Restaurant review: Lumbini – Nepalese cuisine

11 02 2014

Naan bread at Lumbini - reijosfood.com

There are 28 Nepalese restaurants in Helsinki. Yes, 28 which is amazing amount! (source: Fonecta). Means that Nepalese cuisine is the second most popular ethnic kitchen after Chinese.

Lumbini is one of these restaurants serving traditional food in their dining room but also with take away opportunity. Nepalese food is affordable as well as few wines they have in their list.

Dinner at Lumbini starts always with Nepalese crackers. Crispy, well seasoned thin crackers increase the feeling of hunger appropriately.

Crackers at Lumbini - reijosfood.com

As portions are quite big we ordered for starter only one Deep Fried Chicken to be shared. Crispy pieces of chicken breast, not swings, were appetizing and with mint sauce the end result was perfect.

Fried chicken at Lumbini - reijosfood.com

Main courses always include Naan bread baked in Tandor oven, Basmati rice, Mint sauce, Raita and Green salad as side dishes. Portions at Lumbini are generous because the actual main courses are in separate bowls. Most restaurants serve them in the same metal plate as all side dishes.

Naan bread is really delicious, better than Indian version.

Food at Lumbini - reijosfood.com

Ordered for main courses our favourites Butter Chicken Chicken cooked in coconut-cream butter & tomato sauce and Spinach Chicken Chicken with spinach sauce.

Tender pieces of chicken in well-seasoned sauces are palatable. Thick sauces actually make the dishes what they are. If you do not like this type of sauces, you do not like Nepalese cuisine.

butter chicken at Lumbini - reijosfood.comChicken Saag at Lumbini - reijosfood.com

Wines are not so typical drinks for Nepalese food but this one pairs extremely well. Basic, affordable Gato Negro from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes makes the dinner complete.

Gato Negro - reijosfood.com

Nepalese or Indian desserts are not our favourites, therefore we were satisfied for starters and main courses.

Actually it does not make sense to compare Continental, Scandinavian or Finnish cuisines with ethnic ones because they are totally different. However, you can always judge food, you like it or not. We like Nepalese food, therefore score is high. Service is always polite, thoughtful and humble. Sometimes you are not so happy about too familiarity and effusive freshness which new fine dining bistros present.

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

http://www.ravintolalumbini.com/





Restaurant review: Alberga – dinner and comedy theatre

8 02 2014

Alberga - reijosfood.com

Our visit to Alberga, one of the oldest theatre restaurants in Finland, was probably the 20th or at least something like that. And proof of our long history with Alberga was warm welcome handshake by owner,  when we arrived.

Theatre restaurant Alberga is family owned scene in Espoo, Leppävaara (Alberga in Swedish). Restaurant was established 1988 and since then it has presented over 1000 plays, mostly comedies.

We came to see “Rich, Dear and Work” performed by Minna Kivelä and Annu Valonen. Both are well known comediennes from TV series “Handy hostess”.

What a play! These comediennes are the best in Finland and made us laugh bellies ache.

There is always special theatre menu available consisting of one starter, two alternative main courses and one dessert. Dinner is served before the show which usually starts at 20.00.

Dinner started with Beetroot flavored salmon which is basic delicious Finnish dish and never let’s you down. Salmon must be enough thin in order not be chewy.

Salmon at Alberga - reijosfood.com

For main courses kitchen served Roasted Arctic char with lingonberry sauce and Fried sirloin with red wine sauce.

Fish included cooked potatoes and made portion again basic scrumptious Finnish plate. Sirloin was tender and properly roasted, meat inside was rose. Side dishes, oven potato and roasted root vegetables complemented the dose perfectly.

Acctic char at Alberga - reijosfood.comSirloin at Alberga - reijosfood.com

Dessert served was Parfait which included orange, chocolate and strawberry. Could have eaten three of them.

Parfait at Alberga - reijosfood.com

Theatre restaurant Alberga is more sedate than Kaksi kanaa, which is also popular scene (review was posted 4.3.2012).

Alberga - reijosfood.com

You should visit Alberga although you would not like theatre. It is totally different to follow up the show two meters from the small stage than sit in the back row of big hall. And most of the plays are enjoyable, well written and acted out. Athmosphere is relaxed and informal. Therefore Alberga earns 4,5 for overall grade.

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

http://www.ravintolaalberga.fi/





Restaurant review: Blue Peter – all year round open yacht club

2 02 2014

Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Blue Peter, covered by snow and ice, is a restaurant in Lappland…….Not exactly, but snowfall during the past 24 hours made me imagine so.

Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Actually Blue Peter is situated on Lauttasaari island by Gulf of Finland 4 km from Helsinki city centre. In the summer time it is really popular due to large terraces and HSK sailing club members. Restaurant is open all year around hosting private events also in the winter time. On the evening we dined, there was a private party for 140 people. Not bad at all for summer restaurant.

For starters decided to order Smoked salmon mousse with malt bread and Thai-salmon soup from Soup and Salad menu, which ended the same day we dined.

Smoked salmon was more like hash than mousse because it was quite dry. Otherwise tasty starter. To add asian style spices to salmon soup is brilliant idea and must try also at home.

Smoked salmon mousse - reijosfood.comThai-salmon soup - reijosfood.com

Main courses were Reindeer fillet with game sauce and potato gratin and Whitefish, soy-ginger sauce and jasmin rice.

Reindeer was soft and tender and perfectly prepared. Potato gratin, I think, might have been more or less convenience food or not. Whitefish could have been fresher than it felt and sauce seemed to be more soy than ginger based. But whitefish is always delicious, choose it always if it is available in restaurant you eat.

Reindeer at Blue Peter - reijosfood.comWhitefish at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

For desserts had to order the favourite one; Crepe with strawbarry jam and vanilla ice-cream. As the only lactose free dessert was sorbet we asked if kitchen could prepare something else and they did; Chocolate muffin with vanilla ice-cream.

Crepes are best in Helsinki, as I have stated in previous reviews, and can confirm it again. But pimped dessert was bull’s-eye, just baked muffin with ice-cream was really a sweet. We even suggested that restaurant should add it to their a la carte list. Let’s see if that will happen.

Crepe at Blue Peter - reijosfood.comMuffin and ice-cream at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

For wine we had Weingut Liebfrauenstift Riesling QbA Trocken which is guaranteed safe choice. Suitable amount of acidity and minerals.

As you will get Geisha and/or Fazerin Sininen chocolate with coffee and bill that might be enough for dessert. Or nice take away to pamper yourself later.

Wine at Blue Peter - reijosfood.comCeisha chocolate - reijosfood.com

Blue Peter is especially summer restaurant but it does not mean that in can be cozy also in the winter time. Evening we visited there were decorations from past DTM, German Touring Car Masters, race in Helsinki. Wonder if there was some kind of remembrance earlier on coming next weekend?

???????????????????????????????Fireplace at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Desserts earned 4+ for Food but unevennes in starters and main courses dropped points. Our waitress forgot one of our orders, but as we got espresso and green tea for free, it corrected the event.

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

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

http://www.bluepeter.fi/articles/632/





Restaurant review: Pastis – French bistro

26 01 2014

Mussels at Pastis - reijosfood.com

Pastis is an anis-flavored liqueur and aperitif from France, but it is also French style “fine dining” bistro in Helsinki.

Pastis was opened in April 2013 by restaurant Muru celebrity chef owners. Similar concept but focus in French kitchen. Always available a la carte dishes in changing list are mussels, snails, sausages, fish and meat from France. On Fridays and Saturdays you can also enjoy fresh oysters for 5€ each or 12€, if you take 3.

Tables are located on two levels in small dining rooms but you could also try to pop in for a look if there is room by the bar counter. Reservations are for 2 1/2 hours which is just enough to eat three couse dinner. This is nowadays typical custome for popular “gourmet” bistros.

Started the dinner with Pastis, of course, Ricard. First hesitated a little bit to order ice cold aperitif, because if was freezing outside, around -13C degrees.

Ricard at Pastis - reijosfood.com

For starters we ordered Roquefort gratinated Bourgogne snails in pastis butter and Smoked mackerel, cucumber and fennel salad, marinated red onion.

Usually you get snails in snail pan where all snails are in small cups but Pastis served them in small open pan. Taste of Roquefort was perfect because if it would had dominated, starter would have been to salty. Mackarel was served with toast instead of brioche, as we asked it too be without lactose.

Snails at Pastis - reijosfood.comMackarel at Pastis - reijosfood.com

For main courses ordered only available fish portion Catch of the day Antiboise. Fish, “Cliff sole” was accompanied by tomato-based sauce/stew and by one of the 3 side dishes, Mixed salad with sherry vinegar, which had to be ordered separately. Also ordered large portion of Mussels á la Pastis with curry and Truffle salted french fries for side dish.

