Restaurant review: Alberga – dinner and comedy theatre

8 02 2014

Alberga - reijosfood.com

Our visit to Alberga, one of the oldest theatre restaurants in Finland, was probably the 20th or at least something like that. And proof of our long history with Alberga was warm welcome handshake by owner,  when we arrived.

Theatre restaurant Alberga is family owned scene in Espoo, Leppävaara (Alberga in Swedish). Restaurant was established 1988 and since then it has presented over 1000 plays, mostly comedies.

We came to see “Rich, Dear and Work” performed by Minna Kivelä and Annu Valonen. Both are well known comediennes from TV series “Handy hostess”.

What a play! These comediennes are the best in Finland and made us laugh bellies ache.

There is always special theatre menu available consisting of one starter, two alternative main courses and one dessert. Dinner is served before the show which usually starts at 20.00.

Dinner started with Beetroot flavored salmon which is basic delicious Finnish dish and never let’s you down. Salmon must be enough thin in order not be chewy.

Salmon at Alberga - reijosfood.com

For main courses kitchen served Roasted Arctic char with lingonberry sauce and Fried sirloin with red wine sauce.

Fish included cooked potatoes and made portion again basic scrumptious Finnish plate. Sirloin was tender and properly roasted, meat inside was rose. Side dishes, oven potato and roasted root vegetables complemented the dose perfectly.

Acctic char at Alberga - reijosfood.comSirloin at Alberga - reijosfood.com

Dessert served was Parfait which included orange, chocolate and strawberry. Could have eaten three of them.

Parfait at Alberga - reijosfood.com

Theatre restaurant Alberga is more sedate than Kaksi kanaa, which is also popular scene (review was posted 4.3.2012).

Alberga - reijosfood.com

You should visit Alberga although you would not like theatre. It is totally different to follow up the show two meters from the small stage than sit in the back row of big hall. And most of the plays are enjoyable, well written and acted out. Athmosphere is relaxed and informal. Therefore Alberga earns 4,5 for overall grade.

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

http://www.ravintolaalberga.fi/





Restaurant review: SPIS – pure Nordic cuisine

1 12 2013

Spies - reijosfood.com

What is Nordic cuisine? It is delicious fresh food with lots of vegetables, good service, pleasant athmosphere and Nordic/Finnish background music!

Restaurant Spis is cozy 18-seat Nordic, maybe the smallest fine dining restaurant in Helsinki. It is open only in the evenings from Tuesday to Saturday. Because of the size and popularity, you have to choose to dine early at 0530PM/0600PM or to eat at later table setting at 0830PM. Spis serves two tasting menus, there is no separate a la carte list available.

Visited first time Spis over a year ago and experience was impressive. Restaurant got 13,25 points which is as good achievement as this years leaders have been able to get. Or maybe we have been more picky this year?

Dinner started with snacks; several of them which differentiate Spis from many bistros in Helsinki.

First we were served crispbread with sauerkraut mayonnaise. After crispbread we were served root fireworks! You started from right with potato, carrot, striperoot and ended up to turnip. Not sure if striperoot is right translation for raitajuuri, but it is like beetroot. Each Finnish delicacy, which were eaten with fingers, included right seasoning or herb. Forget potato chips and peanuts, offer this type of snacks also at home.

Crisbread - reijosfood.comSnacks - reijosfood.com

Greeting from kitchen, which was brought to the table by one of the chef’s, was vorschmack with sour cream. Good example of Finnish traditional food but prepared totally different way than usually. Minced meat was not so salty and greasy as it usually is and taste of anchovis was in balance.

Vorschmack - reijosfood.com

For starter we got vitamin bomb which included beetroot and yellowroot. As snacks alread included one relative root you really have chance to try many Finnish fresh and good tasting roots.

Starter at Spis - reijosfood.com

First warm main course was salmon with dried carrots and carrot spaghetti. Salmon was almost raw but it was not at the same time. Probably it had been steamed as it was so soft but there was no frying or roasting marks. Carrots had been first dried for 6 hours and then boiled. Prepared that way sweetness of carrots came to prominence and complimented salty (not too much) salmon well.

