Review of Stockmann Herkku dining spots

6 04 2013

Stockmann Aleksi in Helsinki is the biggest department store in the Nordics. Stockmann has several locations in Finland but is also growing in Russia.

Stockmann Herkku (Delikatessen) sells food products and groceries in each Stockmann department store. In other foreign countries where Stockmann operates, Herkku is called Delikatess (Estonia), Delikatese (Latvia) sekä Gastronome (Russia).

Biggest Stockmann Herkku is in the flagship store in the center of Helsinki. It also has couple of nice dining spots which we have planned to try quite long.

First spot was Meals Bar where we had few tapas and some fruit salad.

Stockmann Meals

Three different tapas were Parma ham, Chevre and Cold smoked salmon on rye bread. To be honest they were dissappointing goodies. Rye bread and Parma ham does not fit together. Chevre was too cold because all tapas were in cold place. Cold smoked salmon was a little bit dry. Fortunately fruit salad was fresh. You can choose from 2 white and 2 red wines, one cava and one champagne to pair your food.

Tapas

After tapas visited Coffee Bar serving different coffees, teas and some fondants but also some dessert beverages like grappa, cognac etc…Decided to order espresso, simmered green tea, grappa and few chocolate fondants. Must say these fondants were better than usually Petit fours are for dessert. Can recommend!

Stockmann Coffee Bar

Tapas selection at Stockmann Herkku varies day by day, so another day might provide better experience at Meals Bar. Believe fondants are always as good as they were this time.





Restaurant review: Kiila Food and Bar

9 12 2012

Food and Bar 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.

Visited second time Kiila Food and bar just before Christmas. Major change had been made concerning a la carte list because serious affordable fine dining was not anymore main target. It does not mean that food would be worse but portions were not so ambitious they seemed to be in the beginning. More Finnish dishes than earlier, like fried vendace.

For starter ordered “Carnival plate by Kiila” for two including fried mozzarella sticks, chicken skewer, cherry tomatoes, carrot-, cucumber- and sweet pepper sticks, fried halloumi, mini bratwurst, bbq-, chili-mayonnese- and dill-sour cream- sauces. Tomatoes were missing but not so huge dissappointment. Chicken with bbq sauce was great as well as mozzarella. Otherwise quite simple portion because of ordinar vegetable sticks. But all sauces were delicious.

Starter

For main courses had Grilled Chicken Breast with roasted vegetables and sweet chili sauce and Giant Shrimps Pasta with chili-coriander sauce. Chicken was OK. Pasta was raw or it had dried after cooking. Seemed that base of the sauce was similar for both dishes. Have to say that pasta sauce was one of the most spicy in Finland.

ChickenPasta

For desserts ordered one sorbet because no other choise for lactose free dish and chocolate cake with mascarpone foam and blackberry syrup. Sorbet was OK and cake really delicious, maybe best part of dinner. Some black currant and red currant berries, very typical Finnish berries.

SorbetChocklate cake

Kiila seemed to be quite popular, no wonder. Prices are affordable and location perfect, you can watch Stockmann Christmas lights just opposite. Laid-back athmosphere makes it easy to come to the restaurant.

Stockmann

Some trouble with service again. White wine was warm when it was brought to the table, big tablespoons for dessert and had to pay at the cash desk, because no waiter/waitress was available.

REVIEW II: FOOD 3/5 – SERVICE 3-/5 – OVERALL GRADE 3/5

Kiila

https://reijosfood.com/2012/04/08/restaurant-review-food-and-bar-kiila/

http://www.ravintolakiila.fi/





Restaurant review: Demo

26 08 2012

Restaurant Demo is a 45 -seat Michelin star restaurant that opened its doors January 2003. Demo serves high class food combined with personal and friendly service. Demo is owned by chefs Tommi Tuominen & Teemu Aura. Their goal is to offer a chance to top quality dining, in a relaxed and cozy environment. Means that Demo is casual Michelin star restaurant in Helsinki. Background music includes lounge music, Sade Adu but also more fast tracks. Waitering is also easy-going but professional.

Demo earned it’s first Michelin star in 2007 and has been able to keep it for five years. Restaurant is open only in the evenings from Tuesday to Saturday. On Saturday you can only choose Menu fo the Day of 4, 5 or 6 portions, which you do not know beforehand. You can also order wine pairings instead of bottle or glass of wine chosen by sommelier. Oldest wine served with food was this time from 1989.

