Restaurant review: NJK – time stands still, dining continues

4 07 2014

NJK - reijosfood.com

NJK, the villa-type unique summer restaurant, located on the small island of Valkosaari, was built in 1900. It is one of the most popular locations for festivities and one of the most popular crayfish restaurant in Helsinki.  Suprisingly there was no wedding party on that specific Saturday when we had dinner. Usually it is really difficult to get table during summer weekends.

Before dinner, if weather allows, you must enjoy aperitives at the second floor small terrace. From there you can also see restaurant Saaristo which is located on island Klippan. It is one of the several island restaurants in the foreground of Kaivopuisto. (review posted 22.6.2013)

Saaristo and Klippan - reijosfood.com

There was few days left to try special 5 dishes Archipelago herbs menu, which 2 of us decided to order. Each portion included some Finnish herb from the restaurant’s own greenhouse. Portions were also named by the herb used to prepare dish. You could also choose recommended wines which we also did. Especially red wine deserved special attention.

Also chose 2 menus from a la carte list; those portions are marked with +. And with these dishes the wine choice was a bottle of Villa Huesgen Schiefer Riesling from Mosel. Dry and balanced German riesling.

SWEET CICELY

White fish ceviche and +NJK’s fish assortment

First herb dish was white fish ceviche. White fish (lavaret) is one of the best Finnish fishes and when it is served spiced and raw, it is always worth to try. Cicely paired well with white fish but saltiness ruled over a little bit. Excellent starter for dinner anyway.

Fish assortment included herrings, white fish roe with creme fraiche and onion, small smoked vendaces, shrimp skagen and salmon with mustard-dill dressing. But this was not all although most famous and best Finnish fishes were already on the plate. In addition to an assortment of fish, NJK served new potatoes and creamy morel mushroom sauce.

Ceviche at NJK - reijosfood.com

Fish plate at NJK - reijosfood.com

Campo Viejo Cava Brut Rosé, Spain 10 cl

Campo Viejo rose cava paired well with tart and salty ceviche. However, it did not beat Lanson Rose which we sipped for aperitives at the small 2nd floor terrace while enjoying sunny day and maritime landscape.

CHIVES

Mussel risotto with grilled scampi

After tasty ceviche we were served delicous risotto. Cooking time for rice was perfect and scampi complemented taste of mussels nicely. Not sure if flavor of chives was enough strong but excellent primi piatti anyway.

Risotto at NJK - reijosfood.com

Jacob’s Creek Reserve Barossa Riesling, Australia   12 cl

We were first served inadvertently red wine which should have been the third wine. It suited well with risotto, maybe even better than this riesling we got before finishing risotto. Rieslings are our favourite white wines but maybe this one required more acidity with risotto.

ITALIAN PARSLEY

Herb roasted fillet of lamb with dark parsley sauce and +Pike-perch with lemon beurre blanc

Third dish from herbs menu was fillet of lamb which you could have been changed to pike-perch if you would have preferred fish. Parsley suited well with the meat which had perfect rose inside.

Pike-perch had as a side dish cauliflower pyre which we asked to change for one of the portions. Fish was well prepared and tasty. Pike-perch is not so common fish to be served in restaurants in Finland. If it is on the a la carte menu, order it.

Lamb at NJK - reijosfood.com

Pike-perch at NJK - reijosfood.com

Jacob’s Creek Reserve Shiraz, Australia   16 cl

Jacob’s Creek reserve shiraz rose to our favourite from all four wines. Deep and balanced bouquet as well as flavor. Wine which you should have in your wine cabinet. Perfect pairing with lamb but also with risotto as mentioned earlier.

CURRANT LEAF

Thyme flavoured melon with currant leaf sorbet

Sorbet came in handy after lamb. Perfect food melter before dessert.

MINT

Strawberries with mint and lime mousse and +Chocolate and fudge ganache with blackberry sorbet

Mousse looked like ice-cream and first thought why serve ice-cream after sorbet. Fresh and sweet strawberries are always perfect way to end the dinner.

Chocolate dessert was master piece. Really sweet fudge but sorbet suitably slimmed it down not to bee too heavy.

Dessert at NJK - reijosfood.com

Dessert at NJK - reijosfood.com

Mumm Demi-Sec 10 cl

Dessert champagne was second best of the pre-selected wines. Port or sweet wine would have been too twee for strawberries but even for chocolate dessert. Excellent choice by sommelier.

