Taste of Helsinki 2014 – review of tasted portions

15 06 2014

First of all big thanks to Taste of Helsinki founder Barry MacNamara for organizing ticket change from Friday to Saturday and inviting us to opening ceremony for invited guests. Due to work obligations outside Finland we had to suspend the participation by one day and therefore could not either join the opening ceremony on Thursday.

Taste of Helsinki is a culinary festival, which takes you on a journey through the gourmet flavours of some of the best restaurants in Helsinki and Finland. It is also unique chance to get familiar with fine dining restaurants at the same time without paying high prices for gourmet food. We participated third time, the same number of times the event has been organized. This year the weather has been typical Finnish summer, rainy and cold. Challenging for outdoor events.

Below you can find pictures with comments of some of the best small dishes restaurants served.

Bertha: Cod, bean, scallops 5-/5

Excellent combination, cod and scallops was served as a crispy croquette by Tampere restaurant

Bistro o Mat Anise spiced salmon at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Juuri: Terrine of cured perch 5/5

Perch is one of the best Finnish fishes and served like this on of the best portions

Juuri Terrine of cured perch at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Bistro o Mat: Anise spiced salmon with prawns and avocado 4+/5

Fresh spiced salmon and shrimps are always tasty but anise flavor was hidden somewhere. Kirkkonummi is home town of this restaurant

Bistro o Mat Salmon at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Smakbyn Åland: Fish tartar from the Baltic, crayfish and white fish roe  4,5/5

Excellent ensemble from restaurant in Åland owned by celebrity chef

Smakbyn Åland Fish tartar at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Emo: Crab cake with fennel  5/5

Bull’s eye, maybe the best of the best, croquette tasted of crab and fennel accomppanied perfectly

Emo Crabcake at Taste of Helsinki - reijfosfood.com

Postres: New potatoes and anchovy butter 4/5

New potatoes belong to Finnish summer and butter was tasty but too simple compared to any other portion

Postres potaoes at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Emo: Spring chicken with spring cabbage 4,5/5

Chicken skewer was grilled in front of you, with some more spices would have been unbeatable

Emo Chicken at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Postres: Smoked salmon in Can and Postres archipelago bread 5/5

Makes you drooling, Finnish summer hit and should be available from supermarkets for Mid Summer fiesta

Postres Smoked salmon at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Farang: Coconat caramel pork 4,5/5

Farang knows how to use spices, long queues all the time proved time, pork maybe too much kassler (pork loin) type

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Bertha: Chocolate, banana, Brazil nuts 5/5

Happy endings! Lucky we did not miss this one. Unfortunately so many starters did not allow more dessert portions

Bertha Dessert at Taste of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

Plan was also to taste Oscar Hot Dog with veal, asparagus, and giant prawn from Kaartin Hodari & Hummeri, but the queue was so long all time. In the cold wind it was more convenient to stay sheltered from it.

To summarize, all tasted portions were impressive which can be seen from the points. I really hope that there will be 4th Taste of Helsinki because plan is to visit there twice. Quite difficult to try all portions at the same day. Also have to taste olive oils which were available at the fair. And wines, Kung Fu Girl Riesling and Miss Harry, paired well with dishes tasted. Vindirekt, the importer of these wines, made also best offers for glass of wine.

Event itself gets 5-/5 points and only cold weather was the reason for not giving 5. With sun shine it would have been 5+/5.

There will be separate post about champagne Taittinger tasting later.

http://www.tasteofhelsinki.fi/





Restaurant review: PureBistro – with Bib Gourmand status

1 06 2014

PureBistro and Market Square - reijosfood.com

PureBistro is a modern bistro and bar with two terraces next to the Market Square in Torikorttelit buildings.  Restaurant is owned by Michelin star restaurant Luomo (on the 2nd floor) chef”s Jouni Toivanen and Mika Mattila. That explains partly why PureBistro is one of the five Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants in Helsinki and earns to keep that status.

PureBistro entrance - reijosfood.com

Dining room at PureBistro is quite small and therefore in the summer time you might decide to dine outside, if temperature allows that, which it did not on the last day of May. If you dine inside, ask for window table and you can enjoy sea view and observe bustle at the Market Square. That is exactly whatwe did.

PureBistro - reijosfood.comPureBistro terrace - reijosfood.com

Menu is short – 3 starters, 3 main courses and 2 desserts. If you choose 3 course dinner, the price is 45€. One option is to have drink at the bar and taste some small bites, in Finnish Snadit. As English and Finnish versions of the names of the portions are not exactly the same, I included both language versions.

After placing order customers will get fresh bread paper bag on the table.