Menu started with Greetings from kitchen; salmon and roe which were perfectly complimented with delicious wasabi sauce. One small spoonful, could have eaten at least five of them.

First course consisted of crayfish, fennel and gherkings. Great combination! Crayfish, which is the best tasting shellfish, was soft and juicy. White wine with first course was Savignon Blanc from Spain; rare grape for Spanish vineyards. Savignon Blanc is not the favourite one, prefer usually Riesling, but this time it suited well for the crayfish.

Second course was Forest deer carpaccio with carrots, fennel, parsley and delicious paste. Roe or forest deer was so tender you could have eaten it with a spoon.  White wine served tasted a little bit too much for butter. It was again from Spain; interesting that you can not find any Spanish white wines from wine list.

Third course was Pan fried cod, mussel fregola and lemon grass sauce. Cod was prepared with orthodox way, meat of the fish was cooked to a turn and skin was crispy and delicious. Mussel fregola matched well with fish and cooked like pasta should. This time white wine was Chardonnay from France. Wine aroma and flavour was oaken as Chardonnay’s usually are but not so buttery as it could have been.

Fourth course and first dessert was Cheese selection and house nut bread. Enjoyment started from the left with milder cheeses. When stronger white mold cheese smeteld in the mouth felt like it could not become better. However, when salty and strong blue cheese ended course, earlier evaluation was wrong. Kitchen also had taken into consideration one of our wishes and served sweet Ravioli instead of cheeses. For cheeses wine was sweet vintage red which tasted almost port wine. For ravioli wine was sweet white wine.

Bread seemed to be one of Demo’s specialities. House nut bread with cheeses was excellent but focaccia and bread with fennel were super excellent!

Fifth course and second dessert was Arctic cloudberries with yogurt and popcorn. Popcorn was pleasant surprise and the whole portion scrumptious. White wine served was sweet and it was perfect match with dessert which was not too sweet.

With coffee and tea kitchen served small confections which were luscious. After eating two pieces already thought that third might be too much.

One interesting detail was that you can find small pictures of owners/chefs on the restroom wall’s.

Restaurant Demo deserves Michelin star because of excellent food experience. One change in selection of wines for food; grade for food experience would have been 5.

Restaurant became almost full in the evening which meant that service became a little bit slower. Started dinner quite early when there was only few people seated. Got greeting from kitchen and two first courses quite quickly which meant that had 3 wine classes simultaneously at the table. Would have hoped a little bit more balanced timing for waitering, but staff explained well the contents of portions and what wine was served with each dish.

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

http://www.restaurantdemo.fi/demo_en

https://reijosfood.com/2012/03/14/michelin-star-restaurants-in-finland-2012/

http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/web/Restaurant/Helsingfors_Helsinki-00120-Demo-119682-41102





Restaurant review: Piccolo Mondo

19 08 2012

Restaurant Piccolo Mondo, located at Aleksi’s coutyard, is a family owned restaurant which has been operating in the same place since 1991. Inside dining hall has room for about 80 people and during the summer season terrace holds about 100 additional seating. Piccolo’s kitchen combines Mediterranean influences with Finnish traditional cuisine. You can order pasta, risotto, pizza, salad and seafood dishes as well as desserts. Restaurant has had same tables at the terrace quite long, suggest to replace them.

There are also two other restaurants at Aleksi’s coutyard (Aleksin Piha), Santa Fe and Grande Grill. Santa Fe serves tex mex food like fajitas and from June to August from Monday to Thursday you can enjoy live music performed by local artists. Piccolo Mondo customers can also hear and watch music. Grande Grill serves meat and sandwiches nad have same tables at the terrace as Santa Fe. Would say that Santa Fe is most popular restaurant of the three at Aleksi’s coutyard.

Started dinner with large Antipasto (8 pieces) including Mozzarella, gorgonzola, cold smoked salmon, prosciutto, marinated champignon mushrooms, olives, marinated artichoke and melon. Mozzarella was Buffala which was bonus, mushrooms tasted best, artichokes shoud have been grilled but now tasted too much for vinegar. In overall appearance of antipasto plate looked too much tinned food. Also ordered Bread Basket fresh bread and tapenade spread, maybe the most expensive bread in the restaurants but good.

