Sunday, December 05, 2010

Cafe Vanille, Suomenlinna, Helsinki

My second favourite cafe in Suomenlinna, Helsinki. At the winter time, this place provides you the shelter from the rough and freezing weather conditions on Suomenlinna. Cafe Vanille is very near to the main harbour. 

It's cosy and a perfect spot for a coffee, tea or glögi (only at winter time) and some small pie, pulla, pastry or soup. It's tiny, so be prepared to wait for your seat. 

Cafe Vanille

Thursday, November 11, 2010

African Kitchen, Tallinn

Sorry, bad pictures. This atmospheric restaurant, African Kitchen,  is located in the old town of Tallinn. I'm not sure how original it really is, because I've never been in Africa, but this restaurant gets my points in atmosphere, drink list and super friendly staff. Especially the staff gets big heart, they are smiling all the time (even then, when one of them just broke five cocktails, we had ordered). 

Food, is good, but the tastes are not very strong. Portions are huge and late night dinner might be a bit hard to finish there. It's definitely one of the places to visit in Tallinn. 

PS. If you are not hungry, you can also go there for a drink. They have a good list for cocktails. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kompressor pubi, Tallinn

In this small minimalist restaurant you get the biggest and the most well filling crepes in Tallinn (and Northern Europe). The dish is very simple: inside of these crepes there are mostly two different filling: a cheese and some vegetable or cheese and some meat. Also some dessert version, but we have never been able to get that far - the salty crepes have been so big. The atmosphere in this restaurant is as the food - straightforward. 

We warmly recommend - this is the place we always go, when we visit Tallinn, Estonia. 

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

2h+k, Tampere

2h+k in Tampere is an interesting restaurant. It's good, it could be very good, but there few minor (but extremely important) things, which could be done better. 

First of all let's talk about the place. Nice and cosy, it kind of feel like in a 2 rooms +kitchen appartment (except that we would love to be able to fit that many people in our flat); Anyway good points for the general atmosphere. The staff is very friendly and concerned about your confort (maybe a bit too much...).

The card itself is simple but with some very tempting choices. Here was our table choice:

Entrée: Escargots à l'ail
Well well well, our 3 pairs of eyes were first excited about the dishe. Excitement was short time feeling. First of of the snails were served (and most probably cooked) without the shell resulting a very mild taste of garlic. Then the plate was covered by a cheesy crust, not bad at all but a bit surprising. anyway that was a good way to start the diner.

Plats de resistance:
_Chanterelles Risotto
_Roquefort Pasta
_Shrimp lobster tagliatelles

Here things started to be a bit funky. First of all, there has been hardly 3 minutes from the time our starter plate disappeared until the meal were served...a bit too fast for the full enjoyment of the meal and maybe also a bit too fast for fresh cooking...unless the meal are prepared way ahead and simply warmed up...
Anyway risotto was quite good! Not the best ever but definitly on the top of the basket. 

Roquefort Pasta were tasty even if it felt a bit like home made food; but home made food can be so good! The problem started realy with the shrimp&lobster tagliatelles. The Tagliatelles happened to be...fusillis and thus without any explanation from the kitchen. The meal was good but, something was missing.

After all this we still had a small hunger, and also some wine to finish so we went for a 3 cheeses plate. The selection of cheeses is short but interesting. The only thing is that it is served to you without any explanation from the waiter which cheese is what!? So read carefully your cheese encyclopedia before you book a table;)

But the most shocking thing was probably the absence of bread with the cheese, which was served with...crackers! Come on, do we look like Wallace and Gromit?! Only Brits can eat cheese with crackers, civilized people eat cheese with a good slice of bread!

As a conclusion, and despite few bad points, 2h+k is a very good value, probably one restaurant I would recommand in Tampere.


Pizzeria Napoli, Tampere

Once we've driven 400 km to eat these pizzas - Pizzeria Napoli in Tampere is famous for their pizzas, at least among the Tampere citizens. This restaurant has slightly kitsch decorations, their pizza list is the longest in Finland (100 different pizzas) and their pizzas are good - some versions excellent. For example a pizza with artichokes, forest mushrooms, asparagus and rucola is very tasty, though the pizza with cold smoked salmon tend to become a bit too fat and boring.

Lovely place to enjoy pizza!

Monday, November 08, 2010

Pyynikin Näkötornin Kahvila, Tampere

You would like to walk a bit in the fresh air, enjoy the forest, ridge landscape and some beautiful old wooden houses in Tampere? You wouldn't mind, if you got a cup of coffee and a pastry after your hike?

Well, go to Tampere, look for Pyynikki and a tower there. From that small cafe downstairs of the observation tower you will get the best coffee with munkki (Finnish doughnut) in Tampere. The munkki is maybe the best in the whole Finland. 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Boost - Juice bar, Tallinn

The must to visit in Tallinn is Boost Juice bar (for example in Rotterman shopping centre). It's actually a chain juice bar from Australia. Bar's idea is to bring on the market an healthy version of fast food. Different kind of smoothies, shakes and drinks are available quickly (faster than a hamburger is in your hand). It's healthy, tastes good and you feel that you have made something good for yourself after having  one Boost. Everything is made of fresh ingredients, though there are some "boosters" available, if you want to make your smoothie a super one. All berry bang tastes good.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


 At least one thing danish cooks know how to do, and they do it so well: Pastries!!!
Somehow pretty close to those you can find in Sweden or Finland or even in Germany or France, Danish pastries are very delightful.
Cinamon, jam, chocolate...all are tasty, not too sweet and with this perfect crusty feeling (and sound when you bite them). 
If you are leaving Denmark and feel you need a small somehting to feel your stomach and feel happy, go for it! (and skip the pølser;)


Well well well...what can I say? Danish cuisine is definitly not my favorite, and I already don't like sausage that much so this was a challenge. But When you are there you have to try what is the local specialty so here I was: A sausage in a piece of bread with some mustard (i wasn't brave enough to also take the ketchup, but I still believe that the guy who invented ketchup should finish his days in jail!).
Anyway it was not that bad. Actually from all the street sausage I tried it definitly beat the Finnish Makkara and the Berlin DDR sausage from the kiosk!
But it is still far from a maroccan merguez or an Andouillette from Normandy.

