Restaurant review: Ragu

26 01 2019

Restaurant Ragu opened its doors April 15, 2014, respecting the history of renovated Neo-Renaissance house in the 1890s. Restaurant has several dining rooms due to old building, but it makes the spaces more private although one could call the area open concept. Success has continued since opening and Ragu was fully booked when we dined there on nice October Saturday. Although restaurant promotes still separate bar, it is reserved for diners nowadays.

Food is Scandinavian although one could think it is Italian due to name. Anyway, all wines come from Italy (except Champagnes).

Had been in Ragu several years ago but as they now serve Ludari menu also as vegan decided to dine there again. Ordered also pairing wines in order to test how well Italian wines match with Nordic cuisine. The name of the menu comes from the street restaurant is located, Ludviginkatu, I believe.

After placing the order freshly baked 4 different breads and 4 different spreads were brought to the table.

 

Menu was built around fresh Finnish ingredients, lot’s of vegetables were used. Vegan and standard menu outlook’s did not differ that much which means that kitchen really thought about dishes.

 

 

Second starter was impressive. When jar was opened, smoke rose up. Unfortunately could not catch that in the picture. Vegan version was based on roasted cauliflower.

 

Two main courses were maybe a little bit too much as after first one you already feel full. Both vegan and standard menu included pasta which fills the stomach.

 

Desserts were sweet and tasty. Also the paring wines were well chosen as they were not the sweetest ones.

 

Food at Ragu is well prepared, elegantly set and delicious. Finnish-Italian fusion cuisine works well by combining best parts of both. Only if there had been more depth of flavors and spices grade for food would have been close to 5.

Waitresses take orders and serve drinks but you can meet chef’s and confectiners as they bring some of the portions to the tables. The contents of each portion was explained well and it is needed, if you choose surprise menu as we did.

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





Restaurant review: Kappeli

9 07 2017

Restaurant Kappeli was opened to the public 1867 as summer restaurant but since 1970′s it has been open all year round. Latest renowation was in autumn 2011 still keeping same traditions in building structure.

In the summer you can also dine at the outside terrace, which is at the end of the building behind main terrace. If you want to sit in the middle of the main terrace but inside, ask for oriel window table for two. It is small but charming and one can even watch bands and singers at the stage opposite to the restaurant. We dined in that small glass walled space on Mid-Summer Eve.

Kappeli - reijosfood.com

Menu today looks tempting and first time it included vegan dish. But as it was Mid-Summer, it was nice to start the dinner with Vodka Martini. Unfortunately, as drink order was taken at the same time as food orders, starter came earlier than aperitif.

For starters ordered Kappeli’s Green salad and Prawn salad and smoky chilli dressing Citrus and tarragon marinated prawns, fried potatoes, samphire, cherry tomatoes seasoned with sorrel and egg.

Prawns were fresh and tasty. Potatoes were extremely delicious, they were cooked somehow differently than ever seen before. I do no recommend to try to spoon the tomatoes with fork, they might surprise you…

As green salad was so basic, no picture or story.

As main courses had Chargrilled whitefish, fried scallops and a fish roe and crème fraîche sauce Almond potato purée seasoned with dill, grilled spring cucumber and carrots and Broad bean and tomato ragù Deep-fried kale, fried mushrooms, macerated mini plum tomatoes and vegan cheese.

Long names for portions and all ingredients well listed.

Whitefish is favorite Finnish fish, light and not greasy at all like salmon. Side dishes were delicious and paired well with the main dish.

Ragu was made of Finnish invention called “Härkis“. It is made from broad beans and also available in the supermarkets. Vegan dishes are not basically meant to look or taste like meat, but this one was made so well that could have thought it was minced meat like ragu usually consists of. With spaghetti would be perfect, made like that.

 

For wine had organic Savia Viva from Pares Balta. Paired well with all dishes enjoyed. Take a look at the label! You can see some historic pictures from Finland, including Kappeli.

Kappeli is a perfect place to try Finnish kitchen in the center of events. Most of the diners are tourists especially now when it was Mid-Summer Eve.

Food was the best one so far compared to previous visits. Especially ragu surprised.

Service was polite and professional, but as mentioned earlier, aperitif was brought too late.

 

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

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

 

 





Restaurant review: Bronda

11 02 2016

Bronda - reijosfood.com

Bronda, the 4th restaurant in Helsinki by Tomi Björck and Matti Wikberg, opened it’s doors in April, 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.

The lounge bar is open until late and it offers view to Park Esplanade. You can also dine there in even more relaxed athmosphere. Today bar is one of the most popular in Helsinki.

Bronda name comes from the building restaurant is located.

Bronda - reijosfood.com

Bronda’s dishes reflect Europe and particularly countries Spain, Italy and France. Portions are meant to be shared but you can also choose your own dishes.

