Wine review: Best mulled wines 2015

12 12 2015

Glögi - reijosfood.com

Mulled wines (Glögi or Hehkuviini in Finnish) are really popular in Finland during Christmas time. They can be purchased at Alko’s already at the end of October. As the assortment of mulled wines is quite wide it is important to select right ones. Many of the mulled wines at Alko are too sweet, too strong or strangely flavored.

So,  here is a selection of TOP3 best mulled wines available at Alko: Perinteinen Punaviiniglögi, Hehkuviini and Rauschgoldengel Organic Glühwein (1 litre bottle!)

Gluhwein - reijosfood.com

What is odd that first two come from Denmark, which seems to be THE country of mulled wines, if conclusion is based on Alko selection. So, most of the mulled wines are not made in Finland. As a matter in fact, most of them are imported or specially manufactured for Alko and bottled in Finland.

Gluhwein comes from Germany, of course. Very popular drink with several producers in Central Europe, but only one brand to be chosen in Finland.

THE LOOK

The labels of Danish mulled wine bottles look similar, same red ground and golden decorations. Organic gluhwein label is not so flashy, nice winter picture on it.

Hehkuviini is a little bit darker red than Perinteinen Punaviiniglögi. Gluhwine is even more lighter than Punaviiniglögi.

However, the difference of the look of mulled wines is usually negligible.

THE NOSE

The aroma of Perinteinen Punaviiniglögi is softer due to amount of less alcohol. Clove dominates but not disturbingly.

Hehkuviini smells like raisin and Christmas spices but alcohol tries to come up. The scent of both wines is christmassy, which is most important savor of mulled wines.

Gluhwein bouquet is nice, not too much alcohol which makes sniffing more pleasant.

THE TASTE

You can find cardamon form Perinteinen Punaviiniglögi. Taste is well balanced and spices are in harmony.

In Hehkuviini mostly you can taste almond and gingerbread. As it has more alcohol that can also be noticed. Quite a lot calories too…..

Gluhwein tasted much better than last years version. Balanced spiced taste and tempranillo grapes made this drink winner of the year. And most of all, it is not too sweet.

Gluhwein - reijosfood.com

Facts:

……………Gluhwein………….Punaviiniglögi……………..Hehkuviini
Alcohol:   10.00 %                       13.00%                           22.00% (be careful!)
Extract:   105 g/l                          120 g/l                           170 g/l
Acidity:    4.9 g/l                           5.7 g/l                            4.7 g/l
Sugar:     85 g/l                             95 g/l                             150 g/l
Energy:   100 kcal / 100 ml  120 kcal / 100 ml  190 kcal / 100 ml

Mulled wines are part of Christmas time, at least in Finland. It is a pity that Alko does not provide wider selection of Gluhweins, only one choice available but fortunately excellent. Gluhweins are quite close to mulled wines, but not so sweet.

One option is to buy low-alcohol mulled wines from super markets, but then you also to need to know which ones to pick. Most of them are actually juices.

REVIEWS:

Perinteinen Punaviini: OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++/+++

Hehkuviini: OVERALL GRADE 4/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++/+++ (little bit too strong)

Gluhwein: OVERALL GRADE 5-/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++/+++ 





Wine review: Leindl Irrbling Riesling Reserve 2013

29 03 2015

What, again riesling….?! Yes, because at the moment think it is THE best white wine grape.

The Austrian winery Leindl is a young company from Zöbing in Kamptal. The main focus is on grapes Grüner Veltliner and Riesling, Muscat, Burgundy and Zweigelt and Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and St. Laurent.

Tasted wine, Leindl Irrbling Riesling Reserve 2013, has been maturated 9 months in stainless steel tanks, and on top of that 3 months in bottles. Most of riesling wines get some flavor from oak barrels, which usually improves the taste. I have tasted really “hard” steel tank rieslings like Gun Metal, which was not so pleasant experience. However, Leindl’s Irrbling, at least the reserve one, exceeded expectations.

Leindl riesling reserve - reijosfood.com

THE LOOK

Pale yellow with some light green apple, no visible acidity.

THE NOSE

Pleasant balanced aroma, nothing disturbed sniffing, not even possible steel metal tank bouquet

THE TASTE

Dry, some minerals but not so much as usually in Austian rieslings. No metal flavor, not too much petrol or acidity. Some might thing, that this is too light for riesling, but I do not.

Riesling - reijosfood.com

Facts:

Alcohol: 13,5 by volume
Extract: 25 g/l
Acidity: 6,6 g/l
Energy: 90 kcal/100 ml (360 kJ/100 ml)
Sugar: 5 g/l

This wine is suitable with white fishes and white meats but also good choice for aperitif.

Tasted the wine first as aperitif and then with spicy salad thai style and grilled giant shrimps. For main course had blue halibut with noodles again asian style. Leindl Irrbling Riesling Reserve 2013 paired nicely with both dishes.

Bang for the buck is two plus because wine costs a little bit over 20€ in Alko. Cut few euros and this wine would be bull’s eye.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++ / +++

Weingut Leindl | Wir verbinden Tradition & Innovation.





Wine review: Best mulled wines 2014

18 12 2014
Glögi - reijosfood.com

Mulled wines

First two important questions: Is mulled wine a wine at all? Are mulled wines available in your country or is there some other Christmas drink more popular?

