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!





2 Michelin star restaurant Chez Dominique closes down

26 08 2013

One and only 2 Michelin star restaurant in Finland and Helsinki, Chez Dominique, shuts down on the 5th October!

Chef Hans Välimäki explains that closing the restaurant is temporary and Chez Dominique will make a comeback someday. Hopefully so, but unlikely! It must have been close to get third Michelin star. After closing there are four 1 Michelin star restaurants in Helsinki: Demo, Luomo, Olo and Postres. Hopefully we do not see similar trend with these.

If you want to visit in Hans Välimäki restaurant, Midhill is your choice. Restaurant serves gourmet hamburgers and is located in the same shopping and restaurant area as Hard Rock Cafe.

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Parts of letter from chef Hans Välimäki in my email on 26th August, 2013 (sorry for not translating text in English but one sentence was already in English):

Etsin uutta inspiraatiota Chez Dominique tulevaisuudesta koko kuluneen kesän ja se löytyikin. Päätös on nyt tehty: voin ilolla ja YLPEYDELLÄ ilmoittaa, että ravintola Chez Dominique vetäytyy 5.10.2013 jälkeen määräämättömäksi ajaksi tauolle. Olemme auki koko syyskuun neljännestä päivästä lukien 5.10.2013 saakka.
 
Ravintolan loppuhuipennuksessa vetovastuun keittiöstä ottavat CD:n nuoret kasvatit Eric Räty ja Toni Toivanen.
 
Odotettavissa onkin jotain täysin uutta ja yllättävää, josta ei kannata jäädä paitsi.
 
Viimeisten viikkojen konseptia voisi kuvailla seuraavasti:
 
Pop-up, not f*** up: searching way to unknown…
 
Olen viettänyt viimeiset 15 vuotta enempi tai vähempi Chez Dominiquen keittiössä, ja saanut todellista lähituntumaa suomalaiseen gastronomiaan. Kehitys on ollut huimaa, ja kokit ovat Suomessa tällä hetkellä parempia kuin koskaan. Samat sanat salin ammattilaisista.
15 vuotta vilahti nopeasti. CD:ssä on koettu useita huippuhetkiä milloin erilaisten saavutusten kautta, milloin on juhlittu uusien tekniikoiden oppimista tai kilistelty vaikkapa vain loman alkamisen kunniaksi. Kivaa on ollut, parhaimmillaan superkivaa.
Olen ylpeä Dominiquesta ja kaikesta siitä, mitä olen upean henkilökuntani kanssa saavuttanut, mutta nyt on aika tehdä muuta.
Keittämisessä en taukoa pidä. Rakastan keittämistä, ja aion vedellä vedellä isosti ja komeasti täysin uusien haasteiden parissa! Niistä sitten myöhemmin.
Kiitos, kumarrus ja tuduluu kaikille Chez Dominiquessa viihtyneille.
Nähdään ainakin Midhillissä ja kuten aiemmin mainitsin, niin muutakin on tulossa. Chez Dominique palaa vielä. Aika näyttää miten, missä ja milloin.
 
Hyvää ja hauskaa loppukesää
 
Hans Välimäki
Tuleva entinen Michelin-keittäjä

http://chezdominique.fi/home





Taste of Helsinki 2013

15 06 2013

Taste of Helsinki

Second Taste of Helsinki was arranged on 13-16.6.2013. Some of the restaurants had changed, this year present was 12 restaurants: Aito, Ask, Bistro O Mat, C, Demo, Gaijin, Juuri, Luomo, Muru, Olo, Smör and Toscanini with 36 tapas sized dishes to choose from. 3 out of 12 restaurants have Michelin stars (bolded ones).

Pleasant memories from last year and of course high expectations now.

On Saturday the amount of visitors was less than year ago and ordering food was therefore quite quick. We were in the first setting; maybe starting time was too early at 11.00 and wind was freezing although it was sunny day.