PureBistro menu - reijosfood.comPureBistro menu and bread - reijosfood.com

Starters we ordered had fancy names; Hamashi Sashimi with Avocado & Seaweed Piikkimakrillisashimia, avokadokreemiä, soijaa ja levää and Carpaccio, Bloody Mary Sorbet & Tallowvinegar Kotimaista rotukarjaa, bloody mary sorbet ja emmentalia.

Sashimi was fresh and side dishes accompanied fish in oriental portion well. Lack of salt was only minus. Beef carpaccio was so soft that it could have eaten with spoon. I am not sure if kitchen tried to create picture of hedgehog on the plate, but portion looked like it.

Sashimi at PureBistro - reijosfood.comCarpaccio at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

For main courses we had two times Fried Trout, Cauliflower & Cassis Ahvenanmaan taimenta, kukkakaalia ja herukkaa but requested some changes to one of them. Restaurant created excellent version of this portion by replacing cauliflower with ratatouille.

Trout itself was perfectly fried, you could also eat fish skin as it was enough crispy. And what is most important, fish was not over-fried which happens too often also in so called good restaurants.

Fried trout at PureBistro- reijosfood.comTrout at PureBistro

For desserts ordered Tosca, VanillaIceCream & MilkXoco Toscakakkua, vaniljajäätelöä ja maitosuklaata and “Macedonia De Frutas” Liqourice “Hedelmäsalaattia” ja lakritsisorbettia.

Tosca cake was scrumptious. Amount of toffee sauce was maybe too much, but had to eat all of it anyway. Take a look at how fruits and sorbet was placed on the plate! PureBistro really has an artist in the kitchen, remember the hedgehog.

Dessert at PureBistro - reijosfood.comFruit dessert at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

Had to order bottle of Tesch 1 Liter Riesling for two reasons; riesling weeks with special menus had just ended but Tesch riesling was still available and the unsual size of the bottle (1 liter) is rare apparition.

Wine paired well with all dishes we had; well, maybe not with desserts. Dry, about 6 g/l sugar if I remember right what waitress told, and balanced acidity and minerality.

 Tesch 1 litre riesling at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

As we got window table, overall grade is 4,5. Propably next time we shall dine at the terrace; waiting for warmer summer days….Service is in balance with kitchen’s creativeness and skills.

PureBistro is genuine Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant and actually one of the first fine dining bistro type of restaurants in Helsinki. Nowadays there are several sophisticated bistro restaurants close to each other, like Gastrobar Emo, Gastropub Rikhard’s, Spis and Copa’s y Tapas. Reviews of there restaurants can be found by using search. Also previous PureBistro reviews can be found the same way.

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

http://www.purebistro.fi/

 





Restaurant review: Toscanini

25 05 2014

Campari Soda at Toscanini - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Toscanini has received its relaxed atmosphere from Tuscany, Italy. Menu is based on 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, or is it?

Location is perfect, almost opposite of Svenska Teatern and Stockmann. Famous BW- restaurants, Gaijin and Boulevard Social are neighbors. Being part of Klaus K hotel means that many of the dining customers also enjoy luxorious hotel premises. Design hotel with white decoration in the lobby. Klaus K and it’s restaurants were recently acquired by Kämp Group which might have been the reason for lame service.

Toscanini - reijosfood.com

Because of excellent weather we had late lunch at the terrace. No one wants to eat in as you can see from the picture above.

Started lunch with Campari Sodas which is always appropriate way to lead to the right mood. Bread basket came right away after ordering; foccaccia was not as fresh as it should have been, but tapenade was delicious.

Bread basket at Toscanini - reijosfood.com

Lunch started with Antipasto variety for two including two type of salami’s, parmesan cheese, small olives, artichokes, grilled sweet peppers and mushrooms.

If restaurant is Italian, it can not flop in serving traditional Italian starters. Nor did Toscanini. Everything on the plate was perfect, fresh and you could imagine to be in Tuscany.

Antipasto at Toscanini - reijosfood.com

For main courses we had Sautéed fillet of cod with seafood flavoured Nerone rice and Braised lamb neck with fried lemon polenta and Marsala sauce.

Unfortunately these portions brought us back to Helsinki and Bulevardi. Cod was way too much over-salted but shrimps and octopus pieces in rice compensated a little bit. Lamb was tender but dry and it seemed that salt had been completely forgotten. Wonder if polenta had been prepared at the restaurant kitchen, because it tasted and felt like industrialized product?

Cold at Toscanini - reijosfood.comLamb neck at Toscanini - reijosfood.com

Service was this time the weakest link. We have been at Toscanini several times before, but now there were too many failures.

