Restaurant review: SPIS – genuine Nordic cuisine

8 02 2015

What is Nordic cuisine? It is delicious fresh food with lots of vegetables in different forms. Food is not ruined with strong spices and therefore the original flavor of food ingredients is the main thing.

Spis - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Spis is cozy 18-seat Nordic, maybe the smallest, fine dining restaurant in Helsinki. It is open only in the evenings from Tuesday to Saturday. Because of the size and popularity, you have to choose to dine early at 0530PM/0600PM or to eat at later table setting at 0830PM. Spis serves two tasting menus, there is no separate a la carte list available.

Interesting detail are walls, which seem to be under renovation, but they are not. Walls just reflect the simplification of the decor.

Dinner started again with snacks; several of them, which really differentiate Spis from many “gourmet” bistros in Helsinki. We had 4 dish menu but got about 10 plates to be enjoyed during the dinner.

First we were served small tasty toast. With champagne perfect finger food.

Champagne at Spis - reijosfood.com

After toast we were served root fireworks! From right potato, yellow root, horseradish and lastly striperoot. Not sure, if striperoot is right translation for raitajuuri, but it is like beetroot. Each Finnish delicacy, which were eaten with fingers, included right seasoning or herb.

Forget potato chips and peanuts, offer this type of snacks also at home, if you can prepare them!

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The came greetings from the kitchen, which was warm potato soup. Kitchen also prepared special edition of the greeting because of cream in the soup. Carrots in different forms were warmly welcomed surprise.

Potato soup at Spis - reijosfood.com

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And only now actual dinner started!

For starter kitchen served portion, which was called Cabbage and Mustard. Sounds simple but combination of brioche flavored with mustard paired with cabbage perfectly.

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First warm main course was salmon with root salad. Salmon was almost raw, but it was not at the same time. It had been cooked or steamed at 42C degrees, which made it soft. Spoon would have been enough to take care of it.

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Between main courses we got sorbets, nice way to clean the mouth and prepare stomach for meat.

Spis served for second warm main course Pressed lamb which had been first cooked for 3 days and then roasted. Below lamb was vorschmack and some beetroots. Heavenly experience, must say!

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Intermediate dessert consisted of Västerbotten cheese sorbet and Blackcurrant sorbet, which did not include milk products. Västerbotten cheese is famous Swedish cheese, which suits well for main courses but suits in this case for dessert as well.

Although it is a question of 4 dish dinner, Spis serves two desserts.

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Sweet dessert consisted of cake, which melted in the mouth and ice-cream. More please!

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Dinner ended up with tea and espresso. But as you are able to taste Ålvados, which is calvados from Åland, you have to try it. And with dessert drinks still some sweets served on huge Lego block. Great way to end the dinner.

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Restaurant Spis earns full points for food. Service is professional; contents of portions were explained well and suggestions for wines were one of the most succesful so far.

With starter we were served white wine produced from chenin blanc grapes. With salmon wine menu included Chablis, of course made from chardonnay grapes by Chateau de Beru and with lamb red wine from cabernet franc grapes produced by small Italian winery marco sara.

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To summarize, the food is excellent and probably one the healthiest you can eat at the restaurants. Spis also takes care of food allergies with skill although there is only tasting menu’s available.

If you are looking for great Finnish/Nordic food experience, try Spis.

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

SPIS | Nordic restaurant





Restaurant review: Strindberg – one of the best views of Esplanade Park (Espa)

27 09 2014

Park Esplanade - reijosfood.com

Strindberg is located in Galleria Esplanad at North Esplanade. Restaurant dining room is at the 2nd floor. The atmosphere at this restaurant is urban, but at the same time pleasantly tranquil.

Sometimes loud discussion might break it, but not too disruptively. On Thursday evening restaurant was almost full booked, which is a proof of popularity.

Strindberg dining room - reijosfood.com

At street level is Strinberg café, very popular among tourists and Helsinki citizens. Just sit down, if you find a table and wait to be served, there is table service available. In the summer time table service applies also terrace, which is usually crowded, if weather is good. Maricafe is behind main cafe; there you can use Marimekko dishes and see Marimekko textiles.

Library bar has become a popular rendez-vous spot for many. Worth a visit too, although you would not dine, because you can observe diners through glass window. For us, most visited bar for glass of wine after shopping or before dinner. There is also lunch spot Bakfickan behind the bar at the open gallery area.

Strindberg library bar - reijosfood.com

If you order sparkling water, you get San Pellegrino, one of our favourites. Bread basket included soft white bread and thin crispbread supplemented with hand made butter. Additional olive oil was brought to the table, because butter included lactose.