Fish was fried in oil and the level of maturity was perfect. It was a pity that it was over-salted. Mussels were smaller than you usually see, which was good as the big ones are chewy. About 10 had already came loose from the shells. Salt in fish and mussels under the broth were minor grievances, but took one quarter point out of the Food scores.

Fish at Pastis - reijosfood.comMussels and fries at Pastis - reijosfood.com

Dinner had to be ended with Calvados Domfrontains which is mix of apple and at least 30% pear. Had only tasted apple Calvados earlier and noticed that pear makes the flavor softer. Also ordered one House chocolate, which was truffle.

Calvados at Pastis - reijosfood.com

Restaurant or bistro Pastis is refreshing piece of French kitchen in Helsinki. Concept, which might by expanded to another locations, is French from decor to music. Chansons sang by Edith Piaf and check in a nice tin were the frosting for the French dinner.

Wines come mainly from France, of course, but it would be convenient to list also those which are available in glasses. Asked recommendations for wines for dishes ordered. Pinot Noir for snails was good choice but white wine for salty macarel not so felicitous. Riesling Vignoble d’E, Domaine Ostertag  from Alsace for both main courses was excellent choice.

Extra + for overall grade comes from the well planned and implemented French concept.

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

Pastis - reijosfood.comCheck at Pastis - reijosfood.com

http://www.pastis.fi/

https://fi-fi.facebook.com/pages/Ravintola-Pastis/249978811804861





Wine review: Château d’Arche 2006 – pairing with Runeberg’s tarte and cheeses

24 01 2014

Runeberg tart - reijosfood.com

How sweet white wine Château d’Arche 2006 pairs with traditional Finnish coffee bun, Runeberg cake or Runeberg’s tarte? And with Finnish and French cheeses?

Château d’Arche is located on the heights of the village of Sauternes in Southern Gironde.  This 40 hectare vineyard stretches across the prestigious Sauternes appellation. Wineyard produces only few wines with focus on sweet ones.

Chateau d'Arche - reijosfood.com

The grapes of the wine are Semillon and Sauvignon making the wine easy to enjoy. Wine could be stored even for 20 years if you have enough patience.

THE LOOK

Golden yellow, close to resin.

THE NOSE

Interesting observation or THE NOSE lied again. Found bitter almond, which was odd as it should not be there. Maybe piece of Runeberg cake on the small plate already mislead sense of smell. Anyway, honey and noble rot was there as they should be.

THE TASTE

As you can notice from the chart below wine is not so sweet as many of its cousins. But again taste of noble rot and apricot were obvious.

Facts and figures:

Alcohol: 14,00 %
Extract : 160 g/l
Acidity: 5,6 g/l
Sugar: 120 g/l
Energy : 140 kcal / 100 ml (590 kJ / 100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

First tasted wine with cheeses: Finnish blue cheese Peltola Blue and French ones; white cheese Levasseur Grand Livarot from Normandy and 16 months ripened organic Gryerere, Comte, from Jura mountains (on the left). Port wine is maybe the most common wine for cheeses but would say that Château d’Arche 2006 paired quite nicely. If you would have had more sweet white wine it would have destroyed the taste of cheeses. Of course port or red wines are more safe choises but can recommend this one for salty cheeses.

Cheeses - reijosfood.com

Then tasted wine with Runeberg cake. Cake is available only from mid January to 5th February, when the birthday of our national poet and writer J.L.Runeberg is celebrated. As cake includes punch as humectant, it really is challenging dessert for wines.

Runebergintorttu - reijosfood.com

Result: Runeberg cake requires more sweet wine like Tokaji or Eiswein which have around 200g/l sugar. Also as cake has some strong ingredients it requires stronger wine to accompany.

With or without wine, it is always pleasure to enjoy the Runeberg cake or two!

And when it comes to cheeses, would say it was unbeatable threesome. Livarot being maybe the best white cheese in the world.

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

http://chateau-arche.com/





Wine review: Matua Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012

19 01 2014

Matua Pinot Noir - reijosfood.com

I am not sure if THE NOSE lied but when wine was poured in to the glass it smelled first like butterscotch. After rotating the wine in the glass the scent changed totally! Any similar experiences with this wine?

Matua was the first wineyard in New Zealand to plant Sauvignon Blanc in 1969.  Their produced first bottle in 1974. However, this is not about Sauvignon Blancs, which is not our favourite grape. First wine review (not first wine enjoyed) 2014 concerns Pinot Noir.