We had to order mineral water twice, had to remind waiter to bring wine glasses (soave and chianti of course) we had ordered and never got menu back again in order to be able choose desserts. Therefore just ordered coffees and chardonnay grappa. As I wrote earlier company has new owner, which may have impacted to the service, if employees are worried about restaurant’s future.

Toscanini used to participate in Taste of Helsinki, but not this year. Will miss tiramisu they have served there.

Grappa at Toscanini - reijosfood.com

It is always great to eat outdoors, at nice terrace, therefore overall grade is higher.

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





Wine review: Wolfberger Riesling-Pinot Gris 2012 – dry or semi-dry?

24 05 2014

Wolfberger - reijosfood.com

Semi-dry or semi-sweet wine? If the amount of sugar is 8 g/l what kind of scale there is on the label? Maybe someone knows better?

Wolfberger is cooperative in Alsace established 1902. It is located in Colmar, Eguisheim south-west of the city. Wolfberger annually produces about 13 million bottles of wine. The size of wineyard is about 1 200 hectares.

Wolfberger Riesling-Pinot Gris 2012 has been blended with Riesling (60%) and Pinot Gris (40%) grapes. Wine got certificate of honor in Series 08: the white wines, the price of over 11 in “Wines of the Year 2014” competition. This is maybe the most known Finnish competition for wines. http://www.vuodenviinit.fi/en/

THE LOOK

Light yellow with strong shade of green

THE NOSE

More Pinot Gris than Riesling although it should be opposite; slightly flowery bouquet, similar to citrus and ripe green apples

THE TASTE

Quite dry, lightly tart, ripe citrus, peach, pale floral and light minerals

Wolfberger - reijosfood.com

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 12,50 %
Extract: 27 g/l
Acidity: 7,5 g/l
Sugar: 8 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal / 100 ml (340 kJ / 100 ml)
Closure: metal screw cap

Wine paired with Italian food nicely. We had bruschetta with fresh tomato slices and chicken pasta with cream-honey-spices sauce and blue cheese. Also suits well with fish and shellfish.

Bruschetta - reijosfood.comPasta - reijosfood.com

Misleading information on the label may make you purchase more dry wine you planned. Therefore points drop a little bit lower than wine would otherwise earn.

OVERALL GRADE 3+/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++/+++

http://www.wolfberger.com/

 





Taste of Helsinki 2014 – Picnic with a difference

22 05 2014

Taste of Helsinki will be arranged 3rd time on 12-15.06.2014 in Helsinki. This will also be the 3rd time we shall visit the event.

Taste of Helsinki is a culinary festival, which takes you on a journey through the gourmet flavours of the city. It is also unique chance to get familiar with fine dining restaurants at the same time without paying high prices for gourmet food. But after you have tasted portions available, you might want to visit one or two of them.

Last year our favorite portions were:

SALMON from Rørvik with spring potatoes from Merimasku (restaurant Olo)

Taste of Helsinki (Olo) - reijosfood.com

NECK OF WILD BOAR with false morel pie and sauce of raspberry leaves (restaurant Juuri)

Taste of Helsinki (Juuri) - reijosfood.com

This year following restaurants will participate Taste of Helsinki:

Ask (1 Michelin star and restaurant of the year 2014)

Bertha (fine dining at Tampere)

Demo (1 Michelin star)

Emo (Michelin Bib Gourmand)

Farang (Michelin Bib Gourmand)

Juuri (Finnish restaurant, restaurant of the year 2010)

Kaartin Hodari & Hummeri (gourmet hot dogs)

Bistro o Mat (fine dining at Kirkkonummi)

Postres (1 Michelin star)

Sami Tallberg (herb specialist chef)

Smakbyn Åland (fine dining at Åland)

Yes, you see exactly right. 3 out of 5 (no, the amount is 6) Michelin star restaurants in Helsinki will participate!

If you do not yet have tickets, you better purchase them soon. You do not want to miss this picnic! Anyway, post will follow after event.

http://www.tasteofhelsinki.fi/en

 

 





Restaurant review: El Meson de Cervantes – Malaga, Spain

8 05 2014

200 Monges at el Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

Tapeo Cervantes is already well-known for its traditional and new, creative tapas. Gabriel Spatz, founder of the original, a professional restaurateur from the Argentine, came to Malaga in 2008, decided to stay and opened El Tapeo de Cervantes at Calle Carcer 11 in the old quarter.  El Meson de Cervantes was opened later at Calle Alamos 11 in order to meet the demand by customers. Location is at the backyards of old town, far away from tourist flows. Both restaurants are now on Tripadvisor top 3 list.

El Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.comEl Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

Main allurement are tapas which you can order in three different sizes; tapas, 1/2 raciones or full raciones. You could also choose from restaurant menu different type of starters, main courses and desserts but menu is quite short. If you want to eat tapas at the dining room, you need to ask them in a polite way, although waiter might say that they are meant to eat at the bar.

We ordered two 1/2 raciones from tapas menu and all the rest from restaurant menu. Actually most of the dishes are the same. Dinner started with Pimientos del Padron, Warm salad of tuna, roasted peppers and green leaves and Patatas bravas.

Small salted green peppers are good choice to compare the quality of restaurant. These were excellent and what is most important, not too salty.

Tuna was perfectly fried as you can see in the picture below, not too well-done; therefore not dry. This portion is not so typical for tapas restaurant, it is an example of the high quality level of el Meson de Cervantes.

When potatoes arrived I first thought that “what the heck”, ketchup! But the sauce was made in restaurant, looked like ketchup and maybe included some, but it was deliciosly spicy. Perfect sauce for patatas bravas.

Pimientos del Padron at el Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.comTuna fish salad at el Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.comPatatas Bravas at el Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

For main courses we had 1/2 raciones of Argentinian entrecote with fried potatoes, salad and chimichurri, Wild boar stew with sweet Malaga wine sauce and crispy rosti and full portion of Racion del dia which was Dorada fish with fennel.

Entrecote was medium as requested, proof can be found in the picture below. Stew was excellent, some exotic spice made it one of the best dishes of the dinner. However, rosti was no so crisp but that did not bother.

Fish, in turn, was a slight dissappointment. It was prepared too early and fish skin was not anymore crisp.

Entrecote at el Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.comWild board stew at el Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.comDorada at el Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

After main course we tasted some Manchego cheese which was quite young. Maybe serving cheeses of different ages would have made the gusto inclusive.

Manchego cheese at el Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

Dinner ended with Apple tart and vanilla ice-cream which was bull’seye. Difficult to beat warm, sweet and soft apple pie with cold ice-cream….

Apple tart at el Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

And the red wine…excellent choice. Wineyard states: “Deep, intense red with notes of ripe red fruit, tobacco, cedar, and truffles on the nose: very clean, intense aromas. Good body on the palate, with fine tannins from careful barrel-ageing, and very well-balanced. Ample mouth-feel with light notes of liquorice and a long, silky and elegant finish”. Exactly what 200 Monges Reserva 2006 was. Tempranillo 85% made the softness, Graciano 10% and Garnacha 5% gave the character. If this was reserva, would definately like to taste gran reserva.

El Meson de Cervantes serves premium tapas and Spanish food in a relaxed athmosphere. If you decide to dine at restaurant you can watch chef’s preparing portions in the open kitchen. You can also eat in more restful environment and enjoy to be served by professional waiters. Tapas bar provides opportunity for close social interaction. It was so crowded with customers that it was hard to get through when leaving. Restaurant is the place to visit out of hundreds of tapas bars and restaurants in Malaga, if you travel there.

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

http://www.elmesondecervantes.com/eng/index.html

http://www.vinicolareal.com/vinos.php?familia_vinos=31&id_vino=1

 





Food Art in kitchen accessories

20 04 2014

Food images are sometimes used in clothing when it makes sense and brings joy to special occasion, like crayfish figures during crayfish season. First time saw Karjalan piirakka look alike used in accessories.

Kitchen wear accessories - reijosfood.com

Karjalan piirakka – traditional Finnish rice-filled Karelian pasty, is popular in Eastern parts of Finland, but you can find them in many supermarkets. Usually it is eaten with egg- butter spread.

To use Karjalan piirakka as a model for a purse or small bag is interesting idea. Photos were taken in Joensuu, in Taitokortteli buildings.

Karelian pastry purse - reijosfood.com

http://www.taitokortteli.fi

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karelian_pasty

There were also other traditional clothing to be seen.

Taitokorttelit - reijosfood.com

 





Restaurant review: Bronda – 4th BW restaurant in Helsinki

9 04 2014

Beef tartar at Bronda - reijosfood.com

Bronda, the 4th restaurant in Helsinki by Tomi Björck and Matti Wikberg, opened it’s doors on Monday 10th, 2014. Located on the corner of Eteläesplanadi and Korkeavuorenkatu, large space with high ceilings and big windows with otherwise plain interior design, offer interesting dining experience. Nautical roof lamps and mirrors on the wall are eye catchers.

The lounge bar is open until late and it offers view to Park Esplanade. It surely will be one of the most busiest bar in the district.

Bronda name comes from the building restaurant is located.

Bronda - reijosfood.com

Bronda’s dishes should reflect Europe and particularly countries Spain, Italy and France. The food is meant to be shared as in other BW restaurants Farang*, Gaijin* and Boulevard Social (*reviews available on reijosfood.com). Bronda concept is copied from those succesful Bib Gourmand restaurants; even same drinks with same exotic names are served.