Restaurant suggested to order Pike perch in August which we did. Fish came with steamed vegetables, potato cakes and shrimp remoulade. Wondered if chef had used white pepper instead of salt. Had to also add salt which is really rare for us. Also ordered Surf & Turf  Fried chicken breast fillet, jumbo shrimp skewer, coconut-citrus sauce and creamy white wine risotto. Chicken and shrimps were ok but risotto was more or less like porridge. For side dish ordered Mixed salad which balanced main courses well.

The terrace of Piccolo Mondo is casual and perfect place to eat pizza in the summer. It is more quiet (no own music and less noise) than other two restaurants at the Aleksi’s coutyard which makes conversation easier. If you decide to dine at coutyard and all tables are occupied, wait for a while close to the tables and run to released table right away because you are not the only one trying to do the same.

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

http://www.piccolomondo.fi/piccolomondo/english





Restaurant review: Brasserie Kämp

7 08 2012

Hotel Kämp is a historical hotel in Helsinki. The hotel was originally built in 1887 by Carl Kämp. The building was demolished and the facade was rebuilt in 1965. The headquarters of the bank KOP were situated in the building for almost three decades, until 1995. A major restoration project, started in 1996, culminated in the reopening of Hotel Kämp in 1999 as a Luxury Collection property of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide. A shopping centre, Kämp Galleria, was also opened within the same city block. All rock and pop stars spend their nights in Hotel Kämp. Last week Bruce Springsteen, the Boss, was there.

Dining at Hotel Kämp gives a possibility on a culinary journey from East to West. Eastern food is offered in restaurant YUME , where you can enjoy modern Asian hawkers- and finger food with a Modern Asian Temptations -concept. Brasserie Kämp offers a wide range of European food brasserie style and Kämp Bar offers you the unique cocktails; in fact mainly champagne, wine and beer which customers usually order. Bar is also very popular on Friday and Saturday evenings. You can also enjoy Sunday brunch at Brasserie Kämp. After building heated terrace a year ago you can dine “outside” all year around like in many brasseries in Paris. In the 2nd floor there used to be a la carte restaurant Signe for almost one year but it did not seem to exist anymore.

A la carte list is short which makes ordering easy, if you find suitable dish. Recommend to order gourmet “fast food” like salad or hamburger which is really luxorious. Especially French fries are maybe the best in the city.

Wanted to challenge kitchen and decided to order for starters ARTICHOKE RISOTTO Goat Gryere flavoured artichoke risotto rucola and SALMON CARPACCIO AND SCALLOPS Red Grapefruit vinegrette flavoured Salmon Carpaccio and fried Scallops with Asparagus salad and Le Grûyère AOC cheese. Taste of risotto was ok but quite mild. Main problem was wetness, it was like soup which risotto’s usually are not. Smelt cheese or lots of olive oil; difficult to taste. Scallops were perfectly fried as they were not like gum ball’s. Unfortunately not any more hot as they shoud be.  Salmon carpaccio is always delicious.

For main courses ordered CATCH OF THE DAY Fresh Fish of the Day which was Whitefish and season vegetables and Cord-fed Chicken Grilled Corn-Fed chicken served with Pumpkin puree and Barley, Madeira Sauce. Whitefish was roasted with professional way which enabled to eat also skin of the fish. Almost half of the season vegetables included lentils, maybe not so seasonal. Chicken was great, not too dry and pumpkin puree was delicious. Barley should be used more often in dishes as it was used in Wanha Makasiini few days earlier.

You could order cakes from the cake trolley but was too full. Green tea and coffee served from luxorious set of dishes ended dinner with glamour.

Brasserie and Cafe Kämp is perfect location to observe passers-by on Esplanadi promenade. You can also watch swanky cars parked front of Hotel Kämp or driving to the hotel garage.

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

http://www.hotelkamp.com/brasseriekampbareng





Restaurant review: Wanha Makasiini

4 08 2012

Restaurant Wanha Makasiini may be the best privately owned restaurant in Lappeenranta. After two experiences it earns recommendation; if you visit Lappeenranta dine at Wanha Makasiini! Old building itself is worth to see as it is “Old Storehouse”, pictures on the walls describe briefly the history of the building. Restaurant is located in the harbour near Sand Castle which is built each summer to attract tourists to Lappeenranta. You can dine inside or at the terrace depending on the weather. Although restaurant has fine dining menu you can also order pizzas which makes Wanha Makasiini versatile place.