Tested wine was Matua Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012. Wineyard claims that wine is it’s best Pinot so far.

THE LOOK

First of all the color of the label is different than usually on wine bottles, turquoise. Maybe that was the reason it caught my eye at Alko.

Wine itself is light red, close to mature cherry.

THE NOSE

This was surprising! Usually when tasting wines I do not smell the aroma of wine so carefully before rotating it. This time did and was surprised by the smell of butterscotch. The bouquet I did not expect to find from Pinot Noir. But it made the wine really fascinating and forced to focus on THE NOSE more specifically than ever.

After rotating the wine in the glass strongly, aroma changed significantly. Now we found cherry, more typical pinot noir characters and some tannins.

THE TASTE

Maybe tannins dominated, as acidity was quite low, because wine tasted a little bit acrid. Not that it hindered but that was the first feeling. Anyway, this wine was the most savory pinot noir ever tasted. As they are usually quite tawdry, Matua Marlborough Pinot Noir 2012 is not.

Facts and Figures:

Alcohol: 13,50 %
Extract : 30 g/l
Acidity: 5,4 g/l
Energy : 90 kcal / 100 ml (380 kJ / 100 ml)
Closure: metal screw cap

Tasted wine with asian food and match was perfect. Mixed flavors of strong spices and sweet seasonings are difficult combination for wines. Also paired well with pizza which was spiced with tabasco and jalopenos. Conclusion: wine suits better with spicy foods than avarage pinot noirs, mostly because of tannins.

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

http://www.matua.co.nz/en





Restaurant review: GOCE Bar & Kitchen – “gourmet” tapas in Helsinki

16 01 2014

Tapas at Goce - reijosfood.com

After vacation in Spain it was important to arrange smooth return to everyday life. Especially as winter arrived in Helsinki the same day. Therefore we decided to dine at new “gourmet” tapas place GOCE Bar & Kitchen.

Restaurant was re-opened in new premises in November 2013. We made reservation on 6th Jan and noticed couple of days later that a la carte list had shortened. Only two main courses and desserts. Reason why we decided to try a big bunch of tapas portions, which sounded delicious and were familiar from previous visits to Spain.

Chose 9 portions from the list. 10th, Grilled Secreto and Sofrito, was recommended by waitress. All portions looked well prepared when they arrived to the table.

Goce menu - reijosfood.com

First we got Pimientos de Padron, which were exactly as they should be. Warm, soft and not too salty.

Pimientos de Padron at Goce - reijosfood.com

Then arrived Gambas Plancha, see the burning flame in the middle of the plate! Delicious ones, but only three pieces.

Gambas Plancha at Goce - reijosfood.com

Annoying events started at this point.

As we were early diners, in fact the first ones, after restaurant had opened at 5PM, kitchen decided to prepare everything at once. That might be typical for affordable tapas bars, but at GOCE‘s price level, you expect to be able to enjoy warm dishes warm.

Our gambas were still uneaten when we got Patatas Bravas and Beetroot to the table. Both were delicious especially beetroot but we were now confused; which portions to eat next?

Potates and beetroot at Goce - reijosfood.com

We already had 4 dishes on the table and got 5th, PulpoOctopus. This one was not so successful as previous portions. It should have been more crisp or solid, but instead was too soft.

Pulpo at Goce - reijosfood.com

We managed to fill up our small plates in a hurry with mixed selection of 4 tapas portions but during we emptied plates came Boquerones, Chorizos, Iberico -pork and soon after that Green salad and Manchego cheese. It was easier to take a picture of all of them than to try photograph portions one by one.

Unfortunately we had to send back sausages and Iberico -pork because they were already cold when we started to focus to eat them. However, had tasted pork plate and did not want a replacement for that because meat pieces seemed to be mostly pigskin. Would not have done that, but waitress had encouraged us to order it.

Sausages were juicy as they should be and Manchego was ok. It could have been a little bit older compared to the price.

There was a pile of croutons on green salad which is odd, is it then green? As we were served fresh bread to start with, it would have been enough.

Goce tapas - reijosfood.com

Green salad at Goce - reijosfood.com

Restaurant and dining room are huge compared to any other bistros or tapas bars. Decoration is stylish, one of the most elegants in the city for concept GOCE has.

