Restaurant review: La Bottega (Tallinn, Estonia)

16 07 2014

Trattoria La Bottega offers a cross-section of the Italian cuisine, with a special emphasis on Italian food and wines consistency. Sardinian origin chef Nicolo Tanda favorites, fish and seafood are represented in restaurants menu.

La Bottega is part of Sparkling Group which owns several fine dining restaurants in Tallinn.

In Italian restaurant you must start the dinner with aperitivo. As Aperol Spritz was not available, we enjoyed Campari Soda’s.

Campari Soda's at La Bottega - reijosfood.com

For starters we ordered Antipasti and Prawn tails in spicy fresh tomato sauce and grilled focaccia.

Antipasti plate was generous including salami, Parma ham, eggplant, bruschetta,…..one of the biggest antipasti portions seen for a while. Tomato sauce with prawn tails was really scrumptious. It could have been used as pasta sauce, on top of a pizza or even to be eaten as such. Best flavor kitchen servedduring our visit.

Antipasti at La Bottega - reijosfood.comPrawn tails at La Bottega - reijosfood.com

Primi Piatti, or actually pasta, Spaghetti with garlic oil and chilli and Tomato salad with mozzarella buffalo cheese.

Had to order pasta in order to try how kitchen manages. And it managed well; spaghetti was al dente and garlic and chilli tasted nicely. As restaurant does not serve gluten-free pasta ordered caprese salad (tomato and mozzarella) for another Primi Piatti. Genuine Italian mozzarella di bufala beats cheeses made of cow milk.

Spaghetti at La Bottega - reijosfood.comMozzarella and tomato at La Bottega - reijosfood.com

Main courses this time were Herb marinated quail with oven baked eggplant and Braised rabbit in white wine and olive sauce, potato-spinach puree.

As La Bottega had quite challenging and rare meats on it’s a la carte list, had to try couple of them.

Two small quial legs made us mention to waitress that portion should be starter. The answer was separate side dishes are because of that. You have to choose them with certain portions. We had ordered two side dishes; Baked aubergine with garlic and parsley and Rucola and tomato salad. Unfortunately quail legs were also a little bit dry and should have been starters, with or without side dish.

Rabbit included side dish but rucola salad paired nicely with it. Meat was overdone, otherwise it tasted like rabbit should be.

Quail at La Bottega - reijosfood.comRabbit at La Bottega - reijosfood.comSide dishes at La Bottega - reijosfood.com

Wine list consists only of Italian wines. We chose Gavi di Gavi Fossili which paired well with all dishes. The dinner was finalized with Italian digestives, Grappa and Limoncello, of course. Taste of lemon was quite thin in Limencello and the color was not so deep yellow as it should be.

Espresso and grappa at La Bottega - reijosfood.comGreen tee and Limocello at La Bottega - reijosfood.com

Dining rooms are cozy and first one behind entrance is really high in old historic building. We arrived so early that dinner time had not yet started.

La Bottega dining room - reijosfood.com

If weather allows you can also have lunch at the terrace; why not even dinner if evening is warm. Terrace is also perfect place to observe by-passers and other terraces close to La Bottega‘s one.

La Bottega terrace - reijosfood.com

La Bottega is good Italian restaurant with ambitious menu. No pizza’s which of course prune customer base. But you get a chance to eat in more peaceful athmosphere than in many pizzeria/trattoria type of restaurants in Old Town. When it comes to food, would classify La Bottega as ristorante but based on decor more trattoria type.

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

http://labottega.ee/





Restaurant review: Chedi (Tallinn, Estonia)

13 07 2014

Chedi starters - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Chedi is a contemporary treatment of Asian food culture. Contrasts, combination of tastes and mixture different raw materials are where the contemporary Asian cuisine is heading at. Chedi location is in Old Town, which is one of food culture areas in Tallinn.

Next to Chedi is another Sparkling Group restaurant Bocca (review 02.02.2013, use search at reijosfood)

Chedi - reijosfood.com

For several years Chedi has been chosen in TOP 5 of best restaurants of Estonia. The reason we decided to visit there and of course our penchant for Asian cuisine.

Started the dinner with Small eat’s Dim sum platter with mushrooms and vegetable, Fried soft shell crab with red chilli and curry leaves and Jasmine tea smoked pork ribs.

Dim sums were great, especially the red ones. Soft shell crabs were also delicious but maybe the taste of crabs disappeared under frying. Pork ribs were one of the best ever eaten. But this is maybe because never before have tasted Jasmine tee smoked ribs.