Mulled wines (Glögi or Hehkuviini in Finnish) are really popular in Finland during Christmas time. They can be purchased at Alko’s already at the end of October. As the assortment of mulled wines is quite wide it is important to select right ones. Many of the mulled wines at Alko are too sweet, too strong or strangely flavored. Once we had to pour present down the drain because it was so awful.

So, we have picked three best mulled wines available at Alko: Perinteinen Punaviiniglögi, Hehkuviini and Rauschgoldengel Organic Glühwein (1 litre bottle!)

Gluhwein - reijosfood.com

What is odd that first two come from Denmark, which seems to be THE country of mulled wines, if conclusion is based on Alko selection. So, most of the mulled wines are not made in Finland. As a matter in fact, most of them are imported or specially manufactured for Alko and bottled in Finland.

Gluhwein comes from Germany, of course. Very popular drink with several producers in Central Europe, but only one brand to be chosen in Finland.

THE LOOK

The labels of Danish mulled wine bottles look similar, same red ground and golden decorations. Organic gluhwein label is not so flashy, nice winter picture on it.

Hehkuviini is a little bit darker red than Perinteinen Punaviiniglögi. Gluhwine is even more lighter than Punaviiniglögi.

However, the difference of the look of mulled wines is usually negligible.

THE NOSE

The aroma of Perinteinen Punaviiniglögi is softer due to amount of less alcohol. Clove dominates but not disturbingly.

Hehkuviini smells like raisin and Christmas spices but alcohol tries to come up. The scent of both wines is christmassy, which is most important savor of mulled wines.

Gluhwein bouquet is nice, not too much alcohol which makes sniffing more pleasant.

THE TASTE

You can find cardamon form Perinteinen Punaviiniglögi. Taste is well balanced and spices are in harmony.

In Hehkuviini mostly you can taste almond and gingerbread. As it has more alcohol that can also be noticed. Quite a lot calories too…..

Gluhwein tasted much better than last years version. Balanced spiced taste and tempranillo grapes made this drink winner of the year. And most of all, it is not too sweet.

Gluhwein - reijosfood.com

Facts:

……………Gluhwein………….Punaviiniglögi…..Hehkuviini
Alcohol:   10.00 %                 13.00%                  22.00%
Extract:   105 g/l                   120 g/l                   170 g/l
Acidity:    4.9 g/l                    5.7 g/l                    4.7 g/l
Sugar:     85 g/l                     95 g/l                    150 g/l
Energy:   100 kcal / 100 ml  120 kcal / 100 ml  190 kcal / 100 ml

Mulled wines are part of Christmas time, at least in Finland. It is a pity that Alko does not provide wider selection of Gluhweins, only one choice available but fortunately excellent. Gluhweins are quite close to mulled wines, but not so sweet.

One option is to buy low-alcohol mulled wines from super markets, but then you also to need to know which ones to pick. Most of them are actually juices.

REVIEWS:

Perinteinen Punaviini: OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++/+++

Hehkuviini: OVERALL GRADE 4/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++/+++

Gluhwein: OVERALL GRADE 5-/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++/+++ 





Wine review: S.Giorgio Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico 2009

17 10 2014

S.Giorgio Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico - reijosfood.com

S.Giorgio Amarone della Valpolicella DOC Classico is produced by Azienda Agricola Boscaini Carlo. Winery produces also particular white wine GARGANEGA an rosè wine MOLINARA but also Grappa and Olive oils. San Giorgio di Valpolicella, or Ingannapoltron, is part of the territory of Sant’Ambrogio, one of the five towns that constitute the Valpolicella Classica wine producing region, at the foot of Mount Solane. It is situated on the top of a rocky outcrop, built around its church, of the same limestone on which it lies.

Then to the topic;  Amarone della Valpolicella, usually known as Amarone, is a typically rich Italian dry red wine made from the partially dried grapes. For this wine grapes used in production are Corvina 50%, Corvinone 35%, Rondinella 10% Croatina & Dindarella 5%.The final result is a very ripe, raisiny, full-bodied wine with very little acid with over 15% alcohol content.

Tasted wine as aperitf and then with fillet steak. Excellent match, wine became even sweeter with salty meat and peppers. Suits definately with all meats, cheeses and even with Asian food.

Steak - reijosfood.com

THE LOOK

Dark red with some hints of brown color

THE NOSE

Warm, cherry like generous bouquet

THE TASTE

Rich and well balanced, almost sweet as Amarones usually are

Amarone - reijosfood.com

Excellent red wine especially for fans of Amarone. Winery produces only 3500 bottles per year of this wine which makes this wine rarity. Do not be scared about alcohol content, it is only 15.5%.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 5-/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++/+++

Amarone, Amarone Wine, Valpolicella Winery, wine tasting amarone, online sales, visit to cellars in valpolicella, wine tasting in valpolicella, Amarone and Recioto, Boscaini Carlo, Valpolicella





Wine review: Jamek Jochinger Berg Riesling Federspiel 2013

3 10 2014

Jamek Jochinger Berg Riesling Federspiel 2013 - reijosfood.com

Wachau is a small wine district on the Danube River in northern Austria. The  crystalline rock soils on steep terraces produce outstanding rieslings like tasted one; Jamek Jochinger Berg Riesling Federspiel 2013.

As riesling has been our favorite grape quite a long time, had to purchase this one, as it is not so widely spread wine. And was glad that did so.

