Monday, December 05, 2011

Ateljé Finne

Ateljé Finne is one of the restaurants in Helsinki, which you can put on the group "a bit better ones". If you a planning to have a nice dinner with your loved one or you are wondering, where to arrange a dinner with your girlfriends, when one of you is getting married, we do recommend the Ateljé Finne. Food is excellent, service professional and the atmosphere cosy. 

These pictures are taken in one evening, when one of my friend had got married and the group of friends wanted to celebrate that. It was great. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

American Diner

You know that sometimes it's very refreshing to have a hamburger meal. I am not thinking of any McDonald nor Hesburger meals, but a real restaurant hamburger with homemade chips. I was visiting my sister sometime ago in Tampere. There is a restaurant, where we end up, when we're graving for junk food. This place is American Diner. Its decoration seems to be pretty authentic American diner, at least it feels authentic for me, who's never been in U.S.

And the food. I had a spicy vegetarian cheese burger with chips and my sister got a meat hamburger with bacon and garlic. She loved her burger (it did the work) and mine vegetarian version was fine as well. Maybe the totally white wheat bread is a bit too white for my taste and I found the chips better than the burger itself.

This time we didn't have any desert there, because we had planned to taste some real ice-cream made by a local ice-cream factory. But if you have space in your tummy, try their tasty milkshakes or pancakes. Yummy!

American Diner

(unfortunatelly we were so happy to eat that we forgot to take any pictures).

Monday, October 03, 2011


Looking for a good restaurant in Helsinki, still affordable, not Hok Elanto place, and which can even be a good place for a romantic dinner as a good dinner place between friends? Maybe Kuurna is your place.

Located in Kruunuhaka, not far from the sea side, in nice old town surrounding but further from the busiest and poshest area of the city. The place is in a nice old building so, with high ceilings with vintage looking canopy, chandeliers and simple vintage design furniture. The place itself looks stylish enough, staff is friendly and act professional, with a Finnish touch. Only perhaps the music selection can be surprising (listening to Foo Fighters in this kind of environment sound a bit off the frame, but why not...)

And what about the Food. Kuurna has a very interesting formula. Menu will cost you either 31 or 37€ if you decide to go for a 2 or 3 course meal. Which is reasonable regarding the quality of the food and the other options you have in town. The menu can look small at first but in fact the list is slightly updated weekly so that there is always some change; For our venue our pick was:

Pour Mademoiselle
Baltic Herring filet
Stuffed cabbage rolls with mushroom
Home made Finnish apple sorbets (three different apples)

Pour Monsieur
Soupe d'artichauts
Pike perch filet with potatoes
milk chocolate pie with pears

The herring were good, but in my taste maybe a bit too classic for this kind of place, but the artichoke soup was definitly a lovely starter option. We both enjoyed our starters with our aperitif, a homemade cocktail made of sparkling wine, zubrowska vodka and secret ingredient (we don't remember what it was). 
For the main course we went through the wine list. Au verre ou à la bouteille, the wine selection is not too wide but interesting enough. We went as usual for French, Pinot Noir pour Mademoiselle (very good choice, strong in the mouth and fitting perfectly the mushrooms), and Chablis pour Monsieur (not too fruity and less dry than the German Riesling that the Waiter was first suggesting). The Stuffed cabbage were very good, nicely presented, a success. The pike perch was good, but perhaps the chef should serve it in a smaller quantity and try some more convincing spice (only salt and butter were used, while the range of possible spice for this dish could be so much more exciting).

The dessert was itself a real pleasure to eat, and finishing on that note is definitely a great option we strongly recommend. The chocolate pie is simply delicious but the winner is without any doubt the home made apple sorbet, made of 3 different kind of Finnish apple from the basic yellow cider to the very sweet red one which almost taste like a summer strawberry. Even if you would filled stuffed yourself by the previous courses, you won't regret these home made sorbet.

As a conclusion Kuurna is a very interesting place in Helsinki, where booking ahead is mandatory in weekend (they offer different time of service allowing their kitchen to work in the most effective way), in a nice atmosphee (if you don't pay too much attention to the music selection), with a professional staff and perhaps one of the best rate quality/price menu in town.