Goce Bar & Kitchen - reijosfood.comGoce - reijosfood.com

If we would have had enough time to enjoy tapas portions, GOCE Bar & Kitchen would have earned better scores for service. Waitress said that she tried to slow down the speed kitchen had. Therefore suggest to take couple of tapas to start with and then try main courses. Also would have appreciated if our plates would have been changed once or twice. We were asked if we want clean ones when we had only one piece of cheese left….

Would also hope that there would be more affordable choises for wines in the glass. At least found interesting basic tempranillo, Disco 2012, which paired well with all tapas portions.

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

http://goce.fi/





Restaurant reviews in Helsinki 2013 – breakthrough of “gourmet” bistros

10 01 2014

SPIS - reijosfood.comRestaurant Muru - reijosfood.com

Year 2013 ended up too soon. Did not have time to visit all those restaurants had planned. Anyway, breakthrough of “gourmet” bistros highlighted the year.

Bistros are relaxed, unformal dining spots with decent service and food.

In Helsinki, there has been established during couple of last years “gourmet” bistros, which compete with unique decoration, good service and well designed, delicious dishes. They also have short a la carte list and one or to menu alternatives. We could call some of these bistros restaurants, but part of them do not use that naming.

Example of “gourmet” food can be found from picture below which is taken at Spis. Whole portion consists of fresh vegetables but also of fish, which is uniquely prepared.

Salmon at Spies - reijosfood.com

As we were not able to visit all “gourmet” bistros in Helsinki, results were as follows:

1. Spis 13,50

2. Gastrobar Emo and Grotesk Winebar 13,25

3. Glogatan 4,  Meche and Muru 13,00

4. Farang  12,75

From these restaurants I would say Spis, Gastrobar Emo, Grotesk Winebar, Meche and Muru are so called “gourmet” bistros. Add also PureBistro which got 12,50 points and we can really call year 2013 “year of bistros”. 4 of the restaurants above have link to Michelin star restaurants, can you guess how?

Glogatan 4 is more restaurant than bistro and Farang serves asian gourmet kitchen, which you can not miss.

How Spis differs from other “gourmet” bistros? It serves greetings from kitchen between courses which others do not. That is one reason why it took the first place this year. It also has longer menus than others (full review at reijosfood.com)

Snacks - reijosfood.com

Why Grotesk Winebar succeeded although it is quite new? It serves rare delicacies which you do not get in other bistros. It also provides professional wine pairings with dishes (full review at reijosfood.com)

Quail - reijosfood.com

Why Gastrobar Emo earned 2nd place although it is one of the newest restaurants in Helsinki? It is partly owned by Pekka Terävä who owns Michelin star restaurant Olo. Olo might be the next 2 Michelin star restaurant as Chez Dominique closed down it’ doors.  (full review of Emo at reijosfood.com)

Halibut at Emo - reijosfood.com

Year 2012 results can be found from blog page Restaurant reviews – rankings.

Year 2014 will continue with review of “gourmet” bistro or tapas bar Goce which was opened in November 2013. We also might visit some of the most prestigious restaurants although “gourmet” bistros have modified restaurant field a lot.

Thanks for following my blog, commenting posts and liking at least some of them!





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 – Minos, piece of Greece in Helsinki

21 11 2013

Minos - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Minos is over 25 years old restaurant which serves traditional Greek food. For example you can get Tzatziki, Pita bread, Moussaka and of course Ouzo for aperitif. You can also here Greek spoken as waiters speak it to each other.

Minos has pleasant covered terrace which can be used also in winter time, as it is heated. We always choose to dine there because you can observe by-passers at the same time. In the summer Minos has it’s own spot in popular Kamppi shopping center terrace area. Note that restaurant is not open on Sundays.

Starters usually are the best part of the dinner which was true also this time. We ordered tsatsiki, marinated olives and dolmades (vine leaves stuffed with rice and herbs). But of course ouzo Plomari for aperitif; with ice it is perfect appetite initiator; Jamas!

Tsatsiki was excellent, be careful you do not eat a full stomach with fresh bread because it is just so delicious. Dolmades were warm as they should be and again with tsatsiki, perfect. Olives as starter may sound simple but the marinade made them juicy and appropriately salty.

Starters at Minos - reijosfood.com

For main courses ordered Catch of the day, grilled fresh fish which was Dorada and Tiger shrimps on skewer with garlic and lemon sauce. You can choose from 4 side dishes to supplement the main course. Alternatives are Baked potato wedges, potato gratin, rice or seasons braised vegetables. Also ordered Grilled pita bread which came after second request.