THE LOOK

Color is straw yellow, quite light for riesling

THE NOSE

Some sweetness although wine is really dry, sugar only 6 g/l. Acidity compensates bouquet of peach

THE TASTE

Fresh fruits aromas, a refreshing acidity. Excellent riesling compared to price

Jamek Jochinger Berg Riesling Federspiel 2013

Facts:

Alcohol: 12.50 %
Extract: 26 g/l
Acidity: 8 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal / 100 ml (330 kJ / 100 ml)

One of the best riesling findings from Alko. Although wine is young and it will develop, it is already enjoyable.

Tasted wine with cod, fennel and zucchini, perfect match. Because of acidity suits well with all fishes and shellfish, even with white meats.

Cod, fennel and zuccini - reijosfood.com

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK +++/+++

Herzlich Willkommen beim Jamek.





Restaurant review: El Meson de Cervantes – Malaga; Spain

17 09 2014

Cava at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

El Meson de Cervantes  is located at the backyards of old town at Calle Alamos. It was established by the same chef, who owns El Tapeo de Cervantes just 50 meters away from Meson. The main difference with the restaurants is the dining room with normal tables and chairs, which Meson has but Tapeo does not have.

Visited El Meson de Cervantes 2nd time this year. Previous review can be found by using search.

El Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

Main allurement are tapas which you can order in three different sizes; tapas, 1/2 raciones or full raciones. You could also choose from restaurant menu different type of starters, main courses and desserts but menu is quite short. If you want to eat tapas at the dining room, you need to ask them in a polite way, although waiter might say that they are meant to eat at the bar.

Started the dinner with glass of cavas and tasty, salty green olives.

This time we ordered all dishes from restaurant menu. Actually most of the dishes are the same. Our dinner started with Warm salad of tuna, roasted peppers and green leaves and Pan seared small squids with spinach.

Tuna was perfectly fried as you can see in the picture below, not too well-done; therefore not too dry. This portion is not so typical for tapas restaurant, it is an example of the high quality level of el Meson de Cervantes.

Squids were best part of the dinner, perfect cooking on the pan and olive oil complemented nicely the flavor of two different squids. Recommend to order this starter, if you visit the restaurant.

Tuna salad - reijosfood.com

Squids at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

First main courses were fishes, 1/2 portions of Salmon with herb butter, black rice and a chick pea pyre and Sea bream wrapped in aubergine, carrot pyre and juniper sauce.

Well prepared portions both of them. Salmon was maybe a little bit over cooked but side dish delicious. Sea bream paired nicely with aubergine and carrot pyre was scrumptious. If I would have to choose, would take Sea bream as big main course only.

Salmon at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

Sea bream at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

For 2nd main courses we had 1/2 portions of Argentinian entrecote with fried potatoes, salad and chimichurri and Wild boar stew with sweet Malaga wine sauce and crispy rosti. 

Entrecote was well-done as requested.

But stew was not the same at all as last time. Found no wine in the sauce and taste was more like standard brown sauce. See the difference, picture on the left was from May and on the right taken few days ago. If we would have been served similar stew, grade for food would have been 0,25 points more.

Entrecote at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

Wild board stew at el Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.comLamb stew at Meson de Cervantes - reijosfood.com

Dinner ended with Apple tart and vanilla ice-cream which was bull’s eye again. Difficult to beat warm, sweet and soft apple pie with cold ice-cream….

Also Fig flan of sweet Malaga wine was tasty, but maybe a little bit too sweet.

Apple pie - reijosfood.com

Fig dessert - reijosfood.com

For wine we asked waitress to recommend some rose wine. There were actually three rose wines on wine list from which to choose, but after looking us, she brought us a bottle which was not on the list.

And good that she brought, because it was more full-bodied and darker than rose wines usually are. Wine was Barbazul from Huerta de Albalá, which is a recently created winery located in the province of Cadiz. As it is produced from Syrah grapes, quite dark red color is easily to be explained.

Barbazul rose - reijosfood.com

El Meson de Cervantes serves premium tapas and Spanish food in a relaxed athmosphere. If you decide to dine at restaurant, you can watch chef’s preparing portions in the open kitchen. You can also eat in more restful environment and enjoy to be served by professional waiters.

Tapas bar provides opportunity for close social interaction and eating at higher bar tables.

Restaurant is the place to visit out of hundreds of tapas bars and restaurants in Malaga, if you travel there. Hope the menu will be changed, because it was exactly the same as 4 months ago, as far as I remember. There are not so many dishes to choose from the menu.

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

http://www.elmesondecervantes.com/eng/index.html

 





Restaurant review: Vino Mio – Flamenco in Malaga, Spain

11 09 2014

Restaurante Vino Mío is famous for its Flamenco shows since 2003. The shows are performed by Andalucian Flamenco artists and can include audience participation.

Restaurant is located at a small plaza across from Teatro Cervantes and near pedestrian district.

Restaurante Vino Mio - reijosfood.com

Vino Mio - reijosfood.com

Menu is not traditional Spanish, which you might expect from Flamenco restaurant. Asian flavors, wok’s and pasta come from other countries but mainly not from Spain.

There is Tapas menu available which has more Spanish type of apetizers, if you do not count humus and cous cous to them. However, tapas menu was not served during the show, but we managed to order one starter from it.

Aqua con gas was Perrier, not Spanish. Bread with olive tapenade was delicious, best part of the kitchen.