Bread at Strindberg - reijosfood.com

For starters had King prawns with sweet pepper mousse and fennel and Tartare of slightly salted lavaret with beetroots and Dijonnaise sauce.

Prawns were tasty as well as portion as a whole. Missed, however, more flavor for mousse because taste of pepper was quite mild. Whitefish tartare was also scrumptious and as beetroot is one of the best roots in Finland, could you ask more? Whitefish roe, egg yolk and white and sauce supplemented perfectly.

King prawns at Strindberg - reijosfood.comLaveret at Strindberg - reijosfood.com

For main courses ordered Roasted Arctic char with beetroot risotto and tarragon butter and Chargrilled salmon with béarnaise sauce and poached egg .

Arctic char was perfeclty roasted, still some rose color inside the fish. Usually it is cooked too well-done and that ruins the enjoyment. Beetroot risotto matched well with fish, almost sweet, which complemented nicely salty fish.

Salmon dish is one of the classics, which has been on the menu for ages. Main course includes 3 salmon slices and starter 2, otherwise same. Chargrilled salmon is always delicious and if you like bearnaise sauce, this is a dish for you. Asked the sauce in separate bowl, because it might have ruined the taste of fish. Suggest to do that, if you try this portion.

Arctic char at Strindberg - reijosfood.comSalmon at Strindberg - reijosfood.com

For desserts of course one of the classics, French toast (Köyhät Ritarit) and Cloudberry chiboust with cardamom financier.

French toast is traditional dish and sometimes it is still made at homes. With add-on’s it makes your mouth drool, worth to try! Also other dessert was toothsome. The cake in this dish was unfortunately so small, that almost ordered a second similar dish. And Finnish berries; cloudberry, strawberry and blueberry freshned up sweetness.

French toast at Strindberg - reijosfood.conDessert at Strindberg - reijosfood.com

For wine we had some white wine; Chablis la Pierrelée , AC Chablis, La Chablisienne.

Excellent choise for fish dishes, not available at Alko. Also some variation in the enjoyment of white wine as riesling has dominated so long.

Chablis La Pierrelee - reijosfood.com

Strindberg never lets you down when it comes to food. There must have been some extra efforts for service, because it has always been professional, but this time also extremely attentive.

And location at the 2nd floor, if you are able to get window table, completes dining enjoyment. So, remember to ask for window table!

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

http://www.strindberg.fi/en/restaurant

http://www.galleriaesplanad.fi/en/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Restaurant review: Strindberg – one of the best views of Esplanade Park (Espa)

27 09 2014

Park Esplanade - reijosfood.com

Strindberg is located in Galleria Esplanad at North Esplanade. Restaurant dining room is at the 2nd floor. The atmosphere at this restaurant is urban, but at the same time pleasantly tranquil.

Sometimes loud discussion might break it, but not too disruptively. On Thursday evening restaurant was almost full booked, which is a proof of popularity.

Strindberg dining room - reijosfood.com

At street level is Strinberg café, very popular among tourists and Helsinki citizens. Just sit down, if you find a table and wait to be served, there is table service available. In the summer time table service applies also terrace, which is usually crowded, if weather is good. Maricafe is behind main cafe; there you can use Marimekko dishes and see Marimekko textiles.

Library bar has become a popular rendez-vous spot for many. Worth a visit too, although you would not dine, because you can observe diners through glass window. For us, most visited bar for glass of wine after shopping or before dinner. There is also lunch spot Bakfickan behind the bar at the open gallery area.

Strindberg library bar - reijosfood.com

If you order sparkling water, you get San Pellegrino, one of our favourites. Bread basket included soft white bread and thin crispbread supplemented with hand made butter. Additional olive oil was brought to the table, because butter included lactose.

Bread at Strindberg - reijosfood.com

For starters had King prawns with sweet pepper mousse and fennel and Tartare of slightly salted lavaret with beetroots and Dijonnaise sauce.

Prawns were tasty as well as portion as a whole. Missed, however, more flavor for mousse because taste of pepper was quite mild. Whitefish tartare was also scrumptious and as beetroot is one of the best roots in Finland, could you ask more? Whitefish roe, egg yolk and white and sauce supplemented perfectly.

King prawns at Strindberg - reijosfood.comLaveret at Strindberg - reijosfood.com

For main courses ordered Roasted Arctic char with beetroot risotto and tarragon butter and Chargrilled salmon with béarnaise sauce and poached egg .