First look at the menu was challenging; you could choose from snacks, fresh and/or warm dishes. So we decided to choose one of the two tasting menus, Menu Esplanad, with suggested wines.

Tasting menu at Bronda - reijosfood.com

Dinner started with Sashimi, aioli prawns and sorrel which were served on a wooden plate. Sashimi was prepared from lavaret (whitefish). Fish was soft and mellow and shrimps were fresh of course. In overall excellent combination after sorrel soup was poured into the bowls.

Sashimi and prawns at Bronda - reijosfood.com

Second dish was Beef tartar with butter milk and dried bread. If your read menu, you can see that there are lot’s of different ingredients used. I am not sure, if we could find all of them, but beef was tender anyway. This was also the first dish to be shared, so portion had to be divided in two parts.

Beef tartar at Bronda - reijosfood.com

Then we were served third and fourth dish at the same time; Fish stewed Basque style and  Risotto Milanese. Basque style meant mussels, chorizo and sherry flavored stock. Tempting, but at the same time challenging dish for the kitchen. Fish itself was ok, but one of the 5 mussels had not opened. No chorizo taste at all, actually one small bite was found. Risotto had waited serving some time as it was not so warm anymore. To prepare perfect structure, kitchen needs some more practice.

Fish and risotto at Bronda - reijosfood.comFish at Bronda - reijosfood.com

Last so called main course was dissappointing. On the menu it says Cotoletta which means schnitzel. However, more detailed description tells that you should get crisp pork chop. Bronda served dry Wiener Schnitzel with fennel salad and tomato compote. This dish dropped food grade below 4. I am sure this dish will not be as such on the menu in the future, but side dishes could be the same.

Wiener Schnitzel at Bronda - reijosfood.com

Dessert should have been Tiramisu, but as we had asked one menu lactose-free, one portion was replaced with Lemon pie Bronda without informing beforehand. However, both desserts were delicious and crowned the dinner. Pie included rosemary and thyme which made the experience exciting.

Tiramisu at Bronda - reijosfood.comLemon tart at Bronda - reijosfood.com

When it comes to recommended wines they are overpriced. You pay 50€ for 2 1/2 glasses of basic wines. Choose instead a bottle or glass from the list, because some wines are quite reasonably priced. For the tasting menu first wine should have been riesling but it was replaced by gruner-veltliner. Second glass, pinot noir, was poured from 1,5 litre bottle. Third, dessert wine, was 5 years old Madeira which paired well with desserts.

Bronda was full when we entered and was still full when we leaved. Relaxed athmosphere and loud background noise make restaurant perfect place for group gatherings. As snacks and some food are served in the bar, it will be the the most succesful part of concept. You can see Park Esplanade from the windows while dining and at the same time  can observe other people present in the bar. Although portions are well designed and look impressive, propably food is not the main issue. Main idea is social interaction.

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

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

Read also this http://nyt.fi/a1305818948042





Restaurant review: Presto – A mangiare!

29 03 2014

Aperol Spritz at Presto - reijosfood.com

Italian restaurant Presto was opened on the 19th February, 2014. Restaurant concept consists of trattoria, caffe bar, prosecco lounge and shop.

Location is excellent, next to the Espa (Park Esplanade) and in the same building as restaurant Savoy. Presto replaced at the same time restaurant Katsomo, which used to serve Savoy theatre customers.

You can find traditional Italian dishes from the a la carte list like bruschetta, pasta, risotto and pizza. One speciality are mozzarella starters, which are served on a wooden plate with side dishes like salami, bresaola or parma ham.

Best way to evaluate the level of Italian kitchen in Finnish restaurant is to try those traditional dishes.

Started the dinner with Aperol Spritz, glass of Prosecco and excellent Focaccia, which was served after placing the order. First restaurant in Helsinki in which I have seen serving Aperol Spritz as aperitif and it is on the drinks menu. Unfortunately it was too dry, not enough Aperol.

Foccacia at Presto - reijosfoo.comAperol Spritz at Presto - reijosfood.com

Continued with Italian trattoria dishes and ordered for starters Bruschette with Bresaola and from Mozzarella bar Mozzarella di Bufala with artichokes and olives. We did not choose any cold meats with Mozzarella, as we had Bresaola with traditional bread.

Bruschettas were excellent and pieces of Bresaola tender. Could not be better in Italy. Also Mozzarella with side dishes was enjoyable. Soft and moist cheese comes from Italy; therefore difficult to screw up. Some restaurants use mozzarella made from cow milk and that is inexcusable.

