuominen & Teemu Aura. Their goal is to offer a chance to top quality dining, in a relaxed and cozy environment. Means that Demo is casual Michelin star restaurant in Helsinki. Background music includes lounge music, Sade Adu but also more fast tracks. Waitering is also easy-going but professional.

Demo earned it’s first Michelin star in 2007 and has been able to keep it for five years. Restaurant is open only in the evenings from Tuesday to Saturday. On Saturday you can only choose Menu fo the Day of 4, 5 or 6 portions, which you do not know beforehand. You can also order wine pairings instead of bottle or glass of wine chosen by sommelier. Oldest wine served with food was this time from 1989.

Menu started with Greetings from kitchen; salmon and roe which were perfectly complimented with delicious wasabi sauce. One small spoonful, could have eaten at least five of them.

First course consisted of crayfish, fennel and gherkings. Great combination! Crayfish, which is the best tasting shellfish, was soft and juicy. White wine with first course was Savignon Blanc from Spain; rare grape for Spanish vineyards. Savignon Blanc is not the favourite one, prefer usually Riesling, but this time it suited well for the crayfish.

Second course was Forest deer carpaccio with carrots, fennel, parsley and delicious paste. Roe or forest deer was so tender you could have eaten it with a spoon.  White wine served tasted a little bit too much for butter. It was again from Spain; interesting that you can not find any Spanish white wines from wine list.

Third course was Pan fried cod, mussel fregola and lemon grass sauce. Cod was prepared with orthodox way, meat of the fish was cooked to a turn and skin was crispy and delicious. Mussel fregola matched well with fish and cooked like pasta should. This time white wine was Chardonnay from France. Wine aroma and flavour was oaken as Chardonnay’s usually are but not so buttery as it could have been.

Fourth course and first dessert was Cheese selection and house nut bread. Enjoyment started from the left with milder cheeses. When stronger white mold cheese smeteld in the mouth felt like it could not become better. However, when salty and strong blue cheese ended course, earlier evaluation was wrong. Kitchen also had taken into consideration one of our wishes and served sweet Ravioli instead of cheeses. For cheeses wine was sweet vintage red which tasted almost port wine. For ravioli wine was sweet white wine.

Bread seemed to be one of Demo’s specialities. House nut bread with cheeses was excellent but focaccia and bread with fennel were super excellent!

Fifth course and second dessert was Arctic cloudberries with yogurt and popcorn. Popcorn was pleasant surprise and the whole portion scrumptious. White wine served was sweet and it was perfect match with dessert which was not too sweet.

With coffee and tea kitchen served small confections which were luscious. After eating two pieces already thought that third might be too much.

One interesting detail was that you can find small pictures of owners/chefs on the restroom wall’s.

Restaurant Demo deserves Michelin star because of excellent food experience. One change in selection of wines for food; grade for food experience would have been 5.

Restaurant became almost full in the evening which meant that service became a little bit slower. Started dinner quite early when there was only few people seated. Got greeting from kitchen and two first courses quite quickly which meant that had 3 wine classes simultaneously at the table. Would have hoped a little bit more balanced timing for waitering, but staff explained well the contents of portions and what wine was served with each dish.

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

http://www.restaurantdemo.fi/demo_en

https://reijosfood.com/2012/03/14/michelin-star-restaurants-in-finland-2012/

http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/web/Restaurant/Helsingfors_Helsinki-00120-Demo-119682-41102





World’s first pop-down restaurant to open in Finland

16 08 2012

World’s first pop-down restaurant will open in the Tytyri mine on 10th of September, 2012. Interesting experience as dining room will be 80 meters below ground. You can find info about the restaurant and mine behind the links below.

Kitchen will be run by Restaurant Muru which is one of the most popular restaurants in Helsinki at the moment.

http://wdchelsinki2012.fi/node/18012

http://www.murudining.fi/ravintola/

http://palvelut.lohja.fi/tytyrinkaivos/default.asp?kieli=826





Restaurant review: Spis

10 08 2012

Restaurant Spis is small 18-seat Nordic restaurant in Kasarminkatu, Helsinki. It is open only in the evenings at least at the moment. Because restaurant is small and very popular you have to choose to dine early at 5PM or later at 730PM or 8PM. Spis provides surprise menu only later in the second sitting, otherwise a la carte list is available. The walls of restarant were left original, one wall looked like it was still under work.