For food chose Menu Esplanad with not so cheap red wine Hewitson the Mad Hatter from Australia. Wine list is versatile and somehow too luxorious compared to decoration and atmosphere but on the other hand you can enjoy wines you do not necessarily get anywhere else.

Dinner started with Prawn cocktail and Black Sesame Caesar. Would say sophisticated version of prawn cocktail which usually is covered with mayo. Apple gave lighter taste for already delicious starter.

Bronda I - reijosfood.com

Second dish was Local Beef Tar Tar & Mustard-Dashi. If you are afraid of tar tar’s you should try this one. Oriental spices make the dining experience pleasant.

Beef tar tar at Bronda - reijosfood.com

3rd dish served was Baby back rib.  Ribs were juicy and tender. Aioli was great but who can eat all that which was in the plate. Had maybe one spoonful.

Ribs at Bronda - reijosfood.com

4th and 5th dish were served at the same time; Fish stew and Risotto. Must say that risotto was too salty but otherwise very tasty. Stew included salmon fish and mussels and as it was prepared bouillabaise style, it really was scrumptious.

Fish stew and risotto at Bronda - reijosfood.com

Dessert was Tiramisu, but unfortunately forgot to take picture. It was tasty and perfect ending for dinner

Bronda was almost full when entering for 18.00 setting and was still full when leaving.

Relaxed athmosphere and loud background noise make restaurant perfect place for group gatherings. If you do not want to eat, it is worth to visit the bar.

Bronda bar - reijosfood.com

Compared to visit to restaurant over year ago both food and service had improved. Waiter and waitresses serving our table were well trained but also genuine.

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

http://ravintolabronda.fi/en/

 

 





Restaurant review: Kiila Food and Bar – revisit after almost 3 years

14 09 2015

Kiila_window table- reijosfood.com

Restaurant Kiila was opened on 2nd March 2012. Restaurant is open from morning until night offering breakfast, brunch on Sundays and public holidays, lunch, dinner and bar services.

Location for restaurant is one the the best in Helsinki, just opposite of department store Stockmann. And views to two directions give diners opportunity to watch shoppers and by-passers. The restaurant serves breakfast, Sunday brunch, lunch and dinners.

Visited third time Kiila Food and bar. Recent change was that bar after entrance was also for diners. That part of restaurant is called KiilaBurger and a la carte area has name Kiila A’la Carte. In the summer time terrace attract thirsty customers with drink offers, usually sparkling.

For starter ordered Salmon Cheviche Lime and citrus marinated salmon, coriander, mango and parsnip chips.

I had not eaten earlier combination which included salmon and mango. These two paired well and maybe alos partly because of herbs and rye bread. Really promising start for the dinner.

Kiila_starter - reijosfood.com

 

For main courses had Ribs and potato wedges with coleslaw and bbq sauce.

Ribs were excellent and there was plenty of them. Almost no grease at all which meant that you could easily eat them without chewing fat. Potatoes were not exactly wedges but taste and crispness were ok.

Kiila_main course - reijosfood.com

The prices of wines are affordable. Almost all wine bottles are under 40€, which is not the fact in most restaurants in Helsinki.

Had glass (or two…) of Zonnebloem Shiraz from South Africa. Wine paired perfectly with ribs.

 

The food at Kiila has improved from previous visits which quarentees that it does not have to wait me 3 years for re-visit. And remember always ask for window table.

 

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

Ravintola Kiila

 





Restaurant reviews in Helsinki 2014 – many new restaurants opened, many closed

13 01 2015

It is time to summarize restaurant year 2014 in Helsinki by reijosfood.com!

Many restaurants visited, not enough many, but below you can find reijosfood.com TOP “dozen” ranking of visited restaurants. All reviews are opinions of at least two diners. Bon appetit!

Lamb at Demo - reijosfood.com

Demo

Pil red wine at Demo - reijosfood.com

Demo

Demo 14+

Pastor, Rikhards Gastropub, PureBistro and Havis 13,5

Pirate, Copas y Tapas, Strindberg and Ragu 13,00

Gastrobar Emo, Yume and NJK  12,75

Whole list can be found at page “Restaurant reviews – rankings”

Demo proved to be real Michelin star restaurant and took the first place, food and service were perfect.

Pastor with Peruvian cuisine, Rikhards Gastropub and Italian restaurant Ragu were opened 2014, which means that there is still place for good restaurants in Helsinki. But Rikhards informed just recently that they are renewing concept and will reopen in February 2015.

Pekka Koiranen at Pastor - reijosfood.com

Pastor

Starters at Rikhards - reijosfood.com

Rikhards Gastropub

Vitello tonnato at Ragu - reijosfood.com

Ragu

Havis and Pirate offered excellent Christimas Dinner and Christmas Eve experiences and improved rankings a lot due to that. Visited Havis restaurant twice last year.