Gilt perch (Dorada) was palatable as it tasted like just caught from Mediterranean sea. Just a little bit over grilled but not too much as it did not bother. Tiger shrimp skewer was the weakest part of the dinner, a little bit too salty and vegetables were in fact the same as you could order separately as a side dish. Luckily chose potato gratin which was ok.

Dorada - reijosfood.comGiant shrimps - reijofood.com

Then for desserts Halva and Tiramisu with Metaxa brandy + Metaxa brandy.

Halva for dessert is interesting delicacy but as there are not so many options without lactose, tasted it. And if you like Halva, you would have liked this one also. Tiramisu is Italian dessert but Minos moistened it with brandy, that transforms it Greek dessert. But of course had to make sure that there would be enough moisture and therefore ordered just in case glass of Metaxa brandy.

Halva - reijosfood.comTiramisu - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Minos really is the piece of Greece in Helsinki! Even wine list consists of Greek wines which is partly good and partly not so good thing. Enjoyed white wine; 2009 Petra, Kir-Yanni. As you can see in the picture vintage is 2012, not 2009. Greek white wines pair perfeclty with Greek starters but for fish they are challenge due to lacking character. However, if you want to enjoy complete Greek package, it must include local wines.

Service was quick and polite. You might want to check menu before hand because waiters start asking for order soon after your arrival.

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

Petra wine - reijosfood.com

http://minos.fi/





Why Helsinki’s restaurant scene is as its hottest right now?

15 11 2013

Great article about Helsinki restaurants!

http://uk.lifestyle.yahoo.com/why-helsinkis-restaurant-scene-hottest-now-224400031.html

Can recommend both restaurants mentioned in the article. Reviews can be found by using search.

SPIS

Restaurant Spis - reijosfood.comSPIS - reijosfood.com

GROTESK WINEBAR

Quail - reijosfood.comFoie gras - reijosfood.com

Again good reason to visit Helsinki!





Restaurant review – Gastrobar Emo

1 11 2013

Gastrobar Emo - reijosfood.com

Gastrobar Emo is easy to step in to enjoy easygoing service and good food. Emo (Dam in english) was opened on the 21st of August 2013 in the same place where Michelin star restaurant Olo used to be. Owners are partly the same which should be a proof of excellent food experience.

There is also separate wine bar which provides opportunity to enjoy an aperitif or glass of wine. With drinks you can order snacks from bar menu. We visited wine bar after dinner, there is narrow corridor between dining room and bar but it also has separate entrance.

Emo Wine bar - reijosfood.comEmo Wine bar menu - reijosfood.com

Quite soon after you arrive you will get some snacks and fresh bread with celery butter which was really tasty. Brown paper bag is one way to serve bread but it would have been easier to take bread from bread basket.

Bread at Emo - reijosfood.com

You can choose your dinner from 3 “starters”, 4 “main courses” and 3 “desserts” up to assemblage of 6 foods. Our group decided to go for 3 courses and ordered first 2x FINNISH VENDACE’s and 2x WILD DUCK WITH RED CABBAGE AND APPLE.

Name Finnish vendaces might be misleading; we got Finnish fish but the way it was prepared was actually better than traditionally fried vendaces. Frying in oil instead of frying in a pan with butter made vendaces more crispy but not so greasy. On top of that side dishes were a perfect match.

Vendaces at Emo - reijosfood.com

Next courses were 3x GREENLAND HALIBUT WITH POTATOES “GOBBAS GÅRD” and 1x WILD DUCK WITH RED CABBAGE AND APPLE.

Halibut was bull’s eye. Cooked to a turn and two different ways to serve potato complemented fish nicely.

If you take wild duck for starter it is served on stone plate, which is clever idea to convert “main course” to “starte”r. There was three different ways to serve duck and again duck paired perfectly with cabbage and apple.

Halibut at Emo - reijosfood.comWild duck at Emo - reijosfood.com

And for dessert 3x EUROPEAN CHEESE SORTIMENT and for me second main course 1x GREENLAND HALIBUT WITH POTATOES “GOBBAS GÅRD”

There were 3 different cheeses on the plate: blue cheese, cow and goat cheese. Apple and onion conserves supplemented taste of cheeses nicely.

Cheese plate at Emo - reijosfood.com

One kind request; please make portions a little bit bigger 🙂 Or maybe intention is to eat at least 5 portions which hopefully are not too small. Otherwise Emo manages food part fine and earns a place as laid-back little brother of Olo.