Restaurant was a month ago part of the 36 hours in Helsinki story in New York Times travel edition with topic: “New-Nordic nosh” http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/07/08/travel/36-hours-in-helsinki-finland.html

To start with we were suggested to try French dry pear cider (Jean-Paul Brun Charme Blanc de Blanc) which was the best cider ever. Finland is the country of ciders, but all local ciders are apple juices with different flavours, not real ciders. As we decided to taste surprise dinner and wines we let the kitchen lead the way. All dishes were also in the a la carte list. Restaurant is also specialized in breads, first was served wheat bread, then dill bread and lastly onion bread. Also peas cand be found in almost every dish.

First suprise were chips which started the dinner. Second one was greetings from kitchen, Perunaa ja voitaPotato and butter“, so simple but always delicious. It is common to eat this combination with fishes but actually it does not need any side dishes, it is a dish.

Then kitchen brought first real food so called KesäkeittoVegetables and milk” which is traditional Finnish food. This time the soup was without stock and it was really cold, almost frozen. It included milk ice cream, snow pyre, peas, cauliflower, carrot and salad leaves. Wine was medium dry Pinot Blanc which suited quite well for the dish. However, mixed feelings but main courses were bull’s eyes!

So called main courses started with Siikaa ja lehtisalaattia “Whitefish and lettuce”. Really enjoyable; fish was boiled up to 42 celcius degrees which made it really soft. It is rare that fish is prepared by boiling not roasting or frying. Also side dishes were delicious and complemented taste of fish perfectly. This time wine selection was not so succesful, maybe it was due to Muscat grape.

Between main courses kitchen served Lonkero sorbet with grape fruit. Lonkero is traditional Finnish mixer you can not get anywhere else. It consists of gin and grape lemonade and was introduced in Helsinki olympic games 1952, 60 years ago.

Next main course was Kukonpoikaa ja fenkolia “Cockerel and fennel”. Cockerel was served with two ways, piece of breast and great ragout. Ragout was excellent and suited well with fennel and small fried potato pieces. Wine selection was from Beaujolais and match was excellent.

Dessert was peculiar as it included also peas; Hernettä ja pannukakkua “Peas and pancake”. However, it was scrumptious. Pea soup was sweet; pancake did not look like traditional as it was green, more like pastry. Asked one portion without pea soup and ice cream and that was taken in count well. Portion included sorbet and strawberry soup. Dessert wine was Riesling, which is not so common grape for sweet wines but perfect match for desserts.

Spis offers one interesting speciality; rum from Åland! Had to taste it with coffee and can recommend. Taste is mixture from calvados and rum. Kitchen’s greetings also with coffee.

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

Food and service are excellent, hope Spis finds bigger dining room in the future.

http://spis.fi/





Restaurant review: Brasserie Kämp

7 08 2012

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 as a Luxury Collection property of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. A shopping centre, Kämp Galleria, was also opened within the same city block. All rock and pop stars spend their nights in Hotel Kämp. Last week Bruce Springsteen, the Boss, was there.

Dining at Hotel Kämp gives a possibility on a culinary journey from East to West. Eastern food is offered in restaurant YUME , where you can enjoy modern Asian hawkers- and finger food with a Modern Asian Temptations -concept. 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 a year ago you can dine “outside” all year around like in many brasseries in Paris. In the 2nd floor there used to be a la carte restaurant Signe for almost one year but it did not seem to exist anymore.

A la carte list is short which makes ordering easy, if you find suitable dish. Recommend to order gourmet “fast food” like salad or hamburger which is really luxorious. Especially French fries are maybe the best in the city.