Salmon at Havis - reijosfood.com

Havis

Pirate

Pirate

PureBistro and Gastrobar Emo continue with right path like Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants should be.

Perch at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

PureBistro

Rainbow trout at Emo - reijosfood.com

Gastrobar Emo

Copas y Tapas has Spanish touch and Yume serves delicious Asian cuisine.

Tapas plate at Copas y Tapas - reijosfood.com

Copas y Tapas

Salmon at Yume - reijosfood.com

Yume

NJK is summer island restaurant worth to visit due to building and location.

NJK - reijosfood.com

NJK

Lamb at NJK - reijosfood.com

NJK

 

From last year TOP list Spis, Muru and Farang were not visited but need to do that 2015! Already hungry?

————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

2013 rankings were (*restaurant has closed):

1. Spis 13,50

2. Gastrobar Emo and Grotesk Winebar* 13,25

3. Glogatan 4*,  Meche* and Muru 13,00

4. Farang  12,75

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

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





Restaurant review: Pirate Helsinki – Christmas buffet 2014

20 12 2014

Santa Claus - reijosfood.com

Santa Claus at Pirate Helsinki

Traditional Finnish Christmas buffet usually includes freshly salted fishes, roes, Christmas ham, casseroles and rosolli (beetroot, pickled cucumber, apple, carrot and whipped cream). Restaurant Pirate Helsinki serves instead of “basic” christmas food many rare delicacy traditional dishes.

Pirate Helsinki served 6th time Christmas buffet in cozy and vivacious athmosphere. This was our second visit in a row. Decision to reserve table was made right after our first visit last year.

Again, one of the most famous Finnish chef’s Markus Maulavirta, was helping in the kitchen.

Markus Maulavirta - reijosfood.com

Menu is unfortunately only in Finnish but it includes for instance herrings, roes, smoked fishes, game dishes and different type of side dishes. For dessert you can choose Finnish cheeses and sweet desserts.

Pirate Christmas restaurant menu - reijosfood.com

Only dish served to the table, first on the menu, Mushroom-truffle soup, was delicious.

Soup at Pirate  - reijosfood.com

All other foods and dishes were on the buffet tables. Because of the wide selection of dishes available, I am not going to bore you by writing detailed description and review of each piece of food tasted. Instead, picture is worth of thousand words.

Pirate buffet - reijosfood.comPirate buffet - reijosfood.com

Smoked Salmon at Pirate - reijosfood.com

Main courses at Pirate - reijosfood.com

Dessert Buffet at Pirate - reijosfood.com

Buffets can be insidious, you can eat too much and you notice it only after you have finished dinner. But if you decide just to taste small pieces of each food, then you can survive.

Pirate manages well in serving Christmas buffet dinner. In the summer time going is more simple but as relaxed.

One + more for the overall grade, if wine list would have been as luxorious as buffet. Three white and red wines do not necessarily pair with all available savory foods. We had for white wine Petit Chablis, which is enough “neutral” for most of the dishes. Of course beer would be one option as it is quite common drink with christmas time.

Petit Chablis

See you next year again!

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

Merry Christmas - reijosfood.com

Pirate – Etusivu.





Restaurant review: Gastrobar Emo – Michelin Bib Gourmand status

23 11 2014
Gastrobar Emo

Gastrobar Emo

 

Gastrobar Emo provides easygoing service and good food. Emo (Dam in english) was opened in August 2013 in the same place where Michelin star restaurant Olo used to be. Owners are also partly the same. Emo earned Michelin Bib Gourmand status quite soon after opening, which is a proof of quality food and reasonable prices.

Gastrobar Emo - reijosfood.com

Gastrobar Emo at Kasarimikatu

 

Emo - reijosfood.com

Gastrobar Emo dining room

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.

Emo Wine bar - reijosfood.com

Emo wine bar

Quite soon after you arrive you will get fresh bread, but only one slice for each diner.

Bread bag at Emo - reijosfood.com

Paper bag for bread

We also ordered some Snacks with glasses of Taittinger. Unfortunately some bubbles had already dissapeared, because we got the last drops from the bottle.

Taittinger at Emo - reijosfood.com

Champagne Taittinger

For snacks we had Salami, which is actually basic salami slices and Dried tuna, which was delicious with mayonnaise. There are about 8 different alternatives to choose from, each cost you 4€. Good way to start the dinner.

Salami at Emo - reijosfood.com

Snacks – salami

 

Tuna at Emo - reijosfood.com

Snacks – dried tuna

 

You can choose your dinner from 13 different choises, each cost 10€. The sizes of portions are like starters, except new main courses, which could also be shared. Sharing food portions is THE TREND now, but we decided to order Salt baked Rainbow trout just for one.

Our dinner started with Potato pancake with whitefish roe and warm smoked salmon and Roasted saithe with vegetables.