Perrier at Vino Mio - reijosfood.comBread at Vino Mio - reijosfood.com

While watching flamenco with 4€ extra charge per person, we had for starters Bolsitas Crujientes (2) King prawns and vegetables wrapped up in a crispy filo parcel accompanied by tomato and oregano jam and from Tapas menu Surtido Cervantes Queso manchego, salchichon iberico y chorizo iberico.

As menu explained, ingredients were inside of filo parcel. Basically ok portion but required a little bit more flavor for instance by adding some chili.

Starter at Vino Mio - reijosfood.com

Assortment of Spanish apetizers consisted of manchego cheese and two types of sausages. Basic and delicious pieces of Spanish cuisine. Chorizo pieces were soft which was pleasant surprise, because they can usually be quite thick and difficult to chew.

Tapas at Vino Mio - reijosfood.com

For main courses ordered Wok Bangok Chicken chunks stir fried with fresh vegetables and finished with Thai sweet & sour sauce served with rice and Sate Bali Indonesian marinated chicken breast served with rice, prawn crackers and a peanut sauce.

Not so typical names for portions at flamenco restaurant in Spain?

Chicken skewer in sate sauce was excellent, simple but tasty. Wok Bangok unfortunately did not meet expectations, vegetables dominated too much.

Wok Bangok - reijosfood.com

Sate Bali - reijosfood.com

Flamenco show is presented at 20.00 – 21.30, which is quite early for locals. Most of the customers were tourists but Wednesday did not seemed to be busiest evening.

At the end of the show dancer picked few customers to join flamenco dance which was the funniest part of the show. Imagine yourself repeating the same steps and moves as professional dancer….

Flamenco at Vino Mio - reijosfood.com

Flamenco dancer at Vino Mio - reijosfood.com

For wine we had L’Hereu cava from Raventos i Blanc in Penedes region. Main grape is Macabeu 45%, but also Xarel.lo and Parellada are used in production. Wineyard has produced wines since 1497, which is also mentioned on the label of the bottle.

Cava at Vino Mio - reijosfood.com

If you would like to see Flamenco for the first time, Vino Mio is the right place. Athmosphere is relaxed, guitar is played well and flamenco shouts and screaming are creditable.

Main think is not the food, but anyone can find something from the menu.

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

Restaurant Vino Mio Malaga, Vino Mio Malaga, Malaga Restaurant, Flamenco Restaurant Malaga, Vino Mio Flamenco Restaurant Malaga, Bino Mio Malaga, Vino Mio Restaurant in Malaga Centre,

 

 





Wine review: Brangelina rose – Château Miraval Côtes de Provence rosé

30 08 2014

Brangelina rose  - reijosfood.com

Miraval is the new wine business venture of actor and actresses Brad Pitt with Angelina Jolie in association with the famous Perrin family of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. The first 6,000-bottle run sold out within five hours. And hullabaloo continued when Wine Spectator ranked Château Miraval Côtes de Provence rosé as best rose wine 2013.

Grapes used in production are Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle and Syrah. Quite extraordinary combination, wine would not look like rose without Syrah.

We were able to taste this “jewel” at restaurant Demo, as it was one of the wines paired with foods in the menu. With reindeer and beetroot this rose wine matched well because portion was partly salty and partly sweet. I was wondering, if red wine would have suited better, but maybe not because of sweetness of beetroot.

Raindeer at Demo - reijosfood.com

THE LOOK

Looking at the packaging, it looks basically champagne bottle, close to Ruinart which was previously tasted

The color is kind of like fluorescent, light pale pink. If you would see this without knowing which wine is concerned, you might think that someone has added water to red wine

THE NOSE

Wild strawberries and/or raspberry, more like a mild candy

THE TASTE

Fresh fruits aromas, a refreshing acidity but palate is mild compared to most rose wines

Facts:

Alcohol: 13.00 %
Extract: 21 g/l
Acidity: 5.4 g/l
Energy: 80 kcal / 100 ml (340 kJ / 100 ml)

 

Chateau Miraval rose - reijosfood.com

Would I buy this wine, if it would happen to appear in our Alko. Perhaps yes, because I did not first believe, that it would suit for reindeer. But this is summer wine and in the winter would prefer stronger rose.

Actually you can buy it from Alko Arkadia; there are still some bottles left from 120 batch Alko had purchased.

REVIEW: OVERALL GRADE 4-/5 – BANG FOR THE BUCK ++/+++

Miraval Provence

All Lists of Top 100 Wines | Top 100 of 2013 | Wine Spectator





Restaurant review: Salutorget – Scandinavian bistro

19 08 2014

 

Riesling at Salutorget - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Salutorget includes  stylish dining room (not bistro type), bar/cafe  and terrace. Restaurant serves lunch and dinner but also brunch on Sundays. Salutorget is located close to Kauppatori (Salutorget in Swedish and  Market Square in English), which is the most known market or plaza in Helsinki.

You can see that there has been financial institutions operating in the same building earlier as rest rooms are in old bank vault. At least there you are in safe. Place has been renovated with craftmanship; 1800’s construction and pillars create a dignified athmosphere.

Menu consists of traditional Finnish and Scandinavian dishes, nothing fancy.  If you are keen on tasting them, like Baltic herrings, Whitefish, Reindeer or even Vendaces, then you are in the right place.