Wanted to challenge kitchen and decided to order for starters ARTICHOKE RISOTTO Goat Gryere flavoured artichoke risotto rucola and SALMON CARPACCIO AND SCALLOPS Red Grapefruit vinegrette flavoured Salmon Carpaccio and fried Scallops with Asparagus salad and Le Grûyère AOC cheese. Taste of risotto was ok but quite mild. Main problem was wetness, it was like soup which risotto’s usually are not. Smelt cheese or lots of olive oil; difficult to taste. Scallops were perfectly fried as they were not like gum ball’s. Unfortunately not any more hot as they shoud be.  Salmon carpaccio is always delicious.

For main courses ordered CATCH OF THE DAY Fresh Fish of the Day which was Whitefish and season vegetables and Cord-fed Chicken Grilled Corn-Fed chicken served with Pumpkin puree and Barley, Madeira Sauce. Whitefish was roasted with professional way which enabled to eat also skin of the fish. Almost half of the season vegetables included lentils, maybe not so seasonal. Chicken was great, not too dry and pumpkin puree was delicious. Barley should be used more often in dishes as it was used in Wanha Makasiini few days earlier.

You could order cakes from the cake trolley but was too full. Green tea and coffee served from luxorious set of dishes ended dinner with glamour.

Brasserie and Cafe 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.

REVIEW: FOOD 3+/5 – SERVICE 4/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4/5

http://www.hotelkamp.com/brasseriekampbareng





Restaurant review: Wanha Makasiini

4 08 2012

Restaurant Wanha Makasiini may be the best privately owned restaurant in Lappeenranta. After two experiences it earns recommendation; if you visit Lappeenranta dine at Wanha Makasiini! Old building itself is worth to see as it is “Old Storehouse”, pictures on the walls describe briefly the history of the building. Restaurant is located in the harbour near Sand Castle which is built each summer to attract tourists to Lappeenranta. You can dine inside or at the terrace depending on the weather. Although restaurant has fine dining menu you can also order pizzas which makes Wanha Makasiini versatile place.

Arrived to the restaurant at about 7PM and it was full; at 930PM it was empty; early dinner. Only Finnish diners this time although in Lappeenranta there are many visitors from neighbor country, Russia

For starters ordered again delicacy from the visit last time, no letdown this time either. Smoked vendace toast, smoked vendace mousse and roasted rye bread. Very simple but so delicious could have eaten 3 portions. Soft and suitably salty mousse blended in with rye bread roasted with butter tasted out of this world. Turkey pastrami, turkey on herb salad bed, marinated red onion and walnut vinaigrette was also simple dish. Turkey was tender; not too dry as it usually is.

Again fish for main courses. This time chose Fried salmon with spinach-pearl barley risotto and season vegetables. Chose this one because wanted to taste and compare barley vs rice as risotto ingredient. Taste and look was almost the same; a little bit bigger pearls but definately worth of trying, can recommend. Roasted whitefish and grilled prawns with lime sauce and grilled vegetables was the weakest link. Fish was over roasted and lime or bearnaise sauce not so attractive. Also prawns were quite small. Last year whitefish portion was excellent and roasted perfectly.

Because main courses were so generous decided to taste ice creams with tea and espresso. Home made Rasberry sorbet and Baileys ice cream ended the dinner appropriately. Next time have to try Mud cake because usually it “separates wheat from the chaff” when it comes to competence of the kitchen.

Because of easy-going athmosphere, renovation of the old building and location in the harbour, Wanha Makasiini earns 4 as an overall grade.

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

http://www.ravintolawanhamakasiini.fi/

http://hiekkalinna.lappeenranta.fi/en/

Some figures from Sand Castle below.





Restaurant review: Valo

3 08 2012

After 3,5 hour opera (The Magic Flute) in Savonlinna Opera Festival and 4 hour joyful Crayfish dinner and cruise on the Saimaa lake, it was relaxing to dine next day at restaurant Valo. Savonlinna Opera Festival celebrates 100 years history in 2012 and it gathers friends of opera each year. Maybe one can feel similar athmosphere in Verona but Savonlinna continues to live after opera as people dine and share opera experiences in nearby restaurants.

Dined at Valo second time and food was now better. Last year Whitefish was so over roasted it almost fractured. Because one has to dine outside in order to be able observe opera guests walking to Savonlinna castle 200 meters from Valo restaurant, it is important to have good weather. In Valo one can also just have a drink at the forefront bar and do the same. Restaurant serves local Finnish food, evidence for it was mentioning local producers in the a la carte list.