Salmon at Spies - reijosfood.com

Between main courses we got apple sorbets, nice way to clean the mouth.

Sorbet  - reijosfood.com

Spis served for second warm main course lamb ribs with potatoes. Best part of this portion was French red wine which paired perfectly with lamb. Unfortunately meat was too greasy for us and potatoes reminded too much of those you can get from frozen food lockers. But the sauce was scrumptious and it saved a lot.

Lamb - reijosfood.com

Intermediate dessert consisted of pear cake and meringue. Auts, it was so yammy you could have continued eating for ever. But as you might guess, portions are not so big…

Sorbet - reijosfood.com

Actual dessert was silver toffee ice-cream which made you hesitate thought you had when eating previous dessert. This one you could continue to eat forever…. Silver toffee (hopeatoffee) used to be favourite candy in the childhood and now you can again get it from the supermarkets, excellent! Using silver toffee in dessert is big proof that you are eating in a genuine Nordic/Finnish restaurant as this type of toffee is available only in Finland.

Spis also takes care of food allergies, therefore one dessert was sorbet.

Silver toffee - reijosfood.com

Gittasorbet - reijosfood.com?

Dinner ended up with tea and espresso. But as you are able to taste Ålvados which is calvados from Åland you have to do it. Take a look at the bottle, there is glass apple inside. And with dessert drinks still some sweets. Great way to end the dinner.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Ålvados - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Spis would have earned 5- for food if the lamb would not have been so greasy (most people would have liked it that way). Service was professional; contents of portions were explained well and suggestions for wines were one of the most succesful so far.

The food itself is excellent and probably one the healthiest you can eat at the restaurants. Background music was mainly new Finnish and Swedish sounds which is also quite unique.

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

And last but not least, take a look at Marimekko Unikko towels in the restroom! If we are not in THE Nordic restaurant, then where? SPIS is now new leader with 13,50 points!

Marimekko Unikko - reijosfood. com

http://spis.fi/

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





Restaurant review: Blue Peter

18 10 2013

Restaurant Blue Peter is situated on Lauttasaari island 4 km from Helsinki city centre. In the summer time it is really popular due to large terraces and HSK sailing club members. Restaurant is open all year around hosting private events also in the winter time. Suggest to try it instead of hotel meeting rooms.

We had dinner outside of busy season.

For starter had Crayfish Skagen, which has always been excellent. Thick and juicy crayfish tails are better than basic shrimps and combined with well prepared topping, it is really mouth-watering delicacy. And the massive heap of crayfish is really prestige.

Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

For main course we ordered Salmon with dill-potato smash and herb oil. Fish was perfectly roasted but sweet potato (correction: it must have been pumpkin) did not match as well as carrots which the portion usually included. Balancing sweetnes for salty fish was missing.

Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

For dessert, of course, Crepe with Old fashioned ice-cream and strawberry jam. It would be convenient to have at least one choice of lactose-free or low-lactose ice-cream because suggested sorbet does not pair with delicious crepe. We also paid normal price for the portion although decided to order it without ice-cream. Crepe is propably best in Helsinki as mentioned in earlier post, but would also value if both of us could really enjoy it with all side dishes.

Blue Peter - reijosfood.com

Blue Peter is THE summer restaurant and therefore after busy season it might feel a little bit quiet. After combining bistro and a la carte menus, selection of portions have decreased. Sometimes it is good to focus on fewer choises, but now only warm fish available in seaside restaurant are vendaces. This may be partly because of game season as you can enjoy of elk and rabbit.

Waiting already for the next summer, sunshine, cold drinks and cheeese burger at the terraces and maybe surface renovation of the chairs at the dining area.

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

http://www.bluepeter.fi/articles/632/





Restaurant review: PureBistro

30 08 2013

PureBistro - reijosfood.com

Huge improvement compared to first visit a year ago! Guess, if the food in the picture above is fish or meat? You will only know it by reading on.

PureBistro is a modern bistro and bar with two terraces next to the Market Square in Torikorttelit buildings. Restaurant serves uncomplicated but well prepared bistro food. PureBistro is owned by Michelin star restaurant Luomo chef”s Jouni Toivanen and Mika Mattila. Luomo operates in 2nd floor.