Strongly recommanded!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Yoli - Frozen Yogurt

If you are visiting Berlin, do not miss this: Yoli, Frozen Yogurt. This heavenly good innovation is for all of us, who love milk products like ice-cream and yogurt. Frozen yogurt is healthy and tasty option for ice-cream. 

There have been only natural flavoured yogurt earlier, but during my last Berlin trip I noticed that you could choose also caramel or blueberry flavoured yogurts. I sticked anyway in the natural flavour. The best thing are the fillings: there are dozens of choices you can add on the top of your yogurt. My favourites are the simple: blueberries and strawberries (as in the picture) or some other berries with pistachio sauce. There are also three different sizes of yogurt, for me the basic size is enough.

There are three stores in the different locations in Berlin. Enjoy! 

Friday, September 16, 2011

Monsieur Vuong

"Oh, my grandfather!" That's what one of us said, when he saw a picture of Monsieur Vuong. This Vietnamese restaurant in Berlin is famous for its dishes. Every time one of us has visited Berlin one has also visited Mr Vuong.

Berlin has many ethnic restaurants, also many Vietnamese, but I've heard from many people that Monsieur Vuong is the best in the city. The food is made in the front of you and it's tasty. My favourite is noodle salad with tofu. I'm not sure, which spicy it is, but it gives nice, perky taste for the food.

Service in the restaurant is pretty fast and smily. There have always been lots of customers, it doesn't matter what time of the day it is. If you happen to be looking for a restaurant in the centre of Berlin on Sunday, you can walk straight to Monsieur Vuong. It is one of the only ones to be open at that day.

If you find yourself queueing into the restaurant, remember to order also one of their fresh fruit shakes.

Sunday, September 04, 2011


Going to Kalevankatu in Helsinki? Perhaps you were heading for a beer...well the area has more than barley to offer. The tiny Sis. Deli+Cafe offers a decent breakfast/brunch option right there.

The place is small just next to the Isku store, and actually when the SisDeli+ Cafe is full you have the possibility to enjoy your coffee or brunch in the part of the store right next to the café, a good option if you fancy nordic design furniture.

The menu is quite simple but good. Nice selection of bread, delicious humus and pesto, fresh organic veges, some good looking ham (but have to admit that no one tried it), mozarella, sun dried tomatoes...and also to not disappoint the Finnish tradition, porridge. And I have to admit that I like porridge, but it is usually not among my favorite. Sis. Deli+Cafe porridge is actually kind of unique, with pieces of coconut and banana mixed inside. Honestly this bring some freshness to an old family recipe with a nice kick.

And one of the very big plus for the the place compare to the other brunch options in the city: The coffee of your choice is included for the same price. Not the basic Finnish coffee, sometimes too light, sometimes which stays too long on the stove, but a real and quite good espresso or capuccino or latte (well real Italian will probably have a word to say here). The weekend brunch includes also a smoothie, this time it happened to be one with goji berries, blueberries and coconuts.

The staff is quite friendly, efficient and the place tend to get easily crowded from 11.00.

So as a conclusion, the place might look tiny and not the most attractive at first, it offers a very good option for brunch right in the city centre. Although you can buy organic product from the café, same stuff can be found for few euros less only few minutes away from there in Kamppi (shop is called Ruohonjuuri).

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Solar Kitchen

Lapin Kulta Solar Kitchen by Antto Melasniemi
Kalasatama, Helsinki 4.-14.8.2011

When it's sunny, you might be lucky to get a bit different kind of lunch. Lunch, which has been cooked (only) with solar energy. That sounds perfect, doesn't it. Antto Melasniemi is known for his pop up restaurant Hel! Yes! in London and in Helsinki. This time he's cooking with solar energy in Kalasatama, Helsinki. Every time lunch menu is a surprise for the customers. This time it was vegetarian, which is fine for me. The place is amazing empty harbor area with some construction and Helsinki just there, around you. Everywhere.

It is just pure love. The sun, good food, friends and this amazing place out door. It amazing that this tasty food has been made with those funny space ships. I loved the relaxed atmosphere.