We asked recommendation for dry riesling and waitress suggested MAX FERDINAND RICHTER MülHEIMER SONNENLAY RIESLING ZEPPELIN 2012 MOSEL from Germany which we ordered. After tasting, as wine seemed not to be dry, asked for the amount of sugar. 35g for “dry” is quite a lot, but wine itself was basically OK. A positive thing is the pricing of wines; most of them were less expensive than they usually are in a fine dining restaurants like Emo is.

Waitering was thoughtful and professional but we could have managed without overflowing twitter.

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

http://emo-ravintola.fi/en/





Restaurant review: Grotesk Winebar – but not grotesque at all

11 10 2013

Foie gras - reijosfood.com

Name Grotesk for restaurant may sound odd especially in Swedish, but regarding reader’s votes in local wine magazine, Viinilehti, it has the best wine bar in Helsinki and 2nd best in Finland.
After this review we also have new reijosfood.com leader in Helsinki, rankings can be found on page “Restaurant reviews – rankings”.

Restaurant Grotesk is fine dining restaurant with affordable prices and relaxed athmosphere located in Ludviginkatu 10. Guide Michelin has granted Bib Gourmand -rating to Grotesk Meatbar as a proof of good value for money and it is partly owned by same the chef’s as Michelin star restaurant Demo.

Instead of Meatbar we visited Grotesk Winebar, which has 3 small dining rooms and enjoyed 8 tapas dishes with wines chosen by sommelier Pekka Koiranen. And what a fireworks; you seldom see so many rare prestige delights one after the other.

Grotesk Winebar - reijosfood.com

First two portions were served with semi-dry Chenin Blanc 2007 from Loire. Was a little bit skeptic about semi-dry white wine but it did not differ much from dry. Perfect choice for both two first portions.

Dinner started with Oyster with tapioca and pomegranate. Oyster was easy to eat and had enough citrus acidity. Then we were served Foie gras with briosse, beetroot pyre and mustard ice cream. If you happen to like foie gras (it is not everyones favourite for many reasons) you would like this combination. Mustard ice cream was excellent realization.

Oyster - reijosfood.comFoie gras - reijosfood.com

Next two portions were served with dry Riesling from Austria. Totally different sense of taste due to minerals and acidity but well chosen white wine for next dishes.

Smoked scallop with quinoa plate was brought in covered by smoking glass vase which was upside down. When the vase was lifted enjoyable smell of smoke surrounded plate. Pity that I was not prepared to take a photo. Whitefish with red pepper crumb smelted in mouth, it was like mince as it was so soft. Both portions were superb!

Scallop - reijosfood.comWhitefish - reijosfood.com

First red wine served was Pinot Noir; medium-bodied with light red color.

Next delicacy with Pinot Noir was Sweetbread with black trumpet mushroom and shiitake. Sweetbread was perfectly cooked and fungus paired nicely with it. After that came Pork belly with cabbage. Some at the restaurant really did eat the pork lard but we did not, otherwise portion was excellent.

Sweetbread - reijosfood.comPork belly - reijosfood.com

Forth wine and second red wine was full-bodied andwell balanced Garnache from Spain. Again perfect choise to complement the taste of pleasure.

Quail legs were eaten with fingers. It would have been impossible to remove delicious and crisp meat with fork and knife. Tapas dinner was ended with Chicken liver which was yammy and well prepared. 8 tapas is not too much and they cost 44 €, affordable compared to quality and layout of portions.

Quail - reijosfood.comChicken liver - reijosfood.com

Grotesk Winebar earns 5- for overall grade because of ambitious set of voluptuous portions with affordable prices. Portions are really small but give you a chance to taste eats which usually are available in Michelin star restaurants but at much more higher prices. Our dinner took 3,5 hours, so restaurant is not fast food place. You really have time to enjoy the food and the wines or the wines and the food depending how you want to stress your dinner.

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

http://www.grotesk.fi/en/winebar-2/





Wine review: Louis Roederer Brut Premier

28 09 2013

Champagne - reijosfood.com

Louis Roederer Champagnes were established 1776 in Reims and they still are a independent family owned company. Wineyard produces also one of the most precious champagnes in the world, Cristal.

Tasted champagne with crayfish was Louis Roederer Brut Premier. Grapes in this champagne are 40% Pinot noir – 40% Chardonnay – 20% Pinot Meunier. Amount of chardonny raises the value of this champagne.