Arctic char was perfeclty roasted, still some rose color inside the fish. Usually it is cooked too well-done and that ruins the enjoyment. Beetroot risotto matched well with fish, almost sweet, which complemented nicely salty fish.

Salmon dish is one of the classics, which has been on the menu for ages. Main course includes 3 salmon slices and starter 2, otherwise same. Chargrilled salmon is always delicious and if you like bearnaise sauce, this is a dish for you. Asked the sauce in separate bowl, because it might have ruined the taste of fish. Suggest to do that, if you try this portion.

Arctic char at Strindberg - reijosfood.comSalmon at Strindberg - reijosfood.com

For desserts of course one of the classics, French toast (Köyhät Ritarit) and Cloudberry chiboust with cardamom financier.

French toast is traditional dish and sometimes it is still made at homes. With add-on’s it makes your mouth drool, worth to try! Also other dessert was toothsome. The cake in this dish was unfortunately so small, that almost ordered a second similar dish. And Finnish berries; cloudberry, strawberry and blueberry freshned up sweetness.

French toast at Strindberg - reijosfood.conDessert at Strindberg - reijosfood.com

For wine we had some white wine; Chablis la Pierrelée , AC Chablis, La Chablisienne.

Excellent choise for fish dishes, not available at Alko. Also some variation in the enjoyment of white wine as riesling has dominated so long.

Chablis La Pierrelee - reijosfood.com

Strindberg never lets you down when it comes to food. There must have been some extra efforts for service, because it has always been professional, but this time also extremely attentive.

And location at the 2nd floor, if you are able to get window table, completes dining enjoyment. So, remember to ask for window table!

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

http://www.strindberg.fi/en/restaurant

http://www.galleriaesplanad.fi/en/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Restaurant review: Salutorget – Scandinavian bistro

19 08 2014

 

Riesling at Salutorget - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Salutorget includes  stylish dining room (not bistro type), bar/cafe  and terrace. Restaurant serves lunch and dinner but also brunch on Sundays. Salutorget is located close to Kauppatori (Salutorget in Swedish and  Market Square in English), which is the most known market or plaza in Helsinki.

You can see that there has been financial institutions operating in the same building earlier as rest rooms are in old bank vault. At least there you are in safe. Place has been renovated with craftmanship; 1800’s construction and pillars create a dignified athmosphere.

Menu consists of traditional Finnish and Scandinavian dishes, nothing fancy.  If you are keen on tasting them, like Baltic herrings, Whitefish, Reindeer or even Vendaces, then you are in the right place.

For starters we chose Salutorget’s small fishes (3pc): Shrimps á la Skagen, Cold smoked white fish with dill creme and Smoked salmon and creme fraiche with Dijon and Salad with broiled salmon; broiled salmon, egg, asparagus and mustard sauce

Taste and look of small fishes was ok but expected a little bit more from shrimps. Maybe they match with toast better than as separate dish. Belive that some ingredients had been forgotten from mustard sauce because it’s taste was so mild. Broiled salmon is always delicious.

Small fishes at Salutorget - reijosfood.comSalmon salad at Salutorget - reijosfood.com

For main courses ordered Roasted white fish with spring potatoes and egg sauce with chives and Salutorget´s pepper steak, garlic potato chips, grilled green asparagus and pepper hollandaise

Noticed afterwards that had forgotten take pictures from main courses for two reasons!

Firstly had to ask waiter to bring glass of red wine which I had ordered. Meat was already waiting to be eaten. Secondly had to ask for cutlerys which waiter forgot to bring after starters.

About main courses: Pepper steak should have been medium but it was almost almost well-done. Potato chips felt as they were old, would say the shape was more like slice not chip. Whitefish was luckily well prepared and basic new potatoes are always good.

So, you will see picture taken at the terrace instead of portions.

Salutorget terrace - reijosfood.com

For desserts we had Berry crumble and vanilla sauce with rosemary and Lime youghurt mousse with limoncello sorbet

Desserts were best part of dinner and saved evening. Crumble with vanilla sauce was delicious, mouth-watering combination. Mousse with sorbet was refreshing after salty fish.

Dessert 1 at Salutorget - reijosfood.comDessert 2 at Salutorget - reijosfood.com

Wine list is quite short; interesting to see that all wines are from European countries; mainly France, Italy and Spain.

For wine we chose Riesling Reservé Dopff au Moulin from Alsace, France. Nice, quite light riesling paired well with fishes we ate. As mentioned before, had glass of Les Vignerons Carignan Syrah from GCF, France with meat.