NJK maintains traditions of letting customers to choose avec for coffee from drinks trolley instead of ordering it from list. Might be costly if you do not know what you have chosen. We did.

Digestives at NJK - reijosfood.com

Restaurant NJK is a one of the few classic restaurants in Helsinki, like Savoy. You should invite your foreign quests there in order to get them familiar with Finnish archipelago and food. And both only from 2 minutes boat trip distance and a stone’s throw away from Market Square (Kauppatori).

NJK garden - reijosfood.com

Regarding the headline, time stands still at restaurant NJK. And it really does when you step into the buiding and sit at a table. If all the boats in NJK yacht club harbour were old sailing boats, then you really would wonder if time has gone back.

NJK entrance - reijosfood.comNJK main dining room - reijosfood.com

Food at NJK is excellent but unfortunately this time there was some instability in service which should not be there, not at NJK. Waitresses should be guided to details when it comes to menu and drinks, although she would be temporary worker. However, arrangement of aperitives at the 2nd floor terrace earned 5 points which increased service grade. And overall grade is high due to unique milieu, solemn but relaxed athmosphere and dinner entourage.

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

http://www.ravintolanjk.fi/en





Island restaurants in Helsinki

4 07 2012

Kaivopuisto  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaivopuisto  (Kaivari) is one of the best known parks in Southern Helsinki. There are several nice cafes to stop off by the sea if one walks on the promenade. Many ambassadors of foreign countries locate also in one part of Kaivopuisto quarter.

One should try in the summer one or two of the fine dining island restaurants in front of Kaivopuisto. They are usually open only in the summer time because one has to go there with connection boats or water taxis. Summer starts on 1st of May when residents of Helsinki meet in Kaivopuisto for a picnic and island restaurants open doors for May Day lunch. Most of the restaurant buildings are worth to see as such. Remember; when crayfish season starts on 21st of July, island restaurants are fully booked.

The kitchen of restaurant HSS Boathouse offers seasonal treats with flavours from the New World.  The round two-storey dining room is in the architecturally unique building, which was built in 1949. Restaurant’s own description: Casual and relaxed. Stylish and fun. Those would most likely be the words used to describe Restaurant HSS Boathouse, if it was situated in, for instance, Martha’s Vineyards, Massachusetts.

http://www.palacekamp.fi/in_english/restaurants/boathouse/

NJK, the villa-type restaurant, located on the small island of Valkosaari, was built in 1900. The tall, spacious Middle room is surrounded by a bright covered veranda with large windows and a view towars the Market Square and Katajanokka. You can catch ferry to NJK near Olympic terminal.

http://www.ravintolanjk.fi/en

Restaurant Saari is located on the island Sirpalesaari. Saari provides Finnish delicacies of the season from land and sea as well as stunning views and genuine maritime atmosphere. You can catch connection boat to Sirpalesaari near cafe Carusel, but do not jump to water bus, it goes to Pihlajasaari. Visited Saari last summer and the experience was worth of 4+/5.

http://www.asrestaurants.com/EN/restaurants/saari/presentation.html

From Restaurant Saaristo in Klippan one can see the Empire-Helsinki skyline in the North, the ingenious walls and bastions of King Gustav style Suomenlinna in the South.  Atmospheric restaurant is over a hundred years old with crafty and romantic Jugend-style wood cuts and wood-carved animals in the beams and balconies. Previous name Klippan referred to name of the island. Connection boat serves from pier located near to Olympic terminal, next to the Peace Statue.

http://www.asrestaurants.com/EN/restaurants/saaristo/presentation.html

In the 18th century a fort was constructed on Särkkä island just off the coast of Helsinki to defend the city. Some wars later, in 1924, restaurant Särkänlinna was opened in that very fort. To this day it holds its place as one of the most unique summer restaurants in Helsinki. You can catch connection boat to restaurant near cafe Ursula.

http://www.palacekamp.fi/in_english/restaurants/restaurant_sarkanlinna/

Restaurant Uunisaari is only island restaurant open year around. In the winter time one can use bridge which will be built on the ice every year. Connection boat can be found near cafe Compass.

http://www.uunisaari.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2&Itemid=3&lang=fi

Hopefully you find this writing useful when choosing restaurant in the summer. Gonna dine in one of the above restaurants soon.








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