In Savonlinna one MUST eat vendaces! As they were only available for main course asked to get Vendaces from Pielavesi for starter without side dishes. Succeeded and they were simple but excellent, salty and partly crispy but not too creasy. From check noticed that price and name for starter was the same as in childrens menu. Another choice was Cold smoked salmon salad, cold smoked salmon with salad, marinated red onion, deep fried capers, sun dried tomatoes, marinated olives, lemon compote and bread. Add-on’s were not so Finnish and neither this starter beat vendaces.

For main courses had Rib from the Koivunotko wild board, barbeque sauce with potato and chorizo bake. Wild board was perfectly tender as it has been cooked 48 hours. Chorizo harmonized with potatoes well and gave some stroger savor to portion. Arctic Char with new potatoes from Kulennois and dill and whitewine sauce was enjoyable but as usual a little bit over fried. Restaurant mentioned producer or place of catching in both portions.

Almost forgot to take photos of desserts! Grand Marnier Parfait and strawberries was fresh and fruity. Home made chocolate cake and lingonberry ice cream tasted delicious. Soft and moist cake as it should be and rough ice cream with luscious lingonberry taste, almost whole berries.

Restaurant forgot to invoice bottle of Riesling wine as it was ordered from another waitress. Told that and got 20% discount for it.

Because of excellent location and athmosphere overall grade exceeds food and service grades. Restaurant is full before and after opera, therefore table reservation at those times is needed. During opera there are free tables available without need to make reservation.

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

Click to access VALO_ALA_CARTE.pdf

http://www.operafestival.fi/In_English/Front_page.iw3





Restaurant review: Toscanini

24 07 2012

Restaurant Toscanini has received its cheerful and relaxed atmosphere from Tuscany, Italy. There they offer  modern country style kitchen under the Tuscan lilies. Menu is based on the most essential elements of Italian kitchen, such as olive oil, herbs, tomatoes and Tuscan cheeses and cold cuts. In addition, bread is baked daily by restaurants own baker. Means that one gets fresh bread with olive oil and balsamico in the table quite after ordering food.

Location is perfect, almost opposite of Svenska Teatern and Stockmann. Being part of Klaus K hotel means that many of the dining customers also enjoy luxorious hotel premises. Recommend to spend at least one night there. Design hotel with white decoration in the lobby. In the same building there are Finnish gourmet restaurant Ilmatar and Ahjo night club.

Italian a la carte includes familiar italian goodies. Meant that in the nearby table language was italian. Wau, one of the waitresses spoke italian!

For starters enjoyed Lemon and herb flavoured salmon pastrami, poached fennel and Buffalo mozzarella, caramelized tomato, mangold beet and barrel aged balsamico. Salmon pastrami was delicious, coud have eaten double portion. Some problems with poached  fennel as asked it without lactose, got first portion with zucchini. After pointing out, got fresh fennel but not poached, unfortunately. Buffalo mozzarella is always delicious but tomatoes were a little bit difficult to eat. Mangold was chevy, but interesting experience anyway.

Olive oils and balsamico are favourites of Toscanini, can admire their dedication because we are talking about vintage oils.

For main courses ordered Homemade rigatoni with spicy italian sausage and chili flavoured tomato sauce and A whole fried sea bream served with caramelized tomatoes, green beans and spinach. Too few pieces of sausage, otherwise extremely delicious pasta dish. Portion sizes were more close to entrees. Fish was perfect, but little bit over fried, but delicious and enjoyable. Some more please!

For dessert Dolce della casa: Black currant and milk chocolate truffle, espresso and 4 cl Vecchia Romagna and  Lemon sorbet mixed with Prosecco. Italian brandy is as enjoyable as Spanish brandy. Espresso and chocolate are always nice way to end dinner. Lemon sorbet with vodka is our favourite, prosecco served with sorbet was maybe too mild combination.

Toscanini is one of the best Italian restaurants in Helsinki. Visited already Sasso, Tony’s deli and Gastone, some genuine Italian restaurants to visit still…..any suggestions?