First ordered Smoked bream, potatoes and ramsons (Ask) and “EARTHQUAKE” – Organic egg 64,7°C with mushroom toffee (Luomo). Bream was basically, not so common Finnish fish to use in restaurants. Earthquake did not convince. Sweet toffee with salty egg did not match together at all. Of course it is tour de force to cook egg right but it did not help in this case.

Taste of Helsinki

FOOD REVIEWS: Ask 4/5 – Luomo 2/5

Then tried FRIED FRESH LAMB SAUSAGE, spring vegetable salad and mustard sauce (Muru) and  SALMON from Rørvik with spring potatoes from Merimasku (Olo).  Sausage was tast but a little bit chewy, had to bit few pieces too long. Salmon was best starter, fresh and perfect match with side dishes; best part of Finnish cuisine!

Taste of Helsinki

FOOD REVIEWS: Muru 4-/5 – Olo 5-/5

For “main” courses started with BRAISED WILD BOAR, turnip, carrot and spruce sprout (Aito). Delicious, all side dishes were perfect match. Only problems with plastic cutlery was carrot which was a little bit too raw for them and maybe a little bit too salty meat.

Taste of Helsinki

FOOD REVIEW: Aito 4,5/5

Then tasted SLOWLY BRAISED CHEEK OF CORN FED PORK, champignon, truffle and wrinkly carrot (Demo). Excellent braised pork and delicious sauce. Fresh Finnish vegetables supplemented ensemble.

Taste of Helsinki

FOOD REVIEW: Demo 4,5/5

Third food was NECK OF WILD BOAR with false morel pie and sauce of raspberry leaves (Juuri). This wild boar was best of “main” courses. Perfect composition and taste. Not too much side dishes, focus on itself.

Taste of Helsinki

FOOD REVIEW: Juuri 5-/5

Only dessert enjoyed was TOSCANINI’S TIRAMISÚ (Toscanini). Safe choice because did not want to try too exotic portions. Sorry for the finger, wind tried to throw away cardboard plates all the time and had to secure photo for few seconds.

Taste of Helsinki

FOOD REVIEW: Toscanini 4+/5

Did we were more critical now but chose really excellent portions last year. Of course you might make some mistakes when choosing from 36 dishes but would have liked to rank all tasted ones over 4,5. But enjoyed and congratulations to Olo and Juuri for excellent performance. Let’s see if there will be third year for Taste of Helsinki.

And again, lot’s of Markka’s spent! Do not budget anything as you shall exceed your budget anyway. Have fun, do not try to think too much coins.

http://www.tasteofhelsinki.fi/en/





Michelin star restaurants in Helsinki 2013

14 03 2013

Restaurant Demo

Michelin Guide has updated it’s list of rewarded restaurants. All 5 existing Michelin restaurants kept their stars, so no new Michelin restaurants in Finland or Helsinki. G.W. Sundmans might be rewarded soon as it has been highlighted with red letters meaning “rising star”.  Restaurant has had 1 Michelin star several years ago.

Restaurants with Michelin stars are:

Chez Dominique, Rikhardinkatu 4, Helsinki: 2 stars (owner Hans Välimäki) http://www.chezdominique.fi/home_cd2?

Demo, Uudenmaankatu 9-11, Helsinki: 1 star (owners Tommi Tuominen and Teemu Aura) http://www.restaurantdemo.fi/demo

Luomo, Vironkatu 8, Helsinki: 1 star (owners Jouni Toivanen and Mika Mattila) http://www.luomo.fi/en/restaurant/

Olo, Kasarmikatu 44, Helsinki: 1 star (owners Pekka Terävä and Petri Lukkarinen) http://www.olo-restaurant.com/home.html

Postres, Eteläesplanadi 8, Helsinki: 1 star (owners Samuli Wirgentius and Jari Liimatta) http://www.postres.fi/

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Bib Gourmand restaurants 2013 are:

Farang, Ainonkatu 3, Helsinki

Gaijin, Bulevardi 6, Helsinki

Grotesk, Ludviginkatu 8-10, Helsinki

Pure Bistro, Pohjoisesplanadi 9, Helsinki (new)

Solna, Solnantie 26, Helsinki

Interesting is that Farang and Gaijin still both have Bid Gourmand (excellent price/quality ratio) logos; both owned by chefs Tomi Björk and Matti Wiberg.  Farang has opened restuarant in Stockholm, must find out the rating. Also interesting is that Grotesk, owned by same chefs as Demo, kept Bid Gourmand logo although it changed it’s style. Update: did not remember to write that PureBistro is owned by Luomu owners! One Michelin star restaurant and one Bib Gourmand restaurant. However, when we vistited PureBistro, we were not so happy about the food.

Restaurant Spis raised also to Michelin Guide, review available https://reijosfood.com/2012/08/10/restaurant-review-spis/





TOP 50 restaurants in Finland

22 11 2012

The 50 Best Restaurants in Finland

Project by Uni One Oy started in 2004 aiming to increase appreciation of Finland’s restaurants by listing the top 50 each year in a handy guide book format and in the newspaper. About 200-300 leading professionals from Finland’s restaurant industry – both chefs and others – are given the chance to vote for the establishment they see as the best. This creates the 50 Best list.

Interesting is that only 2 out of 5 Michelin star restaurants are in TOP 10 in this list https://reijosfood.com/2012/03/14/michelin-star-restaurants-in-finland-2012/

Restaurant Olo has 1 Michelin star which proves they have earned 1st place.  Also Nyt-Insert chose Olo to the second place in their review http://nyt.fi/20121102-nyt-liite-valitsi-nokka-on-helsingin-paras-ravintola/

Restaurant Muru was chosen restaurant of the year 2012 by Finnish Gastronomy Society which also is a proof of  being on top of this list http://www.gastronomit.fi/vuodenravintola.php.

Restaurant Farang leads Restaurant and wine reviews ranking, again right place.

Chez Dominique with 2 Michelin stars also earns to be on top. All other positions you can judge by yourself.

1. Olo, Helsinki

2. Muru, Helsinki

3. Farang, Helsinki (X)

4. Chez Dominique, Helsinki

5. Savoy, Helsinki

6. Gaijin, Helsinki

7. Mami, Turku

8. Chef & Sommelier, Helsinki

9. Bertha, Tampere

10. Sergio’s, Turku

11. Sinne, Porvoo

12. Ateljé Finne, Helsinki

13. Luomo, Helsinki

14. Demo, Helsinki (X)

15. Nokka, Helsinki

16. G.W. Sundmans, Helsinki

17. Smör, Turku

18. Bistro O mat, Kirkkonummi

19. Spis, Helsinki (X)

20. Boulevard Social, Helsinki

21. Tintå, Turku

22. Hella ja Huone, Tampere

23. Kuurna, Helsinki

24. C, Tampere

25. Postres, Helsinki

26. Kosmos, Helsinki

27. Juuri, Helsinki

28. Sea Horse, Helsinki

29. Os, Kuopio

30. Salutorget, Helsinki (X)

31. Näsinneula, Tampere

32. Aito, Helsinki

33. Strindberg, Helsinki (X)

34. Carelia, Helsinki

35. Kolme Kruunua, Helsinki

36. Tertin kartano, Mikkeli

37. Pinella, Turku

38. Musta Lammas, Kuopio

39. Rivoletto, Helsinki

40. Sunn, Helsinki

41. Lupolo, Helsinki

42. Patrona, Helsinki

43. Gastone, Helsinki (X)

44. Teatterin Grilli, Helsinki (X)

45. Pure Bistro, Helsinki (X)

46. Pöllöwaari, Jyväskylä

47. Grotesk, Helsinki

48. Nautical, Maarianhamina

49. Gastropub tuulensuu

50. 1881 Uleåborg

Lots of restaurants to visit…. reviewed restaurants marked with (X)