Mozzarella at Presto - reijosfood.comBruschette at Presto - reijosfood.com

For main courses chose Pasta Orecchiette all’arrabiata Pasta with spicy tomato sauce and Salsiccia sausage and Melanzane alla Parmigiana Eggplant casserole.

As pasta’s and one risotto are not listed as “Primi Piatti”, expectation was that they would be enough big to be main courses. Pasta was enough big, but unfortunately it did not meet Italian pasta requirements. Tomato sauce was not enough spicy and it lacked sweetness. Or at least sausages should have been spicy, if sauce was not. Eggplant casserole was luckily delicious which compensated dissappointment is pasta.

Pasta at Presto - reijosfood.comEggplant casserole at Presto - reijosfood.com

Had to try desserts and selected from the list Torta alla Presto Pie of the day and Gelato Self-made ice-creams.

Both were mouth-watering! Lemon pie was really delicous and Peanut ice-cream and Cherry ice-cream one of the best ever tasted. It is possible just to drop by for espresso and dessert, which we shall certainly do.

Lemon Pie at Presto - reijosfood.comIce-cream at Presto - reijosfood.com

Presto claims to be trattoria, not ristorante, which is true. Recommend to ask table downstairs or from the small plateau between ground and second floor. You can see Park Esplanade plus downstairs is anyway more lively. Trattoria is on the second floor. Choose that if you want to eat at more restful dining room.

Prosecco Lounge in the 3rd floor has special hours between 16.00 – 18.00 on work days, but is is mainly reserved for theatre visitors. It was empty when we checked it at about 22.00 on Friday evening. The decor is the same as it was in restaurant Katsomo, not Italian type. If you take a closer look at the figures in the pictures on the wall, you might found some interesting.

Presto - reijosfood.comPresto bar - reijosfood.comProsecco Lounge at Presto - reijosfood.comDecor at Presto Prosecco Lounge - reijosfood.com

If pasta would have been better, Presto would have got 4 for food grade.  Higher overall grade 4+ comes because of nice concept which has not actually existed in Helsinki before, when it comes to Italian kitchen. Reasonably priced fresh and delicious food (most of them) in an relaxed athmosphere.

Wine list is short but again prices for wine glasses are reasonable. Some local, so called Italian restaurants, serve wine from barrels with low prices but the quality of wines is lousy. Presto serves proper Italian wines, no reason not to choose house wines.

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

http://www.ravintolapresto.fi/

https://www.facebook.com/prestohelsinki





Guide Michelin: Bib Gourmand designated restaurants in Helsinki

14 03 2014

What is Bib Gourmand restaurant?

The Bib Gourmand designation denotes good cuisine at a reasonable price in a variety of comfort categories. Defined as “Inspectors’ Favorites for Good Value,” Bib Gourmand restaurants offer two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less (tax and gratuity not included), and are often of most value to a city’s residents, who regularly dine in neighborhood restaurants” (source: Guide Michelin)

Restaurants with Bib Gourmand designation 2014 in Helsinki are:

Boulevard Social http://boulevardsocial.fi/en/ (NEW!)

Not visited

Farang https://reijosfood.com/?s=Farang

Farang - reijosfood.comFarang - reijosfood.com

Gaijin https://reijosfood.com/?s=Gaijin

Gaijin Mussels - reijosfood.comChicken at Gaijin - reijosfood.com

Emo https://reijosfood.com/?s=Emo (NEW!)

Halibut at Emo - reijosfood.comVendaces at Emo - reijosfood.com

PureBistro https://reijosfood.com/?s=PureBistro

PureBistro - reijosfood.comPureBistro - reijosfood.com

You can find reviews of these restaurants at reijosfood.com via links.

Amazing that first three restaurants are owned by same chef’s, Tomi Björk and Matti Wiberg. They have just opened 4th restaurant Bronda, which will be reviewed by Restaurant and Wine epicure (reijosfood) in April. Maybe next year it will be designated as Bib Gourmand restaurant?

Emo and PureBistro are partly owned by Michelin star restaurant chef’s; Emo is little sister for Olo and PureBistro for Luomo.

Grotesk and Solna lost their Bib Gourmand designations.

Conclusion: 

Would say that at least 3 of the designated restaurants have earned to be on the list; Emo, Farang and PureBistro. Now that Michelin Guide have chosen 3 “ethnic” kitchens, Yume could replace Gaijin. But as it is owned by Kämp Group not by chef’s, it might be obstacle. There are also some other restaurants which could be designated like Copas y Tapas, Meche or Spis, see reviews at reijosfood.com.





Michelin star restaurants in Helsinki 2014 – two new stars!