For starters we chose Salutorget’s small fishes (3pc): Shrimps á la Skagen, Cold smoked white fish with dill creme and Smoked salmon and creme fraiche with Dijon and Salad with broiled salmon; broiled salmon, egg, asparagus and mustard sauce

Taste and look of small fishes was ok but expected a little bit more from shrimps. Maybe they match with toast better than as separate dish. Belive that some ingredients had been forgotten from mustard sauce because it’s taste was so mild. Broiled salmon is always delicious.

Small fishes at Salutorget - reijosfood.comSalmon salad at Salutorget - reijosfood.com

For main courses ordered Roasted white fish with spring potatoes and egg sauce with chives and Salutorget´s pepper steak, garlic potato chips, grilled green asparagus and pepper hollandaise

Noticed afterwards that had forgotten take pictures from main courses for two reasons!

Firstly had to ask waiter to bring glass of red wine which I had ordered. Meat was already waiting to be eaten. Secondly had to ask for cutlerys which waiter forgot to bring after starters.

About main courses: Pepper steak should have been medium but it was almost almost well-done. Potato chips felt as they were old, would say the shape was more like slice not chip. Whitefish was luckily well prepared and basic new potatoes are always good.

So, you will see picture taken at the terrace instead of portions.

Salutorget terrace - reijosfood.com

For desserts we had Berry crumble and vanilla sauce with rosemary and Lime youghurt mousse with limoncello sorbet

Desserts were best part of dinner and saved evening. Crumble with vanilla sauce was delicious, mouth-watering combination. Mousse with sorbet was refreshing after salty fish.

Dessert 1 at Salutorget - reijosfood.comDessert 2 at Salutorget - reijosfood.com

Wine list is quite short; interesting to see that all wines are from European countries; mainly France, Italy and Spain.

For wine we chose Riesling Reservé Dopff au Moulin from Alsace, France. Nice, quite light riesling paired well with fishes we ate. As mentioned before, had glass of Les Vignerons Carignan Syrah from GCF, France with meat.

 

Dining room and bar were almost empty most of the time, which is unusual for Friday evening. One reason was the amount of happenings, like kick-off of Helsinki Festival.

Salutorget - reijosfood.comSalutorget bar - reijosfood.com

We have visited Salutorget couple of times (reviews can be found by using search), but this visit was a little bit dissappointing. Food used to be excellent as well as service.

Because of the cozy terrace and interior still believe that Salutorget can perform better. Therefore 4 for the overall grade.

On the same date was opening of Hotel Manta of Helsinki. Previous post was about this “hotel”.

Hotel Manta - reijosfood.com

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

http://www.salutorget.fi/en





Restaurant review: Grotesk – across from Ragu

10 08 2014

Have visited restaurant Grotesk couple of times but last visit was to Grotesk Winebar. Winebar has unfortunately closed it’s doors and so called Meatbar, where we dined this time, had changed a little bit it’s exterior and menu. Grotesk locates by the same street as Ragu where we dined a week ago.

Picture is taken from Grotesk window table. Ludviginkatu is nowadays “restaurant street” as Greek restaurant El Greco locates next to Ragu.

Ragu and Grotesk - reijosfood,com

Menu is short and waiter asked, if we would like to try Chef’s menu with 3-6 courses with matching wines. But kitchen was not able make changes to portions, for instance use something else instead of peas and onions. We should have made the requests beforehand. Terrace menu is even shorter consisting of same portions.

Menu at Grotesk - reijosfood.com

So we decided to choose something from the menu. While thinking what to order, we had glasses of Pol Roger Brut champagne.

Dry and balanced taste as Pol Roger Brut usually has.

Pol Roger Champagne - reijosfood.com

For starters we both had Pan seared scallops with dill and fennel salad (3 pc).

Scallops were small and pan searing was made perfectly. Somehow fennel did not taste so much, maybe the salinity covered it. Can recommend this as a starter.

Scallops at Grotesk - reijosfood.com

For main courses we ordered Smoked arctic char and creamed chanterelles with Spring potatoes and Grilled chop and secretto of Iberico pork with Caesar salad à la Grotesk.

Skin of arctic char had been removed before serving which made the fish quite pale. For side dish potatoes, because all other side dishes included ingredients which were not suitable. All side dishes, by the way, have same prices.

Grilled chop was excellent but secretto a little bit too salty. For side dish had caesar salad, which matched well with both pork dishes.

Arctic char at Grotesk - reijosfood.comPork at Grotesk - reijosfood.com

This time no desserts due to same problem with side dishes. Asked for basic sorbet, but that was not available.

Grotesk was the first restaurant to lower wine prices and it got some publicity after announcing it. They add 20€ fixed margin for each wine bottle, but price reduction did not seemed to apply glass prices. Glass of house red wine cost 9,60€.

Anyway, for wine we had Spieleberg Riesling trocken 2011 from Pfaltz, Germany. Producer is Karl Schaefer. This wine was excellent choise recommended by waiter considering the price 42€. Balanced minerality and acidity with some citrus and lime.

Riesling at Grotesk - reijosfood.com

The interior of Grotesk is not so red as it used to be, but lighting was as dim as it has always been. Most of the diners and drinkers were at outside terrace, but notice that you can not reserve table at the terrace after 8PM, if you want to dine there. And it is wise because terrace will be crowded and noisy.

Grotesk dining room - reijosfood.comGrotesk terrace - reijosfood.com

Grotesk used to be Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurant a couple years ago but not any more. It is understandable as concept has changed more relaxed and rough. Maybe main focus is the terrace, which is really popular in the summer time. If you visit Helsinki in the summer time, it is one of the restaurant terraces worth to visit.