Pancakes or blinis with roe are usually top class starters and so there were also at Emo. Excellent combination, really worth to try. Saithe was well roasted, but included a little bit too much salty ingredients like olives and capers. However, tomatoes softened the taste to a turn.

Blini ar Emo - reijosfood.com

Potato pancakes with whitefish roe and smoked salmon

 

Sei at Emo - reijosfood.com

Roasted saithe

 

Next came the fish! Preparing local Finnish fish under salt cover is really rare at restaurants in Helsinki. And this one was bull’s eye! Right cooking, not over or under, just perfect. Some add on’s like fried potatoes and green salad was there, but focus was on fish.

Second “starter” was Shellfish paella, excellent composite of small octopus, clam and rice.

Rainbow trout at Emo - reijosfood.com

Salt baked rainbow trout

Emon kirjolohi - reijosfood.com

Rainbow trout

 

Paella at Emo - reijosfood.com

Shellfish paella

Third “starter” was Piglet with sauerkraut and apple compote. Sauerkraut was hidden under three pieces of meat pieces. Nice and soft composite.

Hoped that this dish would have arrived a little bit earlier because rainbow trout was almost eaten while waiting piglet.

Pork at Emo- reijosfood.com

Piglet

Fourth and last “starter” was Charcoal grilled horse skewer with mayonnaise. Meat was a little bit dry, but taste of charcoal is always attractive.

Horse at Emo - reijosfood.com

Horse skewer

We ordered wine, which was suggested on the blackboard. Dry and fruit riesling, Boeckel, from Alsace, France paired well with seafood. For meats ordered glass of suggested Merlot which paired well with piglet and horse.

Riesling at Emo - reijosfood.com

Boeckel riesling

Waitering by about 5 different waitresses/waiters was professional. Saithe had to be changed, because it was first served with one ingredient we were asked to leave away.

All seafoods are close to 5, especially salt baked fish earns special note. 4 dishes from the list is enough, 3 might leave you hungry.

Gastrobar Emo is Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant and it deserves to be such.

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

Home – Ravintola EMO





Restaurant review: Rikhards Gastropub – Second visit 2014

1 11 2014
Rikhard's Gastropub - reijosfood.com

Rikhard’s Gastropub

Our second visit was 6 months after opening. This review focuses on Menu of the day, which two of us tasted. The price for menu is 49€, which might open up door for Michelin Bib Gourmand label.

If you want to read more about restaurant and last visit please click Rikhards | Search Results | Restaurant and wine epicure

Rikhards Gastropub - reijosfood.com

A la carte menu included most of the portions, which were on it 6 months ago. From starter or snacks section Chicken wings and New potatoes with Haugesund herring had dissappeared. It is a pity, because can not remember better tasting wings anywhere.

Had to start the dinner again with POP CORN which last time was pleasant surprise. The consistent excellent quality of this delicious apetizer was still there. Seaweed and chicken skin served with sesame, soy and truffle sour cream is a perfect combination.

Pop Corns - reijosfood.com

Menu of the day included for starter Mussels, for main course Beef tenderloin and for dessert sweet dish.

Moules in white wine sauce with thyme, garlic, cream, bacon and butter were scrumptious because of sauce and add-ons. Mussels are enjoyable anyway, but when they are cooked in a stock or more like a soup, they really make your mouth drooling. You can buy this portion also as main course, which is one option to enjoy shell fish.

Starter was served with ”friend fries”, garlic mayonnaise, spicy peanut butter sauce, and toasted rustic bread.

Mussels - reijosfood.comDinner table at Rikhards

Main course Beef tenderloin was served with French fries, green beans seasoned with bacon, Béarnaise sauce and fresh green salad. Amount of meat was extravagant. I can not remember that would have ever got so huge amount of beef tenderloin or any other meat anywhere.

After eating that pile of meat with delicious bearnaise sauce and glass of red wine, dinner could have ended there. Therefore no pictures about dessert although had to, of course, eat it.

Beef tenderloin at Rikhards - reijosfood.com

 

For wine we chose WIN WIN from German weingut von Winning. Elegant bouquet and balanced taste paired well with mussels and codfish.

Waiter at Rikhard's - reijosfood.com

Riesling at Rikhards - reijosfood.com

Two of us had Torskrygg for main course. Picture on the left is from last visit and on the right from this visit. Excellent dish again, maybe the sauce included now some lactose, as it was left away.

Torskrygg at Rikhards - reijosfood.comTorskrygg at Rikhards - reijosfood.com

 

Food at Rikhards Gastropub was again excellent. You get with only 49€ excellent gourmet dinner, if you choose Menu of the day.

Service was again professional and polite. Gentlemen serving us did great job and get special points for outfit.

Had to improve grade even though scores were high already last time.

It seems that Restamax is actual owner as restaurant webpage is now located on their pages.