12 03 2014

Demo - reijosfood.com

Michelin Guide announced updated list of Michelin starred restaurants  on 12th March. We have two new 1 Michelin star restaurants in Helsinki!

Ask and Chef & Sommelier got their first Michelin stars today!

Another big news last year was that 2 Michelin star restaurant Chez Dominique closed down it’s doors. Means that there are no 2 or 3 star restaurants in Finland or Helsinki.

Restaurants with 1 Michelin star in Helsinki are:

Ask, Vironkatu 8, Helsinki – http://restaurantask.com/ (NEW!)

Chef & Sommelier, Huvilakatu 28, Helsinki – http://chefetsommelier.fi/en/ (NEW!)

Demo, Uudenmaankatu 9-11, Helsinki – http://www.restaurantdemo.fi/demo

Luomo, Vironkatu 8, Helsinki – http://www.luomo.fi/en/restaurant/

Olo, Pohjoisesplanadi 5, Helsinki (changed location) – http://www.olo-restaurant.com/home.html

Postres, Eteläesplanadi 8, Helsinki – http://www.postres.fi/

Restaurant Demo - reijosfood.com

Pictures are from restaurant Demo





Restaurant review: Savoy – world’s oldest design restaurant

9 03 2014

Savoy menu - reijosfood.com

What would be the right place to celebrate International Women’s Day?

Of course legendary Restaurant Savoy, world’s oldest design restaurant, which opened it’s doors first time in 1937. Since then it has been the flagship of Finnish gastronomy and restaurant culture in Helsinki.

The dining hall of Restaurant Savoy is an important part of Finnish design history. The interior was initially designed by Aino and Alvar Aalto in cooperation with textile artist Dora Jung and the then newly established Artek. Its pure and austere minimalism has remained in vogue for decades. Our table was at the covered patio with view to Esplanade Park and hotel Kämp.

We started the dinner with glasses of Champagne Larmandier-Bernier Latitude Extra Brut. Bouquet and taste of blanc de blancs champagne were perfect, felicitous kickoff for the dining.

Champagne at Savoy - reijosfood.com

There was good sounding tasting menu available and you could also pre-order pressed grouse menu (presser in the 1st picture), but we decided to try a la carte dishes.

Dinner started with greetings from the kitchen, white bean soup, which was delicious appetizer.

White bean soup at Savoy - reijosfood.com

For starters we had Tartare of brined salmon with Finnish caviar and avocado crème and Crème Ninon with lobster and Savoy’s air-dried duck breast

Salmon tartar was basic Finnish starter, well prepared, but nothing extraordinary.

Creme Ninon, “pea soup” flavored with champagne, was poured on top of the lobster pieces and dried duck was grated after that by waitress. This starter earned 5 because it was so scrumptious and of course the looks of the portion was fabulous. Fresh peas paired extremely well with lobster and duck.

Starter at Savoy - reijosfood.comStarter at Savoy - reijosfood.com

For main courses we ordered Roasted turbot with piquillo pepper tortellini and deep-fried anchovies and Pan-fried lavaret with blue mussel cassoulet and fennel.

Both fishes were well prepared as could be expected. But as French cuisine does not save butter, they were a little bit heavy. Moussel cassoulet was garbled and there was no need for asparagus.

Portions looked again stunning, no doubt about that.

Turbot at Savoy - reijosfood.comLavaret at Savoy - reijosfood.com

After main course we still had room for desserts and ordered Triple chocolate cake with passion fruit ice cream and Baba moistened with Savoy’s honey bock and honey ice cream.

But before those dishes kitchen served pre-dessert which actually could have been one of the desserts as it was so tasty.

Dessert at Savoy - reijosfood.com

Both desserts were excellent. There were three different layers inside the chocolate cake and it’s flavor was crushing. Honey suited well with baba and it should have been prepared in the kitchen as Savoy has their own beehives at the roof terrace.

Chocolate cake at Savoy - reijosfood.comBaba at Savoy - reijosfood.com

For wine we chose Riesling Münsterer Pittersberg Trocken which paird well with starters and main courses. Not too many mineral or petrol flavor.

Restaurant Savoy has style, no doubt about that. But it’s price level is at least the same as in Michelin restaurants or even higher. Food is delicious and portions look stunning. If you like the decor and view of the Esplanade Park (but you must have table at patio) then Savoy is right restaurant for you. But at the same price level you might also enjoy food at e.g Luomo, Olo or Postres, which all are located close to the park.

Park Esplanade - reijosfood.com

Service was professional except one mistake. Ordered double espresso with dessert, waitress came back to check if it was double, but still I was served small espresso which they had to replace. If I would have been responsible for serving I would have invoiced small espresso not double or even given it for free.

