Restaurant review: Oficina – Latin Grill and Bar

8 01 2017

Oficina – Restaurante and Club Social – locates at Kaivopiha plaza in Helsinki, offering Latin food. Inside the restaurant, which is one floor down from street level, you’ll find the dining area, open kitchen and bar. Oficina is owned and operated by S-Group/Raflaamo, which has several restaurant chains in Helsinki area.

Oficina menu comes from Latin America, but not from some particular country. The Argentinean asado culture and their charcoal grills are used to prepare steaks, fish and vegetables. From Peru,  restaurant has selected the sharp pisco sour, salsa verde from Costa Rica and from Brazil, grilled chicken marinated in coconut. If salsa verde would be from Mexico, the taste of chilli jalopenos would have been stronger.

For starters (entradas) chose Ceviche Salmon ceviche, avocado mole salsa and corn chips and Nachos con salsa Oficina’s own corn chips and fresh salsas.

Ceviche was fresh and included many pieces of salmon. Typically dominant ingredients are vegetables and herbs but this time there was enough fish. However, lack of lemon or lime and acidity disturbed a little bit, but otherwise salmon paired well with chips.

Nachos included 3 salsas and part of them were spiced with red chilli powder. That gave extra taste to so common Latin American starter or snack. The guacamole and pico degallo added were nice, but as mentioned ealier green salsa could have been hotter, not lemony taste dominated.

For vegan main course ordered from Latin Grill list Tofu Asado Tofu on a skewer, pineapple salsa, beans and ginger daikon radish and Ribs de Cerdo Pork ribs glazed with chipotle chilli and served with fennel and apple.

Tofu was grilled to a firm crispy consistency. On the plate there was also edam and black beans seasoned with chilli/mango sauce, which really complemented the tofu

Ribs had delicous sauce but I think that fennel had been replaced with Pimientos de Padron. At least I could not find it, and apple was also difficult to find.

When you order main course from Latin Grill you need also to choose side dishes for them. Ordered Ensalada de quinoa Quinoa, red rice, lemon almonds and apple and Patatas fritas House made chips ja tomato aioli.

You might think that patatas fritas are like french fries, but english version tells already something else. First thought that they really were chips, but actually they were little bit thicker and softer. Excellent match with ribs, and would be also good option for starter.

Wine list is short but includes enough choises for Latin American food. Decided to enjoy bottle of Marques de Casa Concha 2013, made from Merlot grapes. Enough full-bodied and spicy to pair with herbs, salsas and slightly spiced food.

Restaurant has used material for decoration from different South American countries as well as Caribbean Island cultures. One example is Pinata hanging in the roof presenting Mexican plays.

Music comes also from the same direction as food and decoration. Welcomed genre, because you mostly hear same rythms from USA and UK in other restaurants and bars.

Food at Oficina is scrumptious and suits for many tastes. A little bit more spicies (read chilli) and herbs, then resataurant would be perfect small Latin America kitchen in Helsinki.

Service was polite and professional.

Overall grade is 4+ because this restaurant concept has been well designed. Everything around food complements it nicely.

Must come back some day later in the evening to check if Club Social continues with same music and athmosphere.

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

https://www.raflaamo.fi/en/helsinki/oficina





Restaurant review: Farang

30 06 2012

Farang is a restaurant which serves modern Asian cuisine, located within the premises of the historical Kunsthalle. Farang offers unique and fresh flavors from Southeast Asia. Restaurant’s simplified, modern and atmospheric decor combined with the warm service and strong expertise in Asian cuisine creates an excellent setting for a comprehensive dining experience. One can also drink aperitif in the bar inside dining room and observe other diners. Farang is mentioned on Michelin guide as charming and best value restaurant.

Dediced to enjoy Farang Tasting menu which was real fireworks:

CHA PLU LEAF WITH SMOKED TROUT
roasted peanuts, trout roe

HAMACHI SASHIMI, VIETNAMESE STYLE
kingfish sashimi, asian herbs, black vinegar dressing

SOFT SHELL CRAB
green mango, mint, caramelized peanut, green ‘nahm jim’

CRISPY PORK WITH PALMSUGAR CARAMEL
crispy fried, braised pork with caramel and rice vinegar

THAI-ROTI BREAD, REDANG CURRY MORNING GLORY, CRISPY FRIED SALT & PEPPER TOFU
chinese water cress, bok choy, soft bean curd, battered crispy tofu

VEAL CHEEK ‘SEREMBAN’
slow braised veal cheeks, aromatic chili broth, ‘chili jam’ -sprout salad, noodles

THAI JASMINE RICE

‘HOLA HOLA 4′
Thai style marinated fruits, sweet peas, lime, vanilla-coconut stock, mango passion fruit sorbet

First dish was superb, rolled leaf around trout and enjoyed crisp and tasty dish. Kingfish was soft and spicy dressing complemented the flavour of fish. Crab was crispy but maybe a little bit too much fried. One of the favourites crispy pork with palmsugar caramel did not disappoint. In Taste of Helsinki it was a little bit over cooked but in an authentic environment just perfect. Tofu and thai roti bread were excellent; one could have eaten only bread with those sauces. Chinese watergrass is close to spinach. Veal cheek was tender and with dressing a great experience. Dessert was 4th version of Hola Hola, tasted better than we had a year ago. Tasting menu has not changed much since eaten last time, but can absolutely recommend it becase one has a chance to get familiar with different asian flavours. By ordering from a la carte list only few savors can be enjoyed.

Farang has few own Australian wines on their wine list. Red one suited well with pork and veal.

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

Only annoying fact due to strong and delicious aroma of spices is that one might need to air clothing after scrumptious dining.

Note: Farang is closed 2.7 – 30.7 due to summer vacations. Prepare to book table well in advance as restaurant is always full.

http://farang.fi/?lang=en

http://www.viamichelin.co.uk/web/Restaurant/Helsingfors-00100-Farang-308850-41102

If you have time to visit to Kunsthalle after lunch or before dinner it is worth of it – http://taidehalli.fi/english/








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