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

Rikhards | Ravintola.fi

 





Restaurant review: El Greco – Greek cuisine in Helsinki

19 10 2014

 

El Greco - reijosfood.com

Restaurant El Greco

El Greco was opened in April 2014 in the same building as restaurant Ragu. Restaurant serves traditional Greek food and Greek wines. In the summer there has been some evenings with live music, which at least we have missed. Mandolin in the picture was just for our amusement.

Greek dinner must start with Ouzo accompanied by some ice cubes and water. Fresh bread with olive oil also is a must, small olive oil bottle hidden under bread slices made experience more personal.

Ouzo - reijosfood.com

Cheese pie at El Greco - reijosfood.com

Dolmades at El Greco - reijosfood.com

 

For main courses chose FISH OF THE DAY Fried zander or whitefish fillet, sauce from fresh tomatoes and SUVLAKI KOTOPULO Chicken and vegetables skewered on a spit, lemon & olive oil sauce.

Fish was zander or pike perch, which is rare in Greek kitchen, but we are in Finland. Fish was perfectly fried and tomato flavor in sauce matched well.

Chicken pieces in skewer were soft, not dry at all, which is too often typical for souvlakis. We shared fried potatoes but actually you did not need those. And without them main courses were extremely healthy.

Zander at El Greco- reijosfood.com

Souvlaki at El Greco - reijosfood.com

 

And for dessert to digest the food some Mango sorbet. Two sorbet balls are quite a lot to be eaten, but anyway excellent food melter.

Sorbet at El Greco - reijosfood.com

 

For wine restaurant owner suggested Kanenas white wine from Chardonnay grapes produced by Tsantali wineyards. The shape of the bottle is not typical, it is lower and more stylistic. Bouquet of wine was mild, you just recognized chardonnay. Also the taste was light but wine paired well with starters and main courses.

Greek wine - reijosfood.com

 

El Greco earns to be named best Greek restaurant in Helsinki when it comes to food. Dining area consists of three dining rooms; one with views to Ludviginkatu, one smaller in the middle and one under covered glass terrace. Only Greek music is played on the background, naturally.

But maybe we are used to a little bit more worn and more noisy tavernas, which we have visited during holidays in Greece. El Greco is located in the same building as Ragu with similar outlook (you can actually see Ragu terrace in the background). Building suits well for Ragu, but is it too solemn for Greek restaurant? Maybe not. If you dine there, share your thoughts. We are going to visit El Greco anyway again.

El Greco terrace - reijosfood.com

 

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

English — El Greco

Tsantali.





Restaurant review: Putte’s Bar & Pizza

28 09 2014
Salami pizza - reijosfood.com

Pizza Salami

Putte’s Bar & Pizza is located in the center of Helsinki city at Kalevankatu. It is easy to walk past, because there is only small signboard telling the existence of combination of bar and nightclub. Interior is also unpretentious, even rugged.

Putte's bar & pizza - reijosfood.com

We arrived between lunch and dinner time and for a while the bar was almost empty, more staffer than customers. I am not sure, if this affected the quality of pizzas, but have to say waited something else. Expectations were quite high because couple of local journals (for instance Nyt) had chosen pizza’s of this place the best ones in the city.

Pizza list is short and it should change regularly. Ingredients seemed to be creative and even some names like Silence of the Lambs (remember the movie….?). Positive thing is that mozzarella used comes from Italy. Story also tells that pizza base is unique and made from best flours after detailed studies in Italy and USA.

Pizza list on 26th September

Margherita
tomato, mozzarella, basil

Puttenesca
tomato, mozzarella, anchovies, olives, capers, garlic, chili, basil

Chevre-Aubergine
chevre, aubergine, tomato, mozzarella, rucola

Salami
tomato, mozzarella, salami

Funghi
mushrooms, mozzarella, rucola

Quattro Formaggi
Peltola Blue, Kolattu goat’s cheddar, Valio Emmental, ÅCA Kastelholm, tomato, rucola

Silence of the Lambs
lamb with north-african spices, tomato, mozzarella, rucola

We chose Salami and Funghi pizzas. Appearance of the pizza’s seemed to be delicious but….

Salami Napoli (was it, I am not sure?) pieces were quite thick and some parts tasted too much for pepper. Or was there too much pepper in some parts of pizza base? Anyway, on the pizza base there was too much salami, tomato sauce and cheese, which made the pizza quite pulp. I would rather use Salami Picante in this type of pizza in order to add some flavor.

Mushrooms were replaced by chanterelles which might sound sumptuous. But as all “funghi’s” were complete, even the big ones, chewing of them was not so pleasurable. Rucola was fresh and good-looking, sometimes this salad can be too thin and contains mostly rucola arms.

Salami pizza at Puttes bar - reijosfood.comFunghi pizza - reijosfood.com

Putte’s Bar & Pizza is primarly bar and hot spot. Pizza’s are add-on and actually only food you can get. Wide wine list raises overall grade. That is not typical for pizza places. Had excellent glass of Ripasso with salami pizza.