Food review is partly based on price/quality ratio. By decreasing for instance side dish prices (5€ for potatoes is too much), grade for food would be better.

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

 





Restaurant review: Ragu – Italian-Scandinavian menu

7 08 2014

Restaurant Ragu opened its doors April 15, 2014, respecting the history of renovated Neo-Renaissance house in the 1890s. Restaurant has dining rooms and all year-round open terrace. Chefs Antti Antti Asujamaa and Erno Kemi have created a menu from Italian food traditions and Scandinavian ingredients.

One possibility to get familiar with Ragu is to visit the bar where you can step in from the restaurant or from separate door outside.

Started the dinner with Aperol Spritz aperitives which were served in fancy drinking bowls. Drinks were so far the best we have tasted in Helsinki, because the amount of Aperol was just the right, so that you can identify the flavor. Unfortunately too much soda or ice have ruined many of the other experimentations with this drink, but not this one.

Aperol Spritz at Ragu - reijosfood.com

You can choose separate portions from a la carte list or pick for instance one of the menus. We chose menu Ludari with 4 courses which partly were surprises. The name of the menu comes from the street restaurant is located, Ludviginkatu, I believe.

Kitchen was skilled to take into account customers constraints of some food ingredients and other wishes also with this menu. Menu should change on weekly basis.

After placing the order freshly baked 4 different breads and 4 different spreads were brought to the table. Yeast bread with red tapenade was best combination. Wish I could prepare as delicious tapenade as Ragu kitchen can.

Bread ad Ragu - reijosfood.com

For starters we were served Vitello tonnato and Broiled whitefish, whitefish roe and crab cake

Vitello tonnato is classic Italian starter. Ragu had modified it so that veal was like carpaccio, raw, but softened in marinade. Salty capers and almost sweet tunafish sauce complemented each other.

Whitefish is one of the best fishes and it is not dependent how it is prepared. But of course kitchen has to know how to cook it. Shrimps complemented perfeclty the taste of salty roe and some vegetables lightened ensemble.

Vitello tonnato at Ragu - reijosfood.comFish starter at Ragu - reijosfood.com

Second course was Toast Skagen with crab soup.

Can not say much more that portion was really mouth-watering. Classic toast skagen was on the bottom of the plate but it was supplemented by crab soup which was poured at the table on top of toast skagen by waitress. Best portion of all four portions eaten at Ragu!

Toast Skagen at Ragu - reijosfood.com

For 3rd and main courses restaurant served Whitefish with pasta and Braised veal with polenta.

The pasta served with fish was orzo or risotti, not anymore sure which one although waitress said the name. Anyone knows? It is unsual to serve pasta with whitefish in Finland but at Ragu it is not due to influences of Italian kitchen. Fish and pasta paired extremely well; desired only some herbs to bring more flavor.

Veal was served in closed glass jar which kept the portion warm. Also creme fraiche, which you sprinkled on meat pieces, was in in smaller jar. Meat was soft as it should be. The amount of salt in meat could have been more because polenta was also modestly salted. Splendidly prepared portion, tour de force from the chef’s.

Pike perch at Ragu - reijosfood.comVeal at Ragu - reijosfood.comBraised veal at Ragu - reijosfood.com

And for desserts we got two different portions. Both included sorbet, almond cake and fresh berries. The difference was that one of the two portions did not include any milk products.

Strawberry ice-cream made the difference in first portion and Dark soft chocolade in another.

Dessert at Ragu - reijosfood.comDessert at Ragu - reijosfood.com

For wine we chose Ettore Germano, Hérzu Langhe Riesling 2012 from Piemonte, Italy. Riesling Renano is the winemaker Sergio Germano‘s favorite grape. Otherwise riesling is not so common in Italian wines. Dry, fruity and balanced wine. Not so much minerals or petrol as in most Austrian or German rieslings.

Ragu has also Italian vintage wines from Angelo Baja, Piemonte. So, you can spend almost 500€ for white wine bottle of vintage 1999, if you like to.

Riesling at Ragu - reijosfood.com

Restaurant, as it is in elegantly renovated building and it’s dining rooms are classic yet chic designed, is welcomed newcomer. You can eat in privacy as tables are not too close to each other. Music is not too loud, again more customer-centric approach. As you can see from the glasses on the tables, every detail has been taken into account.

At 8PM restaurant was almost full booked which tells that Helsinki townies have found the place. Did not hear any foreign languages, though.

Ragu dining room - reijosfood.com

Ragu - reijosfood.com

Food at Ragu is well prepared, elegantly set and delicious. Finnish-Italian fusion cuisine works well by combining best parts of both. Only if there had been more depth of flavors in main courses grade for food would have been close to maximum.

Waitresses take orders and serve drinks but you can meet chef’s and confectiners as they bring most of the portions to the tables. The contents of each portion was explained well and it is needed, if you choose surprise menu as we did.

Worth to visit!

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





Restaurant and cruise review: Smuggler’s Dinner Cruise

3 08 2014

M/S Natalie - reijosfood.com

In the summer time piers of Market Square in Helsinki are full of cruise ships which take you to few hours cruise or for instance to Suomenlinna. You can just enjoy of attractions along the route by paying ticket or at the same time enjoy lunch or dinner, if ship serves those.