Arrived to the restaurant at about 7PM and it was full; at 930PM it was empty; early dinner. Only Finnish diners this time although in Lappeenranta there are many visitors from neighbor country, Russia

For starters ordered again delicacy from the visit last time, no letdown this time either. Smoked vendace toast, smoked vendace mousse and roasted rye bread. Very simple but so delicious could have eaten 3 portions. Soft and suitably salty mousse blended in with rye bread roasted with butter tasted out of this world. Turkey pastrami, turkey on herb salad bed, marinated red onion and walnut vinaigrette was also simple dish. Turkey was tender; not too dry as it usually is.

Again fish for main courses. This time chose Fried salmon with spinach-pearl barley risotto and season vegetables. Chose this one because wanted to taste and compare barley vs rice as risotto ingredient. Taste and look was almost the same; a little bit bigger pearls but definately worth of trying, can recommend. Roasted whitefish and grilled prawns with lime sauce and grilled vegetables was the weakest link. Fish was over roasted and lime or bearnaise sauce not so attractive. Also prawns were quite small. Last year whitefish portion was excellent and roasted perfectly.

Because main courses were so generous decided to taste ice creams with tea and espresso. Home made Rasberry sorbet and Baileys ice cream ended the dinner appropriately. Next time have to try Mud cake because usually it “separates wheat from the chaff” when it comes to competence of the kitchen.

Because of easy-going athmosphere, renovation of the old building and location in the harbour, Wanha Makasiini earns 4 as an overall grade.

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

http://www.ravintolawanhamakasiini.fi/

http://hiekkalinna.lappeenranta.fi/en/

Some figures from Sand Castle below.





Restaurant review: Valo

3 08 2012

After 3,5 hour opera (The Magic Flute) in Savonlinna Opera Festival and 4 hour joyful Crayfish dinner and cruise on the Saimaa lake, it was relaxing to dine next day at restaurant Valo. Savonlinna Opera Festival celebrates 100 years history in 2012 and it gathers friends of opera each year. Maybe one can feel similar athmosphere in Verona but Savonlinna continues to live after opera as people dine and share opera experiences in nearby restaurants.

Dined at Valo second time and food was now better. Last year Whitefish was so over roasted it almost fractured. Because one has to dine outside in order to be able observe opera guests walking to Savonlinna castle 200 meters from Valo restaurant, it is important to have good weather. In Valo one can also just have a drink at the forefront bar and do the same. Restaurant serves local Finnish food, evidence for it was mentioning local producers in the a la carte list.

In Savonlinna one MUST eat vendaces! As they were only available for main course asked to get Vendaces from Pielavesi for starter without side dishes. Succeeded and they were simple but excellent, salty and partly crispy but not too creasy. From check noticed that price and name for starter was the same as in childrens menu. Another choice was Cold smoked salmon salad, cold smoked salmon with salad, marinated red onion, deep fried capers, sun dried tomatoes, marinated olives, lemon compote and bread. Add-on’s were not so Finnish and neither this starter beat vendaces.

For main courses had Rib from the Koivunotko wild board, barbeque sauce with potato and chorizo bake. Wild board was perfectly tender as it has been cooked 48 hours. Chorizo harmonized with potatoes well and gave some stroger savor to portion. Arctic Char with new potatoes from Kulennois and dill and whitewine sauce was enjoyable but as usual a little bit over fried. Restaurant mentioned producer or place of catching in both portions.

Almost forgot to take photos of desserts! Grand Marnier Parfait and strawberries was fresh and fruity. Home made chocolate cake and lingonberry ice cream tasted delicious. Soft and moist cake as it should be and rough ice cream with luscious lingonberry taste, almost whole berries.

Restaurant forgot to invoice bottle of Riesling wine as it was ordered from another waitress. Told that and got 20% discount for it.

Because of excellent location and athmosphere overall grade exceeds food and service grades. Restaurant is full before and after opera, therefore table reservation at those times is needed. During opera there are free tables available without need to make reservation.

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

http://www.savonmafia.fi/cms/media/32/VALO_ALA_CARTE.pdf

http://www.operafestival.fi/In_English/Front_page.iw3








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