Dining room is quite small but this evening it did not bother as restaurant was not full. Ask for window table and you can enjoy sea view and observe what happens at Market Square.

PureBistro - reijosfood.com

Our group ordered for starters one HOT FOREST MUSHROOMS WITH ORGANIC EGG 65 Metsäsieniä, tattitoffeeta ja luomukananmuna and several portions of TOAST SKAGEN Briossia, katkarapuja, siianmätiä, chilimajoneesia.

Had tasted at Taste of Helsinki 2013 boletus toffee and organic egg 65 but must repeat did not like combination. 65 means egg has been cooked up to 65C degrees, so it is was loose. Boletus toffee is really exotic “sauce”; it is too sweet for starter looking like grey brownish tepid liquid, almost like the wash water of the mushrooms. Big chanterelles saved a bit but again whole experience was too exotic to say it in nice words.

Toast Skagen was delicious and quite spicy due to chili. Whitefish roe crowned this otherwise simple looking portion.

PureBistro - reijosfood.comPureBistro - reijosfood.com

For main courses we had GRILLED ROOTVEGGIES, FETA CHEESE AND OAT Grillattuja juureksia, fetaa ja paahdettu ohraa, MISO-CURED SALMON AND VEGE TEMPURA JAPONESE Miso marinoitua lohta, tempuravihanneksia ja soijaa, GUINEA FOWL WITH TAPIOCA AND CURRY Helmikanaa, tapiokahelmiä ja currya and from daily menu STEAK ENTRECOTE JAPONESE STYLE.

Because of different cravings, all four main course were tasted and all of them were great.

Feta cheese paired well with rootveggies from which beetroot was welcomed choice. Salmon was a little bit raw from the middle which suited perfectly to Japonese style. Would have liked a little bit more tempura vegetables (chili, egg plant and lotus root), which were served in separate small bowl. Entrecote was tender and included also chili, which seemed to be unifying spice to most of the portions.

Now answer for the question: Meat and more specific, guinea fowl. Most of us first thought there was fish on the plate. How cleverly and skillfully set!

PureBistro - reijosfood.comPureBistro - reijosfood.comPureBistro - reijosfood.comPureBistro - reijosfood.com

For desserts one LE MARQUISE AU CHOCOLAT Suklaamarkiisia ja pistaasisorbet and from daily menu most of us chose CHOCO AND BANANA Banaanijäätelöä ja suklaakastiketta. One dessert without milk succeeded also well.

All desserts were scrumptious. Sorbet did not differ from ice-cream as it was so “creamy”. However, taste of pistachio was pushy.

PureBistro - reijosfood.comPureBistro - reijosfood.comPureBistro - reijosfood.com

Food was excellent. We had eaten at PureBistro in July (no review available), so we already expected great experience. Service was also in good shape, well explained what portions included and good knowledge of wines.

One weakness was the wine list, it was short, only about 5-6 white and red wines available. You could of course choose from separate wine list but prices for quality wines would be the same (expensive) as in restaurant Luomo. We had Max Ferdinand Richter Mûlheimer Sonnelay Riesling Zeppelin as white wine. Had to taste it before ordering as it was close to semi-dry, but suspicion vanished after tasting as wine was not too sweet at all. For red wine we enjoyed Dourthe Clos de los Siete which paired well also with salmon.

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

http://purebistro.fi/

First visit PureBistro review can be found by using search on reijosfood.com





Restaurant review: Kappeli

11 08 2013

Muusa at Kappeli - reijosfood.com

Finnish food in historic building.

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. You can also find some art pieces inside the restaurants if you look carefully, like “Muusa” sculpture in the picture.

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 on stage opposite the restaurant. We dined in that small glass walled space, like private dining at the sames time as Jazz Espa was playing at the stage and there were several diners in the main dining room.

Kappeli - reijosfood.com

For starters ordered large Kappeli’s vegetable salad Salad, sweet pepper, artichoke, endive, green beans, croutons and honey sauce and Kappeli’s fish assortment Smoked salmon mousse, cold smoked Baltic herring skagen, smoked whitebait, cold smoked salmon and organic scrambled eggs.