Verdict: try it if you haven't, don't feel forced to take a second one if you already had one;)

Macaron glacé

Macaron, that sweet little piece of French cuisine. The piece, which is nowadays maybe the most known French pastry after croissant and pain au chocolat. There are all the possible flavours you can imagine to add in a sweet biscuit. Couple of times we have had some macaron tasting with our friends and I can say that after four macarons you kind of feel only the sweetness and a funny feeling in your stomach. 

Anyway, now we're not talking about the original macaron, but a new invention: ice cream macaron! Sounds good, but does it taste good? The idea is that there's macaron biscuit around and some icy filling in the middle. I tried a macaron glacé apricot. I don't know, if it was the flavour or the texture, which wasn't smooth. There was something wrong - it wasn't a macaron!  

I love macarons as they've originally born - I can happily leave these test versions for others. Macaron glacé is not my cup of tea. Merci, mais non merci.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Moeders, Amsterdam

Very tasty and basic Dutch home made food. Portions are huge, so be ready. We tried some Dutch sausages, vegetable stew and of course the desserts. The restaurants lovely detail is all the pictures of the mothers one can bring with and leave there. Lovely.

Tamarin, tuk-tuk

One of our favourite Thai food restaurants Tamarin (chain nowadays) has started home delivery!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Wagamama, Copenhagen

Chain food from Asia. Lovely, easy and tasty Wagamama. Unfortunately the closest restauranta happens to be in Copenhagen. Rame are good, easy, tasty and filling your lunch hunger. We do recommend.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Eritrean and Ethiopian restaurant Semhar, Amsterdam

It's so long time since we visited this place, so unfortunately can't really write anything detailed about it. Food was very, very tasty. Loved the place, service and food, of course. We will go back.

Monday, May 03, 2010


It's already few weeks ago we went to have a brunch in a German style of bakery/ cafe in Helsinki. I love Berlin and I miss its old sofas and arty cafes. Unfortunately there isn't any like that in Helsinki. Or is there? 

Well, not really, the atmosphere is closer to Charlottenburg than Prenzlauberg...or then a finnish version of it! Anyway the place looks good with its cosy and a bit strict German feeling, and the breads and cakes available from the bakery side make you hungry before you even sit. But actually getting a table for a sunday brunch isn't an easy thing. The place is easily crowded and perhaps because of this success it is also packed of few tables too much. Luckily the very friendly and effective staff will do its best to find you a chair somewhere.

Let's talk about the food: Lots of different home made breads, mostly all with seeds in them. The Finn of us of course regret the lack of dark bread, but honestly the 4 different kind of bread I tried there were good. Then all the basics are there: cheeses (edam slices, brie and blue cheese), veges, hams (even some tasty chorizo), smokes salmon...for the salty and yoghurt, fruits, dry fruits, cereals and pies for the sweets! This did not remind me Berlin bohemian café but a more general German feeling was there.

So as a results the brunch was good, it makes you happy for the rest of your day, and it is definitely a much better value than some other place suppose to be an institution in Helsinki.


Japanese restaurant Maruseki in Tampere had disappointed us some years ago with unfresh fish or the feeling that you might be eating fish, which is not fresh anymore. Now we wanted to give a second chance for this restaurant, which had moved to a new, bigger (!!) place in Tampere. I was pretty sceptical   beforehand - why restaurant moves to a bigger place, if they can't make good and fresh food in the small place, how they could do it in a big place?

Well, First May we went to give it a try.

For a starter we all took misoshiru, a miso soup. Nice and tasty soup for a starter or along your nigiris and makis. For the main course we had different kind of sushi sets plus some extra favourites like avocado makirolls, roe nigiris etc. As a drinks we had different kind of Japanese beers and ginger tea.

So what is the verdict? We took different kind of sushi set. One went for a fish free set, the other for a fish set.
The sushis were huge, maybe too big actually (needed 3 bites to be abbe to swallow a Inari sushi!) and the rice spent maybe too much time in the vinegar. But then the vegetarian sushi set (with some maki, avocado sushis, Inari, tamagoyaki...). Despite of their huge size most of them were pretty good. Only the tamagoyaki got a red card as the omelette definitly seemed to be escape form egg powder bag and not made out of real eggs.

But then, when it is about the usual essence of sushi, fish, things turned bad. Salmon sushi were ok, but not the best ever. then the ebi or the shiromis definitly did not look or taste fresh. And that's the sad thing. Maruseki has kind of monopoly in the centre of Tampere and does not make the needed effort to propose the best sushis in town to its customers. Moreover, the restaurant decoration itself give the same feeling: at first it look nice with all the separate rooms, but then when you look closer it looks that it is not finished or that it has been made in a very cheap way. The service though is very friendly and professional.

Tampere definitly deserve a better sushi place, so if you know one feel free to tell us which one! We love Tampere and we love sushi, would be great to love them at the same time!