As you have to order pizza and drinks mainly from the bar counter, have not reviewed service. However, we were served by three different waitresses/waiters behind the bar and when pizza’s were brought to the table. These encounters were likeable.

REVIEW:  PIZZA 2/5 – SERVICE N/A – OVERALL GRADE 2,5/5





Restaurant review: Demo – Michelin star since 2007

31 08 2014

 

Demo logo. - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Demo is a about 40 -seat Michelin star restaurant that opened it’s doors January 2003. Demo serves high class food combined with personal and friendly service. Restaurant goal is to offer a chance to top quality dining, in a relaxed and cozy environment. Means that Demo is the most casual Michelin star restaurant in Helsinki.

Demo earned it’s first Michelin star in 2007 and has been able to keep it for 7 years in a row. Restaurant is open only in the evenings from Tuesday to Saturday. You have to choose from daily menu between 4, 5, 6 or 7 dishes menu, which is well-thought set of the best dishes restaurant cooks innovate daily. You can also order wine pairings instead of bottle or glass of wine chosen by sommelier.

We decided to enjoy six course dinner with suggested wines. Actual plan was five but luckily we chose six because otherwise we would have missed best course, king prawns. For aperitf we ordered glasses of house champagne, Gosset Grande Reserve Brut, which was excellent choice.

Before first dish of the menu, we were served Greetings from kitchen;  salmon, clam, roe and avocado creme. Perfect kick-off for the dinner. Also got some fresh, delicious sunflower seed bread and carrot brioche with ashed butter.

Demo kitchen greeting - reijosfood.comBreat at Demo - reijosfood.com

First course was masterpiece. Sherry flavored broth was poured at the table on top of foie gras, pork and apple. Taste of sherry was mild, but maybe it would have nominated too much, if flavor would have been stronger.

Wine for this course was French dry white wine, produced from chenin blanc grapes. Perfect pairing!

Demo starter - reijosfood.com

Second course consisted of reindeer and beetroot, combination of salty meat and partly sweet root. Pieces of reindeer carpaccio and cooked ones were delicious, carpaccio was soft as it should be. Also beetroot matched nicely with meat. Would say that best parts of Finnish food ingredients were combained in this dish.

Interesting, but successful wine choice with reindeer and beetroot was Château Miraval Côtes de Provence rosé. This “Brangelina” dry (not the driest) rose wine matched especially well because portion was partly salty and partly sweet. I was wondering, if red wine would have suited better, but maybe not because of sweetness of beetroot. Wine review in previous post.

Reindeer at Demo - reijosfood.comBrangelina rose  - reijosfood.com

Third course was the best of all dishes, grilled King Prawns with pork grease. You can get similar prawns in some restaurants by the Mediterranean Sea but only prawns. Demo kitchen adds flavors from pork, dill and garlic mayonnaise which supplements total enjoyment. You might be a little bit terrified, when you hear that there is some grease included in ingredients, but crispy leaf erases the feeling of fear.

Grand Cru Chablis, of course from chardonnay grapes served with prawns, matched extremely well with shellfish.

Demo - reijosfood.com

Fourth dish was actual main course. Lamb in two ways, fried and braised. Fried meat was crisp and almost tasted like reindeer. Braised meat was excellent with cauliflower and green asparagus. One example of Michelin star kitchen was the potato croquet and beetroot colored wrapping on top of it.

For wine sommelier had chosen Pli from Candialle wine yard, which is owned by Finnish wine producer Jaakko Peränen CANDIALLE – Panzano in Chianti. Perfect pairing, amount of Sangiovese (95%) and Petit Verdot (5%) made the wine soft but well balanced. Must buy it also to home.

Lamb at Demo - reijosfood.comPil red wine at Demo - reijosfood.com

For fifth dishes and first desserts we got two different versions. This was due to our request to avoid certain ingredients in another diners portions. Kitchen succeeded brilliantly in this, because all other portions looked similar.

Cheese ice-cream was at the same time salty and sweet, would say the sweetness dominated. Berry sorbet suited well after meat.

Sweet wine which was served with these desserts had only about 6% of alcoholicity. Similarities to apple cider came to my mind, but wine was not so bubbling as ciders are.

Dessert at Demo - reijosfood.comDessert at Demo - reijosfood.com

Sixth course and second dessert was Ice-Cream mousse with blackcurrant cake. Portion included blackcurrant with three ways, which made the dessert refreshing.

Dessert at Demo - reijosfood.com

With coffee and tea kitchen served small confections which were luscious. Marmalade, marshmallows and soft buscuits were perfect ending for fabulous dinner.

Dessert snacks at Demo - reijosfood.com

Interior was renewed about a year ago, which refreshed the look of dining room. Would say that decor has been successfully implemented, it is not too simple neither overkilled.