Dim Sum at Chedi - reijosfood.comSof shell crabs at Chedi - reijosfood.comPork ribs at Chedi - reijosfood.com

For main courses we chose Grilled salmon in Chef ’s special sauce and Spicy prawns with water chestnut, chilli and almonds. For side dish restaurant served rice in wooden bowl. Would have ordered Thai style pike-perch but restaurant had not got any pike-perch fish.

Waitress asked if the salmon shoud be medium or well-done. This was a proof that kitchen knew what to do with salmon. Ordered medium, got it and enjoyed.

Spicy prawns were not enough spicy although there was lot’s of curry. Luckily we had asked extra spices which we used with every portion. However, prawns were excellent.

Salmon at Chedi - reijosfood.comPrawns at Chedi - reijosfood.comRice at Chedi - reijosfood.com

For desserts we just had green tea and coffee due to the fact that our stomachs were almost filled with three hors d’oeuvres.

Chedi dining room - reijosfood.com

Chedi is a restaurant worth to visit in Tallinn, if you like Asian food. Decor is stylistic with buddhist features. You have to be ready to eat with sticks and spoon which are used instead of fork and knife. Of even with fingers, if it is easier. You do not have to worry about smearing your fingers because you can wash them afterwards and dry them thoroughly with hand cloth.

Chedi table - reijosfood.com

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

http://chedi.ee/en/

 

 





Restaurant review: Kappeli – Finnish food in historic building

11 07 2014

Champagne at Kappeli - reijosfood.com

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 and decor.

In the summer you can also dine at the outside terrace which is behind main terrace. This summer first time it has separate grill menu which is not the same as inside. If you want to sit in the middle of the main terrace but inside, ask for oriel window table. It is small but you can even watch bands and singers on the Espa stage opposite the restaurant. We dined in that small glass walled space like we always do.

For starters we had Open sandwich with herring Haugesund herring on dark bread with sour cream, salad, potato, marinated red onion and organic egg and Kappeli’s fish assortment Smoked salmon mousse, cold smoked Baltic herring skagen, smoked whitebait, cold smoked salmon and organic scrambled eggs.

Cold fish starter plates are always excellent at Kappeli. Of course they are easier to prepare partly beforehand than warm starters or main courses. Main thing is what fish plate incudes and how pieces on the plate complement each other. Would say that the appearance of portions is not the main thing but it should be more because of the price level.

Herring at Kappeli - reijosfood.comFish assortment at Kappeli - reijosfood.com

Main courses were Smoked salmon and creamy false morel stew with potatoes seasoned with butter, dill and onion, courgette and oven-baked tomato and Grain chicken breast fillet with goat’s cheese and Pistou vegetables.

Simple salmon portion with delicious side-dishes. But what about the price? 34€ is robbery but as main target group is tourists it does not matter. Chicken was dry but goat cheese delicious and enough warm.

Smoked salmon at Kappeli - reijosfood.comCkicken bread at Kappeli - reijosfood.com

Had to try desserts which were Crème brulée and orange sorbet and Blueberry pie with blueberries and blueberry ice cream.

Would say that desserts were best part of the dinner. Creme brulee with orange sorbet was delicious combination. Blueberry pie, one of my favorites, included lot’s of blueberry jam although there was already plenty of it on top of pie. And when you add ice-cream, dessert is bull’s eye.

Creme brulee at Kappeli - reijosfood.comBlueberry pie at Kappeli - reijosfood.com

The picture below is taken from the oriel window table we dined. It really feels you are dining in the middle of the terrace but without hearing gabble outside. And of course the temparature remains the same although evening turns later.

Kappeli terrace - reijosfood.com

For wine we had champagne Nicolas Fauillette which is cheaper for loyalty card owners than most of the wines. Not the most tasty champagne we know but champagne anyway.

Restaurant Kappeli is a must place for tourists to visit and maybe even to dine, if you do not care about the high prices. Because of the price level can not give more than 3+ for food. Dry chicken cost 27€, which is again incomprehensible price, compared to what you get.

Service is polite and professional. But because Kappeli is Kappeli, overall grade is over 4. The building itself, Espa park around it, relaxed athmosphere and at least trying starters from the a la carte list are worth to experience.

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

http://www.kappeli.fi/index.php?id=23

 

 





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





Restaurant review: Blue Peter – 2014 2nd review

26 06 2014

Dinner table with a view - reijosfood.com

I believe we dine at Blue Peter over 10 times per year and mainly in summer time. Therefore it makes sense to post a review regularly in order to confirm the level of quality. Compared to last year free salad buffet for diners is not anymore available. You need to order starter, if you want to eat such, which we anyway often did earlier despite of the buffet.

This time for starters we had Warm smoked white fish, salad and mustard-dressing and Green asparagus, Parma ham and hollandaise sauce.