With over 65 years of experience Royal Lines has shown Helsinki from the sea. One can get familiar with the best views like islands, famous historical buildings, harbours, villas and saunas. A traditional archipelago buffet is also available as well as short a la carte list which is understandable due to size of the kitchen.

2 1/2 hour dinner cruise is nice way to combine relaxed sightseeing and dinner, if one wants to see Helsinki from the sea and has only one day to spend time in the city. Royal Lines provides two routes, one to the east and one to the west. We chose Smuggler’s Dinner Cruise with m/s Natalia at 6PM to the east.

Decided to enjoy 3 course meal which started with Buffet. One option would have been to eat buffet for starter and main course.

It consisted of various herrings, fishes, salads, vegetables, pate, terrine etc. Herrings are delicious; focus on those. Did not find any vegetable soup although it was mentioned on the list.

Buffet at Natalie - reijosfood.comBuffet menu at Natalie - reijosfood.com

Buffet plate - reijosfood.comBuffet plate - reijosfood.com

There are two different main courses to choose from. We chose Roasted Arctic char with butter and nettle sauce & a beetroot and buckwheat cake. Fish was a little bit over roasted but otherwise portion was ok as it is prepared in small ship’s kitchen.

Arctic char at Natalie - reijosfood.com

Menu included for dessert Triple chocolate dream with vanilla & berry compote but we asked to replace it with something else and got Rasberry cake with berry compote.

Nice piece of cake was perfect ending for the dinner.

Rasberry cake at Natalie - reijosfood.com

Wine list is also short consisting of basic wines. Chose only riesling, Yalumba from Barossa Valley, Australia. Basic, light riesling without distractions.

Yalumba riesling - reijosfood.com

If you want to visit Porvoo you can choose either J.L. Runeberg, old steam boat in the picture below, or more traditional ship which Royal Lines has.

J.L.Runeberg - reijosfood.com

Cruise at Natalie - reijosfood.com

Smuggler’s Dinner Cruise sounds exciting but only hints of thriller were some background stories during the cruise. Eating is not the most essential part of time spent on the ship. In good weather most of the time is spent on upper deck by watching surrounding archipelago and by-passing boats.

Lunch cruise review from year 2012 can be found be using search and writing just cruise.

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

Royal Line – Helsinki Sightseeing – Over 65 years of experience





Restaurant review: Faro – Channelside Bar & Restaurant

2 08 2014

Restaurant Faro - reijosfood.com

Restaurant Faro was re-opened in the spring after renovation by new owners. The interior has been designed by the most known Finnish interior designer Vertti Kivi. Faro locates in Ruoholahti by channel which is buzzing with boats on warm summer days.

Terrace around restaurant building is large providing opportunity for quick drinks or dining. Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and in the afternoon short Bistro menu is available. On Sundays brunch is also served.

For starters we ordered from Bistro menu Cucumber soup with mint and Cold-smoked salmon and crab.

On hot summer day cold cucumber soup was bull’s eye. Frozen soup knobs and cold soup which was poured on top of other ingredients from carafe by the waitress was really delicious. Few pieces of cauliflower paired well with the soup. Maybe the best cold soup ever eaten!

Salmon and crab portion was also scrumptious. Nicely laid out on the edge of the dish.

Cucumber soup at Faro - reijosfood.comSmoked Salmon at Faro - reijosfood.com

Main courses were Whole grilled fish, pickling cucumber and carrot beurre blanc and Fish’n’chips and tartar sauce.

We got last striped bass, next diners would have been served pike-perch. Fish was really delicious and perfectly grilled, not over-cooked at all. For most of the main courses you have to choose and pay extra for side dishes, for striped bass we chose new potatoes with dill-butter. If something could be asked to change, would be be bigger plate which would ease eating. Now you have to eat vegetabels first in order to be able to eat fish.

You seldom get Fish & Chips at a restaurant, therefore had to try them. Breading was crisp as it should be and fish soft as it also should be. With sauce tasty finger food supplemented with country potatoes.

Fish of the Day at Faro - reijosfood.comFish and chips at Faro - reijosfood.com

For wine we chose Dopff & Irion Riesling from Alsace, France. Wine was dry, fruity and included some green apple and citrus. Typical young riesling and tasty one.

Riesling at Faro - reijosfood.com

Portions we chose were excellent. It is difficult to compare Fish&Chips to other main courses but so what, open kitchen has professional chef’s. Service was polite and we were congratulated for the choises we made.

In the summer time dining at the terrace is enjoyable experience, either in the sun or under the sunshade. You can come with boat, bicycle or even with subway, because the stop is near.

Faro terrace - reijosfood.com Faro terrace - reijosfood.com

Have to try Sunday brunch someday because it seemed to be well organized. Noticed that when dropped by for glasses of wine a month earlier.

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

Faro Channelside Bar & Restaurant | Ravintola Ruoholahti





Restaurant review: HSF – Yacht Club restaurant in Hanko

31 07 2014

HSF in Hanko - reijosfood.com

Since 1938, HSF has been the venue for many to spend a happy summer`s day in Hanko, enjoying dinners and refreshing drinks. Restaurant HSF combines modern gastronomy and restaurant culture with Nordic traditions and the history of Finnish sailing. The roof, pier and sun deck terraces of HSF are great places to enjoy food, cocktails, wines and of course champagnes.

If you dine at the pier (terrace downstairs) as we did, you can enjoy of table service. Otherwise you need to order drinks from the bar between sun deck and pier.