Starter: wild herbs, mushrooms, cauliflowers and radish.
Main course: tomato-potato-saffron stew.

Antto Melasniemi - The Top Chef. 

Dessert: chocolate cake with caramel sauce and blueberries. 

If you have a possibility to go there, don't be late. You will miss it. 

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Lapinlahden juusto- ja viinijuhlat 2011

Annual Lapinlahti Cheese and Wine Festival took place again in the end of July. Lapinlahti is a small town in Savo area (60 km north from Kuopio) and known for it's artist (Pekka Halonen, Emil Halonen, Kalle Halonen, Juhani Aho etc). Cheese and Wine Festival was set up in the local ice hall. There were sitting place for 1150 cheese eater, 500 kg cheese and the same amount of other food and wine of course. Cheeses are from a dairy company Valio, because there's a factory in Lapinlahti. Huge tables were bending under the weight of cheeses, salads, bread, vegetables and fruits. 

In Finland (unfortunately) the cheese culture is nothing compared to France for example. Finnish cheeses are 99,9% made in a factory, it doesn't have that strong taste (there are few exceptions) and the texture is very factory-made kind. 

I have to say that there are couple of cheese, which have a bit character: Aura (blue cheese), brie (it's actually made in France), Ritari, Kreivi and Black labeled emmental. The rest taste more or less the same and that was a bit the problem in the Cheese and Wine Festival as well. You cut cheese on your (paper!) plate, sit in the very dim room and try to guess what you're eating. Of course you can also just eat and not care about what it was, but that feels a bit waste of food (and money). 

This year the Festival's wine list was fine: Europian wine and even some organic wines. Sadly most of the wines were from South-America. Anyway, it's a very delightful event, which ends always with dancing. It would be lovely to see some year cheese from other countries or at least some cheeses from small producers. Maybe even some sheep and goat milk cheese! 

Lapinlahti Cheese and Wine Festival is an experience you should do. You just have to forget about the French cheeses. I hope you don't forget your behaving manners as Finnish people sometimes do. 

Book a table ahead, it's going to be sold out. See you next year!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Coffee Bean

Fancy some good lunch in Vallila, Helsinki? Well, it might be difficult, because Vallila is not exactly know for it's wonderful cafes nor restaurants. It's the area in Helsinki, which is know for it's "school-food"-type of canteens with overpriced and tasteless meals. I'm wondering, why it's like that, because the area is rather nice and it's becoming more popular. Vallila is waiting for the (young) innovative businessmen - and women.

Fortunately in the beginning of summer a brave family came and founded a small daytime cafe/lunch place just next to my workplace (thank you goddess!). It's so wonderful to have some other options for the lunch than those a bit fatigue Amica, Sodexho etc. 

Coffee Bean is a neat place and they are serving warm lunches, sandwiches and very tasty salads. Wonderful thing is that they make the salads ready while you're waiting. You don't need to eat anything, which has been there waiting for you since early morning. My favourites are warm goat cheese salad (heaven) and salmon salad. Both take even bigger hunger away. 

Plus the staff is the friendliest ever. 

PS. A secret: they make sushi every Wednesday. Be early, if you fancy some. 

EDIT 19.08.2012
Their sushi is not that amazing. Rice is strange and fishes have seen the better days. Salads are still great though.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Looking for a great place for lunch on Turku's riverside? Well then Tintå might be a good option.
This self proclaimed wine bar is actually a very good option for kind of tapas food (and probably also pizzas, which look amazing, but we will have to go back to Turku to talk about it).

The restaurant itself is descent size and the table plan manage to be in a same time not too packed and not too empty, which makes it feel good. Surrounded by some small nice details: old wooden made bottle racks on the wall as selfs, giant black board with the menu. I also need to mention an remarkable view on the Aura river, as well as their terrace. Tintå is a very popular place, for which you need to book a week or even two ahead, if you wish to have a table for a Saturday evening. 

How about the food. We did it simple with grilled prawns and the special Tintå bread on one side, and Lamb kofta on the other. I can already say that both were tasty. The Grilled prawns were not too dry and the marinade was excellent. The Lamb on its side was terrific and the green sauce served with it was definitely one of the best surprise of the dish. 