You can order also this delicious salad for main course, but it suits well for starter. You seldom get white fish (lavaret) on top of salad; therefore order it, if you have a chance. Green asparagus was cooked like it should be, not too soft. Parma ham paired well as well as hollandaise but the amount of sauce was overwhelming.

Fish salad at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Green Asparagus at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

For main courses we ordered Grilled salmon, teriyaki-sauce with pumkin pyree and Cheddarburger, minced beef steak and french fries.

Salmon is always delicious and with pumkin pyre even better. Burger is one of the best in Helsinki, but has the beef steak shrinked? Must try again soon.

Fish at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Burger at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Most important, of course, are desserts. And of course Crepe, strawberry jam and vanilla ice-cream and this time also Ice-cream and berries.

As mentioned in earlier review, crepe is really scrumptious. But now Blue Peter had added lactose free vanilla ice-cream on it’s menu which was warmly welcomed by us. So far only standard ice-cream but our wish had been fulfilled.

Crepes at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Dessert at Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Behind the window there were also some other diners enjoying of stand-up meal.

Blue Peter window - reijosfood.com

Friday evening when we dined at Blue Peter was one of the busiest for them. Big private party and yachtsmen enjoying dinner before weekend sailing. However, head waiter was as calm as usually and arrange us window table although had first some troubles to sit at another table. And despite the pressure in kitchen portions earned a little bit better points than in previous review, as well as overall grade.

https://reijosfood.com/2014/02/02/restaurant-review-blue-peter-all-year-round-open-yacht-club/

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

http://www.bluepeter.fi/

 

 





Restaurant review: Havis – Midsummer’s Eve dinner

21 06 2014

 

Restaurant Havis - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Havis used to specialize only in seasonal Finnish and Scandinavian seafood. Restaurant consists of three different dining room styles. Dining room Havis looks as historic as building restaurant is located. Reserved window table from this room. One can see new Finnar SkyWheel at Katajanokka and old Market Hall through the windows. Vanha Kauppahalli was re-opened on the 9th June 2014 after being renovated almost 2 years.

Dining room Kitchen includes open-plan kitchen and dining room Terrace is more relaxed sheltered patio which might be cold depending on weather.

You can not call Havis fish restaurant any more, because it serves also hamburgers and caesar salads. Wider menu might be due to hotel Haven, which is a member of Small Luxury Hotel of the World. Hotel Haven is part of the same Royal Ravintolat Group as three restaurants in the same building  including Havis.

Midsummer is quiet period in Helsinki and most restaurants are closed. Partly because of this, restaurant was full of mainly tourists.

Havis had special Midsummer menu with only 2 starters, 2 main courses and 2 desserts. Almost cancelled reservation when noticed that but luckily decided to keep the reservation. We got the table we had requested, first table on the right by the window next to the entrance. Also all portions were lactose free which is still really rare. We tried all portions.

STARTERS

Asparagus soup with vendace roe

Asparagus tasted enough and structure of the soup was perfect. Green asparagus was properly cooked, not too much.

Asparagus soup at Havis - reijosfood.com

Fishplate with local fish and season potatoes

Cold fishplate included herring, baltic herring, smoked fish mousse, salmon tartar and white fish roe. Excellent assortment of Finnish fishes accompanied with new potatoes with butter and dill.

Fishplate at Havis - reijosfood.com

MAIN COURSES

Char-grilled arctic char with summer vegetables and false morel stew

Arctic char is rare fish at the restaurants which made this portion special. Summer vegetables were baby carrot, peas, green asparagus, early cabbage, potatoes, radish and cauliflower. For tourists good chance to taste fresh Finnish vegetables on one plate.

Arctic char at Havis - reijosfood.com

Roasted beef marble fillet with bean cassoulet and Bearnaise sauce

Roasting time had been consummate but unfortunately meat included parts which were chewy. Cassoulet and sauce paired well with meat as well as glass of Capitel San Rocco Valpolicella Superiore Ripasso. Wine had suitable amount of tannins but was also round at the same time.

Roasted beef at Havis - reijosfood.com

DESSERTS

Cheese selection with Havis crisp bread and compote

First of all thanks to our waiter who wrote down the names of cheeses because have to try to find Klosterkäse from Austria from supermarkets because it was really tasty. Other cheeses were Fourme Dambert from France, Capratraminer from Italy and Brie de Meaux from France which is always unbeatable white cheese. Wonder why Havis does not serve Finnish cheeses?

Cheese plate - reijosfood.com

White chocolate pannacotta with marinated strawberries

Dessert without lactose but includes milk, well done Havis!

