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.








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