Vegetable salad was fresh and it was asked to be served without green beans and croutons. Fish assortment was dissappointment, too salty and more simple than last year when we dined and made review (see link below)

Kappeli salad - reijosfood.comFish starter - reijosfood.com

As main courses had Smoked salmon creamy false morel sauce, potatoes with dill, butter and onion, baked tomato and zucchini and large Caesar salad and chicken.

Differences compared to last visit can be seen from previous review. Asked now to get false morel sauce in separate bowl. Salmon itself was well prepared. Caesar salad was delicious again as it was last time, a safe choise.

Salmon at Kappeli - reijosfood.comCaesar salad at Kappeli - reijosfood.com

Kappeli is a perfect place to try Finnish kitchen in the center of events. Most of the diners are tourists. However, food compared to experience is too expensive as well as wines. But you have to pay some extra for the specific athmosphere, restaurant style and location as in any other city. If weather is good, take a table at the terrace which unfortunately is a little bit aloof and try large Caesar salad.

If you have S-Group loyalty card you can utilize offers like Italian sparkling wine. Maybe cost of a bottle is about 2€’s to the restaurant but as we are in Finland, 24€’s for Loyal Customers and for others 35€. Best offer still is bottle of champagne for 39€ in all S-Group HOK-Elanto restaurants and that is decent offer!

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

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

https://reijosfood.com/2012/07/14/restaurant-review-kappeli/

Sparkling at Kappeli - reijosfood.com





Restaurant review: Saaristo

22 06 2013

Restaurant SaaristoKlippan

Restaurant Saaristo (Archipelago in English) is located on the Klippan island. You can see the Empire-Helsinki skyline in the North and walls and bastions of King Gustav style Suomenlinna in the South. Jugend style villa that was built in 1898 but you can still admire the crafty and romantic Jugend style wood cuts and wood-carved animals in the beams and balconies.

Restaurant SaaristoRestaurant Saaristo barShip

Saaristo’s menu offers delicacies of Scandinavian cuisine. A connection boat serves from the Saaristo’s pier located south of the Olympia terminal, next to the Peace Statue. Summer restaurant which is open from May to September, is one of the rare places open on Midsummer’s Eve. Other restaurants are closed because most of the Helsinki residents rush to their summer cottages. Maybe Saaristo should also be closed in Midsummer because there were few diners and head waiter was sort of displeased. We had to wait 10 minutes while he served customers it the bar.

Saaristo boat

For starters had fresh local fish which are always refreshing especially in the summer. Ordered Whitefish à la ice-cellar whitefish roe and cauliflower prepared in two ways and Slightly cooked salmon cured with sugar and salt herbs of the House and fennel seed marinated cucumber. Both portions were excellent! Whitefish was really crisp and cauliflowers suited well with it. Roe was maybe needless because it did not match so well to ensemble. Salmon was also really high quality fish and wholeness perfect.

Ice cellar whitefishSalmon at Saaristo

For main courses had Sirloin of reindeer roasted with herbs truffle potato and dark porcini sauce and Arctic char smoked with Pihlajavesi alder Jerusalem artichoke ravioli and lobster butter. Reindeer was maybe the weakest link although it was crisp. Meat was ordered as medium but it was almost raw. Arctic char was smoked with skill and kithen could take well into consideration wishes we had.

Reindeer at SaaristoArctic Char at Saaristo

For dessert ordered An assortment of Nordic cheeses nut bread and honey seasoned with Saaristo’s lavender and waiters recommendation with it RIVESALTES AMBRÉ 2000, Cazes, AOC Rivesaltes, France. Cheeses were from Finland, Denmark and Sweden; Nordic ensemble. All of them were really tasty and sweet wine paired perfectly with them.

Cheeses at SaaristoSweet wineSweet wine

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

Restaurant Saaristo is good choice of those about 5 other island restaurants in front of the Helsinki. It is expensive if we take into account sizes of portions and price of 1 minute water taxi trip. Service in the table would have been 4/5 but happenings from restaurant door to the table dropped points.

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

One nice thing to watch after dinner were the sea birds with their cubs. Seagulls and Barnacle gooses had just got addition to their families and were taking care of them.

Seagull





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/








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