Pannacotta at Havis - reijosfood.com

 

We had for white wine Prinz von Hessen Classic Riesling which paired well with starters and arctic char. Dry and enough minerals and acidity, not too dominant but complementary.

The old ship on the back end wall was heading to …..?

Havis dining room - reijosfood.com

Roasted beef lowered a little bit the food points but otherwise dinner was delicious. Especially using lactose free milk products is big plus. Overall grade is high because it is great that Havis is open on Midsummer’s Eve and we got exactly the table we had been requested when making on-line reservation.

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

Typical Finnish summer weather forecast: “If it does not rain, it is cloudy or sunny. Sometimes or usually all three at the same time”.

Rainbow - reijosfood.com

http://www.ravintolahavis.fi/en

https://fi-fi.facebook.com/SkywheelHelsinki

https://www.facebook.com/Vanhakauppahalli





Restaurant review: PureBistro – with Bib Gourmand status

1 06 2014

PureBistro and Market Square - reijosfood.com

PureBistro is a modern bistro and bar with two terraces next to the Market Square in Torikorttelit buildings.  Restaurant is owned by Michelin star restaurant Luomo (on the 2nd floor) chef”s Jouni Toivanen and Mika Mattila. That explains partly why PureBistro is one of the five Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants in Helsinki and earns to keep that status.

PureBistro entrance - reijosfood.com

Dining room at PureBistro is quite small and therefore in the summer time you might decide to dine outside, if temperature allows that, which it did not on the last day of May. If you dine inside, ask for window table and you can enjoy sea view and observe bustle at the Market Square. That is exactly whatwe did.

PureBistro - reijosfood.comPureBistro terrace - reijosfood.com

Menu is short – 3 starters, 3 main courses and 2 desserts. If you choose 3 course dinner, the price is 45€. One option is to have drink at the bar and taste some small bites, in Finnish Snadit. As English and Finnish versions of the names of the portions are not exactly the same, I included both language versions.

After placing order customers will get fresh bread paper bag on the table.

PureBistro menu - reijosfood.comPureBistro menu and bread - reijosfood.com

Starters we ordered had fancy names; Hamashi Sashimi with Avocado & Seaweed Piikkimakrillisashimia, avokadokreemiä, soijaa ja levää and Carpaccio, Bloody Mary Sorbet & Tallowvinegar Kotimaista rotukarjaa, bloody mary sorbet ja emmentalia.

Sashimi was fresh and side dishes accompanied fish in oriental portion well. Lack of salt was only minus. Beef carpaccio was so soft that it could have eaten with spoon. I am not sure if kitchen tried to create picture of hedgehog on the plate, but portion looked like it.

Sashimi at PureBistro - reijosfood.comCarpaccio at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

For main courses we had two times Fried Trout, Cauliflower & Cassis Ahvenanmaan taimenta, kukkakaalia ja herukkaa but requested some changes to one of them. Restaurant created excellent version of this portion by replacing cauliflower with ratatouille.

Trout itself was perfectly fried, you could also eat fish skin as it was enough crispy. And what is most important, fish was not over-fried which happens too often also in so called good restaurants.

Fried trout at PureBistro- reijosfood.comTrout at PureBistro

For desserts ordered Tosca, VanillaIceCream & MilkXoco Toscakakkua, vaniljajäätelöä ja maitosuklaata and “Macedonia De Frutas” Liqourice “Hedelmäsalaattia” ja lakritsisorbettia.

Tosca cake was scrumptious. Amount of toffee sauce was maybe too much, but had to eat all of it anyway. Take a look at how fruits and sorbet was placed on the plate! PureBistro really has an artist in the kitchen, remember the hedgehog.

Dessert at PureBistro - reijosfood.comFruit dessert at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

Had to order bottle of Tesch 1 Liter Riesling for two reasons; riesling weeks with special menus had just ended but Tesch riesling was still available and the unsual size of the bottle (1 liter) is rare apparition.

Wine paired well with all dishes we had; well, maybe not with desserts. Dry, about 6 g/l sugar if I remember right what waitress told, and balanced acidity and minerality.

 Tesch 1 litre riesling at PureBistro - reijosfood.com

As we got window table, overall grade is 4,5. Propably next time we shall dine at the terrace; waiting for warmer summer days….Service is in balance with kitchen’s creativeness and skills.

PureBistro is genuine Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant and actually one of the first fine dining bistro type of restaurants in Helsinki. Nowadays there are several sophisticated bistro restaurants close to each other, like Gastrobar Emo, Gastropub Rikhard’s, Spis and Copa’s y Tapas. Reviews of there restaurants can be found by using search. Also previous PureBistro reviews can be found the same way.

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

http://www.purebistro.fi/

 








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