 

Dining room and bar were almost empty most of the time, which is unusual for Friday evening. One reason was the amount of happenings, like kick-off of Helsinki Festival.

Salutorget - reijosfood.comSalutorget bar - reijosfood.com

We have visited Salutorget couple of times (reviews can be found by using search), but this visit was a little bit dissappointing. Food used to be excellent as well as service.

Because of the cozy terrace and interior still believe that Salutorget can perform better. Therefore 4 for the overall grade.

On the same date was opening of Hotel Manta of Helsinki. Previous post was about this “hotel”.

Hotel Manta - reijosfood.com

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

http://www.salutorget.fi/en





Restaurant review: SPIS – pure Nordic cuisine

1 12 2013

Spies - reijosfood.com

What is Nordic cuisine? It is delicious fresh food with lots of vegetables, good service, pleasant athmosphere and Nordic/Finnish background music!

Restaurant Spis is cozy 18-seat Nordic, maybe the smallest fine dining restaurant in Helsinki. It is open only in the evenings from Tuesday to Saturday. Because of the size and popularity, you have to choose to dine early at 0530PM/0600PM or to eat at later table setting at 0830PM. Spis serves two tasting menus, there is no separate a la carte list available.

Visited first time Spis over a year ago and experience was impressive. Restaurant got 13,25 points which is as good achievement as this years leaders have been able to get. Or maybe we have been more picky this year?

Dinner started with snacks; several of them which differentiate Spis from many bistros in Helsinki.

First we were served crispbread with sauerkraut mayonnaise. After crispbread we were served root fireworks! You started from right with potato, carrot, striperoot and ended up to turnip. Not sure if striperoot is right translation for raitajuuri, but it is like beetroot. Each Finnish delicacy, which were eaten with fingers, included right seasoning or herb. Forget potato chips and peanuts, offer this type of snacks also at home.

Crisbread - reijosfood.comSnacks - reijosfood.com

Greeting from kitchen, which was brought to the table by one of the chef’s, was vorschmack with sour cream. Good example of Finnish traditional food but prepared totally different way than usually. Minced meat was not so salty and greasy as it usually is and taste of anchovis was in balance.

Vorschmack - reijosfood.com

For starter we got vitamin bomb which included beetroot and yellowroot. As snacks alread included one relative root you really have chance to try many Finnish fresh and good tasting roots.

Starter at Spis - reijosfood.com

First warm main course was salmon with dried carrots and carrot spaghetti. Salmon was almost raw but it was not at the same time. Probably it had been steamed as it was so soft but there was no frying or roasting marks. Carrots had been first dried for 6 hours and then boiled. Prepared that way sweetness of carrots came to prominence and complimented salty (not too much) salmon well.

Salmon at Spies - reijosfood.com

Between main courses we got apple sorbets, nice way to clean the mouth.

Sorbet  - reijosfood.com

Spis served for second warm main course lamb ribs with potatoes. Best part of this portion was French red wine which paired perfectly with lamb. Unfortunately meat was too greasy for us and potatoes reminded too much of those you can get from frozen food lockers. But the sauce was scrumptious and it saved a lot.

Lamb - reijosfood.com

Intermediate dessert consisted of pear cake and meringue. Auts, it was so yammy you could have continued eating for ever. But as you might guess, portions are not so big…

Sorbet - reijosfood.com

Actual dessert was silver toffee ice-cream which made you hesitate thought you had when eating previous dessert. This one you could continue to eat forever…. Silver toffee (hopeatoffee) used to be favourite candy in the childhood and now you can again get it from the supermarkets, excellent! Using silver toffee in dessert is big proof that you are eating in a genuine Nordic/Finnish restaurant as this type of toffee is available only in Finland.

Spis also takes care of food allergies, therefore one dessert was sorbet.

Silver toffee - reijosfood.com

Gittasorbet - reijosfood.com?

Dinner ended up with tea and espresso. But as you are able to taste Ålvados which is calvados from Åland you have to do it. Take a look at the bottle, there is glass apple inside. And with dessert drinks still some sweets. Great way to end the dinner.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Ålvados - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Spis would have earned 5- for food if the lamb would not have been so greasy (most people would have liked it that way). Service was professional; contents of portions were explained well and suggestions for wines were one of the most succesful so far.

The food itself is excellent and probably one the healthiest you can eat at the restaurants. Background music was mainly new Finnish and Swedish sounds which is also quite unique.

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

And last but not least, take a look at Marimekko Unikko towels in the restroom! If we are not in THE Nordic restaurant, then where? SPIS is now new leader with 13,50 points!