Demo bar - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Demo is entitled to Michelin star because of comprehensive culinary experience. Athmosphere is casual and informal, but not too much for Michelin restaurant. Service was of course professional, contents of each portion were told clearly as well as the background of wines.

And this time wines were perfect match for all dishes. Sommelier deserves special thanks for choises and therefore overall grade is almost the best restaurant can get from us. Why not 5 for food? You might complain a little bit about the price level but no more than worth of 0,25 points from the best points for food.

Review from previous visit can be found by using search.

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

Restaurant Demo | ”Share a laugh in the middle of culinary excellence”.

 

 

 





Restaurant review: Salutorget – Scandinavian bistro

19 08 2014

 

Riesling at Salutorget - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Salutorget terrace - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Salutorget - reijosfood.comSalutorget bar - reijosfood.com

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

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

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

Hotel Manta - reijosfood.com

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

http://www.salutorget.fi/en





Hotel Manta of Helsinki – built around the statue of Havis Amanda

16 08 2014

Hotel Manta - reijosfood.com

Hotel Manta of Helsinki is a hotel room built around the statue of Manta in Market Square. The space designed by Tatshu Nishi serves as a hotel room by night, and as an open exhibition space during the day. The work not only creates a new surrealist setting for the monument, it offers a new perspective on the statue. Manta can now be met at eye level; also privately during the nights, if you were able to book the room.

Statue of Havis Amanda - reijosfood.com

The project is produced by the Helsinki Art Museum and it is part of the Helsinki Festival programme. In cooperation with Museum of Finnish Architecture and Design Museum. The work is supported by The Cenetary Foundation of the Finnish Society of Crafts and Design.

As visiting times during Helsinki Festival are between 11.30 – 17.30, cleaning up must be made in hurry. The cost for visit is 3€.

Cleaning of Hotel Manta - reijosfood.com

Hotel Manta of Helsinki was opened on the 15th of August and waiting for the first customer must have been exciting.

Hotel room was sold out in a minute, which is not surprising. Being part of art work must be fascinating. And price for night is not expensive, 130€. But of course without breakfast, which you can enjoy after checking out for instance at Market Square cafes.

Hotel Manta - reijosfood.com

Because of daily visiting hours, check-in can not be before 18.00 and check-out has to be made before 11.00.

Windows without curtains ensure that statue of Manta is visible all the time.

Hotel Manta of Helsinki - reijosfood.comHotel Manta of Helsinki - reijosfood.com

The statue is in the middle of the hotel room and actually splits twin bed. It sort of stands between the pillows.

Let’s see what is the condition of statue of Manta after Helsinki Festival celebrations will end. They will take two months.

Behind the link is also web camera pictures from past days.

Hotel Manta of Helsinki.





Seafront hot spot terraces in Kaivopuisto, Helsinki

14 08 2014

image

Kaivopuisto (Kaivari), is one of the oldest and best known parks in South Helsinki. The park is on the seafront and in the vicinity operates several cafes and restaurants. Another name for this post could be “Kaivopuisto terrace guide”, but as only 3 terraces have been chosen, more specific name was needed.

It takes only 25 minutes to walk to the first hot spot from Market Square. And if you arrive for one day visit to Helsinki with Tallink Cruise ship from Stockholm, only 20 minutes. But if you get tired before first pit stop, you can drop by at Cafe Ursula, which is the oldest seafront terrace in Kaivopuisto area.

 

Mattolaituri

The first hot spot is Mattolaituri. Mattolaituri (Carpet Pier) name comes from the pier which was, and sometimes still is, used for washing carpets. Otherwise nothing in common, as cafe building is most modern in Helsinki, as well as the terrace.

Mattolaituri is located across from island Uunisaari, in Eastern part of South Kaivopuisto.

Place is one of the few “Moet Ice Imperial hot spots” in Helsinki (link to find all hot spots Discover), which you can also see from the pictures. In the evenings also dancing and once a week movies.

There are several areas for relaxation; roof terrace, table area and deck chairs. Less queues in busiest times due to 2 serving desks.

Drinks: champagnes, especially Moet & Chandon and wines

Food: snacks or salad, not the main focus

Opening hours: 09.00AM – 02.00AM, open from MayDay to about end of September

Moet Ice Imperial at Mattolaituri - reijosfood.comMattolaituri - reijosfood.comMattolaituri in Kaivopuisto - reijosfood.comMattolaituri in Kaivopuisto - reijosfood.comMattolaituri_II - reijosfood.comMoet at Mattolaituri - reijosfood.com

Mattolaituri – Helsinki, Finland – Ravintola | Facebook

 

Cafe Carusel

Cafe Carusel is next hot spot locating across from islands Sirpalesaari, Liuskaluoto and Liuskasaari. It was opened already in mid 90’s and was at that time phenomenom.