Ranking by Restaurant and wine reviews (reijosfood.com) can be found https://reijosfood.com/about/





Restaurant review: PureBistro

17 09 2012

PureBistro is a modern bistro and bar at the Market Square in Torikorttelit area. Restaurant serves uncomplicated but handmade and modern bistro food. PureBistro is owned by Michelin star restaurant Luomo chef”s Jouni Toivanen and Mika Mattila. Dining room is quite small as well as tables. Ask for window table and you can enjoy sea view and watch what happens at Market Square. At 8PM restaurant was full and you could mostly hear english and swedish; well marketed to hotels or travel agencies.

As the core value is fresh materials, the menu is short, but there is changing daily specials available. There might be for example a whole bird, fish or shellfish to be shared. This time restaurant had lamb as daily speciality. If it would still be summer you could enjoy lunch or dinner at one of the terraces.

Fresh bread is served in paper bag with caramelized butter. Unfortunately butterscotch taste did not match so well with white bread served, maybe it would have with rye bread.

Three courses cost 44€, if you order dishes separately bill would be 50€. During this visit prices were a little bit high compared to the level of portions.

For starters ordered SKAGEN and DUCK IN JAPAN. Skagen included brioche, shrimps, whitefish roe and chili mayonnaise. Not so typical brioche and chili could have tasted more. Duck in Japan was duck leg and foie terrine, bacon dashi and miso mayonnaise. Terrine was really delicious but could not found the taste of Japan.

For main courses ordered daily speciality LAMB MOROCCO STYLE and SALMON CONFIT ‘APIACEAE’. Lamb was too greasy and without taste of Morocco. Salmon was stewed in olive oil and should include set of flowers.  Fish was stewed perfectly as it was still partly red inside but set of flowers remains mystery. As pyre was asked to left out oufit was close to soup but no spoon available.


For dessert had QUEEN rasperry and blueberry and BANANA SPLIT. “Queen” was fresh but more like a juice. Banana Split was daily speciality but quite ordinary dessert.

Suggest to order from a la carte list instead of daily speciality. Hope PureBistro uses more spices because oriental names of the dishes make believe they are well flavoured. However, the location is perfect and athmosphere casual for chatting groups.

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

Restaurant website may be a little bit shocking… http://www.purebistro.fi/

http://www.torikorttelit.fi/fi/cat/ruoka-ja-juoma/





Restaurant ranking 2012 – Helsinki, Finland

31 08 2012

It is time to summarize the TOP 5 year 2012 ranking of reviewed restaurants by the end of August. All scores are based on personal experiences and feelings of at least two people. If same restaurant would have been visited twice better scores would be included in the ranking. Scoreboard includes only restaurants in Helsinki although some restaurant reviews were performed outside of Helsinki and abroad.

1) FARANG……………………14,00
       
2) DEMO……………………….13,50
       
3) SPIS………………………….13,25
       
4) HAVIS……………………….13,00
       
5) SALUTORGET……………..12,75

Farang is a restaurant which serves modern Asian cuisine. Restaurant opened its doors in August 2009. Unique concept in Finland and delicious food, always full.

Restaurant Demo is a 45 -seat Michelin star restaurant that opened its doors January 2003. Has been able to keep Michelin star for 6 years.

Restaurant Spis is small 18-seat Nordic restaurant which was opened in January 2012. Interesting newcomer.

Example pictures are first courses; Farang, Demo and SPIS.

In the future ranking list will be updated on the page: RESTAURANT REVIEWS. Please check later for possible changes in ranking or scores.

https://reijosfood.com/2012/06/30/restaurant-review-farang/

https://reijosfood.com/2012/08/26/restaurant-review-demo/

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

https://reijosfood.com/2012/06/23/restaurant-review-havis/

https://reijosfood.com/2012/04/20/restaurant-review-salutorget/








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