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

http://www.toscanini.fi/en/frontpage

http://www.klauskhotel.com/en

Klaus K sponsored Taste of Helsinki and Toscanini was one of the 10 restaurants in the event.





Restaurant review: Fiskars Wärdhus

19 07 2012

Established in 1836, Fiskars Wärdshus is the oldest inn in Finland in terms of uninterrupted service. Over the years, all kinds of customers and daily specials have come and gone. In the early days, the typical customers of the inn were often coachmen, who were served good hearty grub. One of their favourites was the traditional lunch dish, pork and brown beans.

Fiskars Wärdshus, also known by its colloquial Finnish name “Wärssy”, is located on the main street of Fiskars Village, on the old King’s Road. The building housing the inn is one in a row of the village’s historic buildings. The most impressive of these is the Manor House, formerly occupied by the owners of the ironworks village. The most prestigious travellers were invited to dine there.

In 1998 the inn got a new proprietor couple, selected from among several candidates, Patrick and Marja Karlsson. Fiskars Village is lively place during it’s opening hours as well as Wärdhus restaurant at lunch time. In the evening it is the only place open as Village closes and looks like deserted neighborhood.

Restaurant in main building serves Scandinavian food designed by Chef Patrick Karlsson. One can dine inside or in the summer at the terrace which is in the front of the building.

For starters ordered Smoked roach mousse with potato crepes and Wärdshus’s country style salad with halloumi. Mousse was excellent and suited well with crepe. Halloumi salad was simple but ok for starter. Only three starters in a la carte list and one in Raseborg menu, understandable for fine dining restaurant in small destination.

For main courses enjoyed Fish of the day which was Whitefish and Finnish marbled sirloin with blue cheese from Peltola cheesery. Whitefish was well prepared and served with polenta and vegetables. Sirloin was ordered from Raseborg menu but it was served with aioli not with blue cheese. After noticing mistake waitress brought separate cup of blue cheese which caused mixed aioli – blue cheese combination, not planned dish. Sirloin was a little bit chewy as beef is too often in Finland if it is not the best fillet available.

For dessert had fresh strawberries. Maybe too full to eat anything else.

Visited Fiskars Wärdhus two years ago and restaurant would have earned then 4,5 for service. This time too many things needed amendment. However, the hotel itself and whole Fiskars Village are worth to see and visit.

One can also find Petris chocolate room in Fiskars, chocolate we enjoyed earlier at restaurant Origo.

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

http://www.wardshus.fi/en/home

http://www.fiskarsvillage.fi/en

http://www.petris.fi/





Restaurant review: Origo

18 07 2012

Restaurant Origo is located in the old ware house from 1893 in the Eastern Harbour of Hanko. The first owner of the building was a businessman and customs worker Martin Lignell. The house was used as a storage room for import and export goods in the early years and was turned in to the restaurant in 1989 after beeing empty for years before. Today the restaurant is owned by a local couple Joanna and Jan Westerling and it is open all the year round. One can usually see Finnish celebrities dining in the restaurant as it it the most famous fine dining place.

Origo with the atmosphere and décor is a unique dining restaurant which with its candles offers memorable moments. Wonder who lights all the candles and when??

When one enters to the restaurant one can see archipelago buffet that is located right in the center of the a la carte room. Have had buffet for starter two times before and can recommend it. One can order it also as main course.

The music bar in the second floor offers dancing hits in the unique clubbing environment. One can also enjoy drinks or dine at terraces.

From the à la carte menu one can find game, lamb and fresh fish from the local estates. First time experienced that tablet PC had replaced printed menu!

This time ordered for starters Scampis Provencale with House bread and Snails with Peltola Blue garlic au gratin and House bread. Scampis were delecious as well as snails. Maybe a little bit stronger taste of blue cheese would have crowned the snail starter.

For main courses had Roasted lavaret with Asparagus, sauce hollandaise, new potatoes pan fried in butter and Roasted Arctic Charr with fried new potatoes, goat cheese and red wine sauce. Lavaret (whitefish) tasted excellent and was roasted with talent, maybe best lavaret this year. Skin was crisp and soft at the same time.