HSF in Hanko - reijosfood.com

Menu is quite short, same at the terrace and at dining room inside consisting of 4 starters, 7 main courses and 4 desserts.

For starters we had HSF Tapas – 4 tastes of summer and Toast Skagen with archipelago bread.

Tapas included from right to the left prawn cake, mustard herring, potato salad and beef carpaccio. Excellent ensemble, on hot summer day herring tasted great and carpaccio was really tender. Toast Skagen was also delicious, the amount of roe was princely. Both portions included tasty avocado dressing.

Tapas at HSF - reijosfood.comToast Skagen at HSF - reijosfood.com

For main courses ordered Salad with roasted chicken and avocado dressing and HSF burger Full steak, gouda cheese, tomato slice, onion and BBQ mayonnaise with French fries.

Salad included pineapple, melon and grapefruit which made it juicy. Chicken was a little bit over roasted but otherwise ok. Burger bread was not white which was welcomed option. Steak was enough thick and medium and therefore succulent.

Salad at HSF - reijosfood.comBurger at HSF - reijosfood.com

And for desserts Ice-cream portion of course and Coconut brulee with pineapple compote.

For ice-cream chose licorice and mint ice-creams, both enjoyable. Licorice is Finnish speciality which you must try if it is available. Coconut brulee was also delicious but taste of coconut could have been stronger. Some berries made the portion more colorful.

Ice cream at HSF - reijosfood.comCreme Brulee at HSF - reijosfood.com

Wine chosen was Villa Huesgen by the glass which is modern and fresh german riesling. Paired extremely well with starters and with chicken salad but had glass of red wine (real glass not bottle) with HSF burger. Interesting name for wine, “by the glass”!

Riesling at HSF - reijosfood.com

You could also dine at round restaurant building but if weather allows, choose pier. We ate between lunch and dinner time and due to timiing there were some empty tables. During rush hours all tables are occupied and especially during weekends. Summer season starts from Mid Summer and ends about in mid August.

HSF - reijosfood.comHSF dining room - reijosfood.com

About 27C degrees at 6PM in Finland is marvelous and therefore each opportunity to eat outside raises overall grade. Food was great and service polite and customer-sensitive. If you decide to eat inside, ask for window tables opening to harbour.

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





Restaurant review: Origo (Hanko, Finland)

29 07 2014

 

Origo candles

Restaurant Origo is located in the old ware house from 1893 in the Eastern Harbour of Hanko. The first owner of the building was a businessman and customs worker Martin Lignell. The house was used as a storage room for import and export goods in the early years and was turned in to the restaurant in 1989 after beeing empty for years.

Origo with the relaxed atmosphere and décor is restaurant which with its candles makes dining experience in a way quite unique.  Do I remember wrong that couple of years ago there were more but smaller candles?

 

When one enters to the restaurant one can see archipelago buffet from the entrance door. Have had buffet for starter two times before and can recommend it. One can order it also as main course. On hot summer day cold meal might be tempting.

Restaurant has had couple of years tablets as menus. It is easy way to browse what is available.

Tablet at Origo - reijosfood.com

This time ordered for starters CHEVICE OF ZANDER with Salad of fennel and radish, crispbread of spelt, dill aioli and SOUP OF JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes, bread with huile de verde

Starters were best part of the dinner. Chevice was finetuned with salad because we asked it not to include radish. Soup was tasty but quite thick and bread was excellent with pesto on it.

Starter at Origo  - reijosfood.comSoup at Origo - reijosfood.com

For main courses had ROASTED WHITE FISH Cauliflower flavored with seesame oil, potato terrine with spring onions, puré of fresh peas, butter sauce with carrot and ECOLOGICAL LAMB  IN TWO WAYS with risotto made of wheat and chantarelles, roasted root vegetables and port wine sauce.

Big thanks to the kitchen for changing cauliflower and peas to carrots. Finnish white fish is always enjoyable and carrot pyre paired well with it. Butter sauce instead tasted too much for butter.

One part of lamb portion was chevy but over cooked shoulder was tender as it should be. Risotto from wheat could have been more cooked because big wheat pearls were a little bit hard. Or they just were too big.

Unfortunately must say that 30€ for these portions is too much.

Whitefish at Origo - reijosfood.comLamb at Origo - reijosfood

For dessert had with coffee AND THEN White chocolate with ginger, dark chocolate with cranberry and marshmallow with mint

Odd greasy dessert, should the pieces be colder? Two years ago restaurant had chocklate from Petri but these did not seemed to be those.

Dessert St Origo - reijosfood.com

Three times before Origo has been able to provide steady quality with good service but something has happened because customers had dissappeared. Other restaurants in the same row of buildings were crowded.

Origo dining room - reijosfood.com

Restaurant website has misleading information; upstairs was not open and KUNGFU Girl riesling was not available although it is particularly mentioned.

Therefore ordered Peter Jakob Kuhn riesling Rheinschiefer which paired well with dishes. Also had suggested red wine with lamb but it should have been more full-bodied.

Riesling at Origo - reijosfood.com

We were given table from the corner of the room although restaurant was almost empty. Usually customers are given tables so that by-passers can see them from the entrance door. Air conditioning on really warm evening was a plus because we decided to dine inside, not at the terrace.

Origo - reijosfood.com

Earlier review can be found by using search and writing Origo.

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

http://www.restaurant-origo.com/









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