THE LOOK

Bottle box is elegant with simple patterns.

Wine looks pale yellow with some greenish shade. It is lighter than champagnes usually are.

Champagne - reijosfood.com

THE NOSE

You can distinguish scent of fruits like apple and pear. Bouquet is elegant without yeast which unfortunately can be smelled out in too many champagnes.

THE TASTE

First taste feels a little bit sticky with big bubbles. Second taste brings out pleasant flavor without savors.

Fact and figures:

Alcohol: 12.00 %
Extract : 29 g/l
Acidity: 7.7 g/l
Sugar: 11 g/l
Energy : 80 kcal / 100 ml (330 kJ / 100 ml)
Closure: natural cork

Louis Roederer Brut Premier pairs with white fish and white meats and escecially with crayfish. For aperitif it is also perfect choice. You could choose this champagne to be enjoyed from starter to dessert.

Crayfishandchampagne - reijosfood.com

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4-/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK (you can not value the price of a present)

http://www.champagne-roederer.com/

Champagne - reijosfood.com





Restaurant review: Fishmarket

22 09 2013

Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

Fishmarket, restaurant for seafood lovers! Could be the best of the best fish restaurants in Helsinki, if………

Restaurant Fishmarket was re-opened in May 2013. It serves wide selection of sea and fresh water cucine like fish, roe, lobster, craysfish, oysters and shellfish. If you like to eat meat choose some other restaurant because there is no single meat food on the a la carte list.

Fishmarket is located in Torikorttelit next to the Market Square (Kauppatori) on the ground floor of the same building as restaurant Sasso (see Sasso review by using search). New decor is modern and luminous after change in ownership and property renowation.

Fishmarket - reijosfood.comFishmarket - reijosfood.com

You could choose from different kind of seafood platters and even eat those at seafood bar and kind of recommend to do that.

We decided to choose “basic” fish portions which meant this time long waiting times. We chose one Helsinki Menu consisting of Finnish fish goodies; for starter Baltic herring, cheese from sour milk and whitefish roe, for main course Grilled pike perch from Inkoo, pumpkin, sage dressing and for dessert Chocolate fondant, black currant with vanilla ice cream. Another menu included for starter Finnish vendace roe with brioche, sour cream and onion, for main course Catch of the day with a price of the day which was Smoked trout with carrot and salvia sauce and for dessert mixed combination of milkless products which was not so easy task for the restaurant.

Dinner started with kitchens greetings Whitefish tartar which was excellent and served in small glass jar. Unfortunately starters were served right away after we got the jars. So we had to keep them in our hands while plates were put on the table. Timing mistake from the restaurant.

Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

Sweet archipelago bread and home made yeast bread with salted butter were awesome.

Fishmarket - reijosfood.com

Both starters were perfect. Baltic herring was not too salty and side dishes complemented the flavor well. Same but odd way to set the food on the edge of the plate as was in Sasso. Finnish roes always require black pepper which now had to be asked as it was not served with portion.

Fishmarket - reijosfood.comFishmarket - reijosfood.com

Main course dishes were prepared with skill, not overcooked and hot. Pumpkins with pike perch matched well, in the future must use pumpkin more ofter when cooking at home. Think waiter said that with trout there should be carrot pyre but maybe it included milk and was left out.

Fishmarket - reijosfood.comFishmarket - reijosfood.com

Helsinki Menu chocolate fondant was scrumptious. Double the size and you are there! Waiters were not exactly up to date which kind of milk was used; therefore mixed dessert for one of us. Again food was set on the edge of the plate.

Fishmarket - reijosfood.comFishmarket - reijosfood.com

One extremely positive thing is the wide selection of riesling wines. Too often you have to choose from few alternatives because chardonnays and savignon blancs dominate wine lists, but at Fishmarket you really can celebrate with rieslings. Chose Gun Metal Riesling Eden valley 2009 from Hewitson because of two reasons. First reason was the name Gun Metal which describes the grey-coloured stone amongst the vineyard, nothing to do with guns. Second reason was that Hewitson is more known of it’s red wines, not whites. But think Hewitson should stay in red wines because this riesling was too “soft” lacking acidity.

Fishmarket has all prerequisites to be the best seafood restaurant in Helsinki. Food was excellent but maybe one waiter was missing because waitering took so long time. Therefore it might make sense to order platters for starter or main course because you can pass the time by opening crabs.

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

http://www.fishmarket.fi/en








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