Tintå has a large wine menu. Lots of their wine seems to come from South America, which in our quest of ethical menu is not appreciate very high. Even if tasting wine from Bolivia was exciting, we went for an European option with a glass of French rosé.

After our nice plate, the waitress managed to convinced us to order of the dessert: Blueberry pie tiramisu.
Behind this mysterious name you'll find not really a pie, not really a tiramisu, but a very interesting mix of blueberries, walnuts and mascarpone served in a pretty small glass pot, like a mini "Parfait". The taste was surprising at first and the combination blueberry + walnut is simply brilliant.

As a conclusion I say that Tintå is an affordable place with a nice personality, atmosphere and of course the great menu. Perhaps dinner might feel a bit like a hassle, if booking is required in advance, but it is probably worth it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cafe Art, Turku

Do you love good coffee? Coffee, which has been made with love and expertise? If you happen to visit Turku (Finland), find the Cafe Art. This cafe is famous for its coffees and for reason.

Sit down and enjoy a cup of espresso or cappuccino. Take it easy and just taste it. Wonderful!

Sergio's, Turku

Turku and its Aura river scene, a very nice place to enjoy a summer evening dinner. And what could be better than one of the so called best local I'm not talking about Hesburger but about typical Finnish food: Italian restaurant Sergio's.

Well Sergio's is an Italian restaurant, run by a true Italian team who claim to import themselves most of their ingredient from Italy in order to provide the best tasting experience (ok Finland do not produce as many delicatessen food than Italy but for sure some vegees can compete with italian ones on the taste line).

Anyway the restaurant itself is located on the Aura riverside in a lovely old wooden house build in the 18th century, and which miraculously survived from the Turku's great fire. The interior of the restaurant is divided in 3 main rooms plus a terrace, allowing quite an important turnover of customers. The decoration is a mixed of Italian and Finnish style, the white and blue tiles on the wall are very romantic. Then perhaps - maybe a bit too much - the cheeky playlist (Ennio Morricone, Laura Pausini and other Italians music fame) might make you smile after a while.

Sergio the ruler of the place is very active, being sometimes at the service, sometimes behind the bar, sometimes in kitchen to help his Italian cook to put the final touch on dishes, and he also takes care of the reservation, pushing a bit table if needed and making sure to not put customers in hurry if they feel staying long in his busy restaurant.

So what about the food?

Well the menu looked quite good, and the wine list (only Italian wines mostly not found in any Alko store) was also interesting. Prices of the dishes (average of 15-25€ per dishes) was leading to think that high quality food will be there as well.

Our choice was:
Pour Mademoiselle:

_Gratined scallops, frutti di mare and radicchio
_Linguine with frutti di mare, sundried tomato oilo and fresh chili
Pour Monsieur:
Menu di Fissi:
_Gratined scallops, frutti di mare and radicchio
_Glaced sea bass fillet served with vegetables and pecorino cheese-balsamico focaccia
_3 balls italian ice cream

And for the wine we went for white (of course?) with a glass of wine from Puglia (as the choices for wine from the glass is very limited and that no 37,5cl bottle is proposed). The funny thing about the wine was that the (Finnish) waitress only ask to Monsieur and even dare to say straight something like "The 16cl glass right?" as if never any customer ordered the 12cl glass and that this option would be removed in the next prints of the menus.

Anyway, before starting our nice romantic dinner, we ordered aperitif: Capri and Spritz cocktails which were served as usual in italian restaurant with a bit of bread and olive oil. Capri was refreshing but Spritz tasted a bit cheap, but our main disappointment with the aperitif was to see our glass of wine coming at the same time that the aperitif bread and olive oil...No need to tell you that our glass of white became a slightly warm by the time our food came.

Starters arrived at the good time, served not anymore by our waitress but directly by one of the Italian cook from the kitchen. Very tasty scallops nothing to say about it (except maybe that our conscience felt a bit bad to eat again this kind of far distance imported food).