Cafe/restaurant is open all-year-round as it has spacious interior. You can relax inside, if it rains or on sun beds or at table area. And if it happens to rain, choose Cafe Carusel. Also widest menu.

Drinks: beer, cider, wines, special coffees

Food: pizzas, salads, burgers, sandwiches, widest menu of the 3 hot spots

Opening hours: 09.00AM – 22.00PM every day, all year round

Cava at Carusel - reijosfood.comCafe Carusel - reijosfood.comSun beds at Carusel - reijosfood.comCafe Carusel - reijosfood.com

Cafe Carusel – Helsinki, Finland – Kahvila | Facebook

 

Birgitta

Birgitta Hernesaari, the newcomer, which was opened this summer, is third hot spot. This cafe is most rough-looking as exterior-walls seem to be burned.

Cafe is located almost in Hernesaari, which is the westernmost area in Kaivopuisto and near the new beach. You will see lot’s of cruise passengers from ship’s stopping for the day in Hernesaari port. Last time 1/3 of the customers were from the United States.

During busiest time the longest waiting time for order submission. Birgitta is also smallest from these 3 terraces.

Drinks: soft drinks, beer, video, wines

Food: speciality is burger grilled in charcoal grill, salads and sandwiches

Opening hours: 09.00AM – 22.00PM every day, not yet sure if cafe is open all year round

Refreshments at Birgitta - reijosfood.comBirgitta Hernesaari - reijosfood.comBirgitta - reijosfood.comBrunch at Birgitta - reijosfood.com

Birgitta Hernesaari – Kahvila | Facebook

So, if you visit Helsinki and like to relax on terraces, not just settle for hanging in downtown cafes and terraces. Walk or take a tram number 2 from Market Square to Kaivopuisto.





Restaurant review: Grotesk – across from Ragu

10 08 2014

Have visited restaurant Grotesk couple of times but last visit was to Grotesk Winebar. Winebar has unfortunately closed it’s doors and so called Meatbar, where we dined this time, had changed a little bit it’s exterior and menu. Grotesk locates by the same street as Ragu where we dined a week ago.

Picture is taken from Grotesk window table. Ludviginkatu is nowadays “restaurant street” as Greek restaurant El Greco locates next to Ragu.

Ragu and Grotesk - reijosfood,com

Menu is short and waiter asked, if we would like to try Chef’s menu with 3-6 courses with matching wines. But kitchen was not able make changes to portions, for instance use something else instead of peas and onions. We should have made the requests beforehand. Terrace menu is even shorter consisting of same portions.

Menu at Grotesk - reijosfood.com

So we decided to choose something from the menu. While thinking what to order, we had glasses of Pol Roger Brut champagne.

Dry and balanced taste as Pol Roger Brut usually has.

Pol Roger Champagne - reijosfood.com

For starters we both had Pan seared scallops with dill and fennel salad (3 pc).

Scallops were small and pan searing was made perfectly. Somehow fennel did not taste so much, maybe the salinity covered it. Can recommend this as a starter.

Scallops at Grotesk - reijosfood.com

For main courses we ordered Smoked arctic char and creamed chanterelles with Spring potatoes and Grilled chop and secretto of Iberico pork with Caesar salad à la Grotesk.

Skin of arctic char had been removed before serving which made the fish quite pale. For side dish potatoes, because all other side dishes included ingredients which were not suitable. All side dishes, by the way, have same prices.

Grilled chop was excellent but secretto a little bit too salty. For side dish had caesar salad, which matched well with both pork dishes.

Arctic char at Grotesk - reijosfood.comPork at Grotesk - reijosfood.com

This time no desserts due to same problem with side dishes. Asked for basic sorbet, but that was not available.

Grotesk was the first restaurant to lower wine prices and it got some publicity after announcing it. They add 20€ fixed margin for each wine bottle, but price reduction did not seemed to apply glass prices. Glass of house red wine cost 9,60€.

Anyway, for wine we had Spieleberg Riesling trocken 2011 from Pfaltz, Germany. Producer is Karl Schaefer. This wine was excellent choise recommended by waiter considering the price 42€. Balanced minerality and acidity with some citrus and lime.

Riesling at Grotesk - reijosfood.com

The interior of Grotesk is not so red as it used to be, but lighting was as dim as it has always been. Most of the diners and drinkers were at outside terrace, but notice that you can not reserve table at the terrace after 8PM, if you want to dine there. And it is wise because terrace will be crowded and noisy.

Grotesk dining room - reijosfood.comGrotesk terrace - reijosfood.com

Grotesk used to be Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant a couple years ago but not any more. It is understandable as concept has changed more relaxed and rough. Maybe main focus is the terrace, which is really popular in the summer time. If you visit Helsinki in the summer time, it is one of the restaurant terraces worth to visit.

Food review is partly based on price/quality ratio. By decreasing for instance side dish prices (5€ for potatoes is too much), grade for food would be better.

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

 








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