For dessert had Philippe Fontaine Champagne sorbet with strawberries and chocolate. Not too sweet for dessert which is sometimes good. Also enjoyed Hand made small delicacies which have been made in Fiskars by famous chocolate designer Petri.

Two times before Origo has been able to provide steady quality with good service as it did also this time.

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

http://www.restaurant-origo.com/






Restaurant review: Kappeli

14 07 2012

Restaurant Kappeli – “the pearl of Espa” –  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 one can also dine at the outside terrace which is at the end of the building behind main terrace. If one wants 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 on stage opposite the restaurant.

A la carte consists of menus honoring famous Finnish artists or writers like Eino Leino, Sibelius and Juhani Aho. It also includes Finnish traditional fish and meat dishes. Wine list is artless and expensive which provides opportunity for the restaurant to improve it. Service needs some experience, forgot to serve us bread and no towel or cloth for Prosecco bottle.

For starters ordered Kappeli’s fish assortment – smoked salmon mousse, cold smoked Baltic herring skagen, smoked whitebait, cold smoked salmon and scrambled eggs and Caesar salad and chicken. Fish assortment was diverse but skagen was too salty.Wonder also why scrambled eggs were included? Caesar salad was as it should be.  Even the chicken was much better than last year, without skin and fresh. Great improvement!

For main courses had Grilled whitefish with spinach, Hollandaise sauce, potatoes with dill, butter and onion and Smoked salmon with creamy false morel sauce, potatoes with dill, 
butter and onion, baked tomato and zucchini. Whitefish was a little bit over grilled but potatoes in their butter onion sauce were excellent in both portions. Salmon was also a little bit too much smoked. Good achievement was that both portions were warm, almost hot.

In the summer the terrace of Kappeli is always crowded. Most of the diners inside were tourists; heard Spanish and German in nearby tables. Because of historical building and athmosphere Kappeli earns 4 as an overall grade.

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

http://www.kappeli.fi/index.php?id=frontpage





What fish to order in Finland?

12 07 2012

Sometimes it might be difficult to order local dishes if you have not tried them before. Meat dishes are easier because cow, pork or lamb are quite similar in each country. When it comes to fish there are more differences, therefore decided to summarize own TOP 5 favourites and one local shellfish.

1. Whitefish or Lavaret (Siika)

Whitefish or sometimes lavaret is number one favourite. If it is available in the restaurant, order it. For starter marinated whitefish is excellent choice, better than marinated salmon. For main course either roasted or fried, this non greasy white colored fish is delicious if properly prepared. It might be over roasted but fish restaurants know what they do. Whitefish roe is also tasty and again better than rainbow trout’s. Restaurants like Teatterin Grilli and Salutorget serve excellent portions. In Kappeli fish was over grilled at least when dined on 13 th July.

2. Pike perch (Kuha)

Pike perch is one of the most expensive Finnish fishes. Meat is white and soft and tastes best when it is roasted or fried. Pike perch even suits for preparing sushi because it can be quite big fish. Pike perch will be familiar to you if you have eaten Mediterranean white meated bigger fisheses, like sea bass. Pictures are from restaurants Havis and Kielo. Havis focuses on sea food as well as Fishmarket.

3. Perch (Ahven)

Perch is most common fish in Finland and also our national fish. Meat is white and tasty. Main issue is amount of small fishbones. But if you are in a restaurant which can prepare perch properly it is worth to order, e.g in restaurants Havis  and Blue Peter (pictures). Meat of perch looks like meat of small sea bass.

4. Arctic char (Nieriä or Rautu)

Arctic char is close to rainbow trout or even salmon. Meat is very lightly reddish and and little bit greasy. It is very popular and affordable fish and very often available in most restaurants. Main issue is over roasting but again good restaurants know how to prepare it. Pictures are from restaurants Gastone and Royal Line cruise boat.

5. Rainbow trout (Kirjolohi)

If you see rainbow trout in a la carte list suggest to order it. It is quite rare and mostly restaurants offer salmon which is available in many coutries. Meat of rainbow trout is light red and greasy but not as greasy as salmon. Both can be prepared as roasted, fried but also baked in oven. It is quite common to serve salmon with morel sauce as Kappeli does. Unfortunately have only pictures of salmon.