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

http://www.ravintolasavoy.fi/en

Savoy - reijosfood.comSavoy entrance - reijosfood.comSavoy table - reijosfood.comSavoy vase at Savoy - reijosfood.com

You might also be interested in to get more familiar with Alvar Aalto after visiting Savoy

http://www.alvaraalto.fi/index_en.htm





Wine review: Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut

2 03 2014

Moët & Chandon Impérial Brut - reijosfood.com
House of Moët’s iconic champagne, Moët Impérial.

Moët has been associated with the sparkle of success and glamour ever since the House was founded in 1743 by Claude Moët.

Moët Impérial is the House’s iconic champagne. Created in 1869, it embodies Moët & Chandon’s unique style, a style distinguished by its bright fruitiness, its seductive palate and its elegant maturity. Wine is made of Pinot Noir 30-40%, Pinot Meunier 30-40% and Chardonnay 20-30% grapes. Chardonnay completes the freshness and stability of this wine.

THE LOOK

The look of wine is golden straw yellow with green highlights, plenty of small bubbles.

Moet Imperial - reijosfood.com

THE NOSE

Green apple and citrus fruit, the freshness of mineral nuances and white flowers, the elegance of blond  notes. Second glass brought up interesting bouquet…

THE TASTE

White-fleshed fruits (peach, apple), the alluring caress of fine bubbles, the soft palate of citrus fruit

Facts & Figures:

Alcohol: 12,00 %
Extract: 25 g/l
Acidity: 5,9 g/l
Sugar: 9 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal / 100 ml (320 kJ / 100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

Moët Impérial can be served throughout the meal, from aperitif to dessert and pairs perfectly with: shell fish, white fish, white meats (such as chicken) and dessert fruits.

We paired it with scallops, antipasti and chicken skrewer with rucola salad. Best match was with scallops but as mentioned earlier, wine really can be served with all dishes during lunch or dinner.

Scallops and Moet Imperial - reijosfood.com

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

PS. Moet Ice Imperial reviewed 15-09-2013 at reijosfood.com

http://www.moet.com//





Home cuisine: Asian style whitefish

23 02 2014

Asian style whitefish - reijosfoo.com

Whitefish, one of the best Finnish fishes, can be prepared in a myriad of ways. This time made whitefish with asian style, one of our favourite cuisines.

First of all you need fresh whitefish. If you want to take a shortcut, purchase scaled and fish bones removed ones. Less messy and it saves time.

Whitefish - reijosfood.com

Recipe:

1 whitefish fillet for each diner

Rice (used whole grain instead of white)

Sauce: water, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, lime juice, cane sugar, red chilli, ginger, fresh mint and coriander

Salad: carrot, cucumber, sweet pepper, fresh mint and coriander, balsamic vinegar

Riesling - reijosfood.com

Instructions (30 minutes preparing time, step 1 not included)

1. Take whitefish out of the fridge 1 hour earlier, add salt and pepper for both sides

2. Prepare sauce by mixing all ingredients depending how spicy you want to make it. You might want to add more sugar but tasting is important.

3. Prepare salad in separate bowls by using peeler in order to get thin chips and add sweet pepper and herbs

4. Boil water and add rice according to instructions on package (boiling time 10-12 minutes)

5. Put whitefish in the oven for about 15 minutes, 220C degrees (depending on the size of fillets)

6. Serve immediately; first rice on the warmed plate, then fish fillet and herbs. Pour sauce on top of the portions at the table.

Whitefish and rice - reijosfood.com

This dish is healthy and palatable. It is your choice how spicy food you like. This can be really spicy if you add plenty of chilli, ginger and herbs. It also can be dilute without those spices.

Suitable wine for this dish is white wine from riesling grapes. Tried Cono Sur Single Vineyard Block 23 Riesling 2012, which has enough acidity and character; therefore it paired perfectly. Wine review will follow later.





Burger King opened 2nd restaurant in Helsinki – it happened again

22 02 2014

Have Helsinki resident’s missed Burger King so much, they have to queue up for hamburgers?

First Burger King was opened opposite the Stockmann department store on the 13th of Dec, 2013. What happened (click the link)?

http://www.metro.fi/uutiset/a1392272604404

Second Burger King was opened on the 14th January 2014 at Helsinki Central railway station, what happened then (click the link)?

http://www.metro.fi/uutiset/a1387800585624

Actually I like a lot of well-made burgers and crispy french fries, examples from Hard Rock Cafe Helsinki and Pirate Helsinki.

Hamburger at Hard Rock Cafe Helsinki - reijosfood.comHamburger at Pirate - reijosfood.com

But gosh! No more about this matter……








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