Marimekko Unikko - reijosfood. com

http://spis.fi/

https://reijosfood.com/2012/08/10/restaurant-review-spis/





Restaurant review: Saaristo

22 06 2013

Restaurant SaaristoKlippan

Restaurant Saaristo (Archipelago in English) is located on the Klippan island. You can see the Empire-Helsinki skyline in the North and walls and bastions of King Gustav style Suomenlinna in the South. Jugend style villa that was built in 1898 but you can still admire the crafty and romantic Jugend style wood cuts and wood-carved animals in the beams and balconies.

Restaurant SaaristoRestaurant Saaristo barShip

Saaristo’s menu offers delicacies of Scandinavian cuisine. A connection boat serves from the Saaristo’s pier located south of the Olympia terminal, next to the Peace Statue. Summer restaurant which is open from May to September, is one of the rare places open on Midsummer’s Eve. Other restaurants are closed because most of the Helsinki residents rush to their summer cottages. Maybe Saaristo should also be closed in Midsummer because there were few diners and head waiter was sort of displeased. We had to wait 10 minutes while he served customers it the bar.

Saaristo boat

For starters had fresh local fish which are always refreshing especially in the summer. Ordered Whitefish à la ice-cellar whitefish roe and cauliflower prepared in two ways and Slightly cooked salmon cured with sugar and salt herbs of the House and fennel seed marinated cucumber. Both portions were excellent! Whitefish was really crisp and cauliflowers suited well with it. Roe was maybe needless because it did not match so well to ensemble. Salmon was also really high quality fish and wholeness perfect.

Ice cellar whitefishSalmon at Saaristo

For main courses had Sirloin of reindeer roasted with herbs truffle potato and dark porcini sauce and Arctic char smoked with Pihlajavesi alder Jerusalem artichoke ravioli and lobster butter. Reindeer was maybe the weakest link although it was crisp. Meat was ordered as medium but it was almost raw. Arctic char was smoked with skill and kithen could take well into consideration wishes we had.

Reindeer at SaaristoArctic Char at Saaristo

For dessert ordered An assortment of Nordic cheeses nut bread and honey seasoned with Saaristo’s lavender and waiters recommendation with it RIVESALTES AMBRÉ 2000, Cazes, AOC Rivesaltes, France. Cheeses were from Finland, Denmark and Sweden; Nordic ensemble. All of them were really tasty and sweet wine paired perfectly with them.

Cheeses at SaaristoSweet wineSweet wine

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

Restaurant Saaristo is good choice of those about 5 other island restaurants in front of the Helsinki. It is expensive if we take into account sizes of portions and price of 1 minute water taxi trip. Service in the table would have been 4/5 but happenings from restaurant door to the table dropped points.

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

One nice thing to watch after dinner were the sea birds with their cubs. Seagulls and Barnacle gooses had just got addition to their families and were taking care of them.

Seagull





Pocket guide: Order right fish in Helsinki restaurants

7 06 2013

Pike perchFishSmoked whitefishFishFishLavaret

This is an updated copy of post from July 2012 with some new pictures. As holiday season comes closer, hopefully you find this useful if you dine at restaurants in Helsinki.

Sometimes it might be difficult to order local dishes if you have not tried them before. Meat dishes are easier because chicken, pork and red meat arequite similar in each country. When it comes to fish there are more differences, therefore below is short guide for ordering right fish in restaurants.

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 or spiced whitefish is excellent choice, better than 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. First picture (Glogatan 4) below is smoked and second (Copas y Tapas) fried whitefish. Third one is home made oven baked fish, see the white fish meat.

Smoked whitefish2012-09-07-637Whitefish

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 meat fisheses, like sea bass. First picture from Meche, second from Havis and third from Copas y Tapas.

Pike perchPerch

3. Perch (Ahven)

Perch is maybe most common fish in Finland and also our national fish. Meat is white and tasty. Main issue are small fishbones, if not properlyremoved. But if you are in a better restaurant which has perch in their menu, it is worth to order. Meat of perch looks like meat of small sea bass. First picture is from Havis and second from Nuevo.

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DSC02709

4. Arctic char (Nieriä or Rautu)

Arctic char is close to rainbow trout or even salmon. Meat is very lightly reddish and a 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. It is popular to combine morel sauce with this fish as well as with salmon. First picture is from Nuevo and second picture from Le Havre.

DSC02706Arctic char

5. Crayfish and Signal crayfish (Jokirapu and Täplärapu)

If you visit Helsinki, 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 from China.

Bon Appetit!








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