There are also some regional fish dishes which you might be able to see also in Helsinki. For instance  Vendace (Muikku) is delicious even without side dishes if fried in salty butter. Mostly sold at market squares but also available in some traditional restaurants. Burbot (Made) is sometimes used in soups. Be curious and order someting else than salmon or frozen imported fish.

X. Crayfish and Signal crayfish (Jokirapu and Täplärapu)

If you visit Finland between 21st July and end of October, you must try crayfish (crawfish, spiny lobster), most popular shellfish in Finland. Many restaurants have crayfish menu’s. Although they are expensive, escpecially signal crayfishes, which have been imported from North America to Finland in 1960’s, you can also order them as a starter (usually 5-6) and enjoy hilarious athmosphere. If crayfish is really cheap make sure it is Finnish, it might have been imported as frozen.

Bon Appetit!

Summary of Finnish fishes: http://www.luontoportti.com/suomi/en/kalat/





Island restaurants in Helsinki

4 07 2012

Kaivopuisto  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaivopuisto  (Kaivari) is one of the best known parks in Southern Helsinki. There are several nice cafes to stop off by the sea if one walks on the promenade. Many ambassadors of foreign countries locate also in one part of Kaivopuisto quarter.

One should try in the summer one or two of the fine dining island restaurants in front of Kaivopuisto. They are usually open only in the summer time because one has to go there with connection boats or water taxis. Summer starts on 1st of May when residents of Helsinki meet in Kaivopuisto for a picnic and island restaurants open doors for May Day lunch. Most of the restaurant buildings are worth to see as such. Remember; when crayfish season starts on 21st of July, island restaurants are fully booked.

The kitchen of restaurant HSS Boathouse offers seasonal treats with flavours from the New World.  The round two-storey dining room is in the architecturally unique building, which was built in 1949. Restaurant’s own description: Casual and relaxed. Stylish and fun. Those would most likely be the words used to describe Restaurant HSS Boathouse, if it was situated in, for instance, Martha’s Vineyards, Massachusetts.

http://www.palacekamp.fi/in_english/restaurants/boathouse/

NJK, the villa-type restaurant, located on the small island of Valkosaari, was built in 1900. The tall, spacious Middle room is surrounded by a bright covered veranda with large windows and a view towars the Market Square and Katajanokka. You can catch ferry to NJK near Olympic terminal.

http://www.ravintolanjk.fi/en

Restaurant Saari is located on the island Sirpalesaari. Saari provides Finnish delicacies of the season from land and sea as well as stunning views and genuine maritime atmosphere. You can catch connection boat to Sirpalesaari near cafe Carusel, but do not jump to water bus, it goes to Pihlajasaari. Visited Saari last summer and the experience was worth of 4+/5.

http://www.asrestaurants.com/EN/restaurants/saari/presentation.html

From Restaurant Saaristo in Klippan one can see the Empire-Helsinki skyline in the North, the ingenious walls and bastions of King Gustav style Suomenlinna in the South.  Atmospheric restaurant is over a hundred years old with crafty and romantic Jugend-style wood cuts and wood-carved animals in the beams and balconies. Previous name Klippan referred to name of the island. Connection boat serves from pier located near to Olympic terminal, next to the Peace Statue.

http://www.asrestaurants.com/EN/restaurants/saaristo/presentation.html

In the 18th century a fort was constructed on Särkkä island just off the coast of Helsinki to defend the city. Some wars later, in 1924, restaurant Särkänlinna was opened in that very fort. To this day it holds its place as one of the most unique summer restaurants in Helsinki. You can catch connection boat to restaurant near cafe Ursula.

http://www.palacekamp.fi/in_english/restaurants/restaurant_sarkanlinna/

Restaurant Uunisaari is only island restaurant open year around. In the winter time one can use bridge which will be built on the ice every year. Connection boat can be found near cafe Compass.

http://www.uunisaari.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2&Itemid=3&lang=fi

Hopefully you find this writing useful when choosing restaurant in the summer. Gonna dine in one of the above restaurants soon.








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