Then our main courses came, perhaps a small bit too early, but the great thing to say was that contrary than in many Finnish restaurant, we were served at the same time. Of course something had to go wrong and 5 seconds after one waiter gave us our plates another came to apologize that they gave to Mademoiselle the wrong plate with only half portion!

What about the taste? Well the fish was very well cooked and the veggies with it very tasty and still crunchy, the cooking time was just perfect. And the pasta? This was maybe the winner dish of the evening. Home made fresh pasta with a very tasty and colourful sauce. All the ingredient listed in the menu you could taste them, none of them were hidden by another, very good combination.

After these main course, Monsieur was still waiting for his ice cream. Here the service was a bit disappointing. Nowhere in the menu was said than there would be no choice in the flavor of the ice cream, so when about 1 minute after my plate was taken away I saw a small bowl of ice cream coming to me, I was a bit surprised, both by the non choice possibility and also by the speed of the service. Maybe I would have appreciate having 5 more minute to digest my fish. Anyway the home made ice cream were very good (wild guess is that it was strawberry, vanilla and nocciola).

Before we hit the road and explore Turku's Saturday's night fever, Mademoiselle ordered another italian speciality, an espresso. Disappointment here again with a burned coffee taste, maybe coming from a miss use of the massive italian coffee machine.

As a verdict, yes Sergio's is a very good italian restaurant, but perhaps better for lunch than for diner as its reputation is a bit overrated (or its success make its situation too comfortable when some effort could be brought here and there). Even more with a bill going slightly over the 100€, Sergio's could maybe decide to take a bit less customer and focus a bit more on some quality details. But perhaps it is Italian culture which makes it difficult to refuse couple of more customers even if enough is enough.

Monday, March 07, 2011


Siltanen is a nice trendy bar/kitchen/club in Kallio. The atmosphere is laid-back and relaxed.
It's always a good place to go either in late night (it closes already at 2am), if you want to get your feet on the dancefloor, or earlier in the evening for a beer with your friends. If  you fancy something to eat with your beer, it's also possible to get something from their kitchen.

Yes, eating is possible in Siltanen and the couple of time we've used that opportunity to enjoy their service. Unfortunatly we are here to talk about another story, a Saturday night experience.

A famous sandwich chain has a saying for slogan "eat fresh". Well, it seems that in Siltanen you can eat a bit too fresh. But let's not spoil the story from the start.

Saturday evening after seeing a good play with friends, we get an idea: how about heading to a place to get a beer, grab some simple food and listen to good music? Siltanen here we come.
Siltanen is located on Hämeentie, one of the main road leaving from city centre, in a old brick building next the Academy of Fine Art.

Inside white wooden floor and high ceiling testify that you are in an old industrial building. Cosy sofas and stylish DJ bar will make you forget the weird feeling given by the dentist lamps on the ceiling.

Anyway let's talk about food: Once you've got in and your table is found, there's only a direction to the counter. The friendly English speaking staff show you were are the menus. We all go for the pizza plate, vege for some, chicken for others and beer for all.

As expected the beer comes right away, we're told that the food will take 30 minutes more. That's fine it's weekend in a bar, not in a fast food place at a gas station. But time suddenly take a different dimension and after asking the staff about our food, it comes...after 45min.

At first, for hungry eyes, the plate looks good. The fresh goat cheese on the vegetarian pizza was yummy yummy. The First bite feels quite good. After few more bites there is a surprise; the freshness I talked about earlier. The pizzas were not enough cooked! Grated cheese has not melted on the vegetarian pizzas, leaving a bit the feeling to eat a frozen pizza straight from the carton box. Chicken pizza has also its part of surprises; as the triple, sorry the quarter of cheese and garlic layers. This resulted in pizza dough covered by the regular tomato sauce, few piece of chicken and 1cm layer of garlic covered by an at least as thick layer of not totally melted cheese.
Come on guys, we know that only Jamie Oliver knows how to cook in UK but do something, learn how to use an oven! I understand that it was a weekend evening. Maybe in the rush guys might have got a Saturday night fever, but still, this was a disappointing experience.

Luckily this is not the end for Siltanen, we'll talk more about them later as they also serve brunch on weekends, so stay connected for the update.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Galleria Keidas

Among all the places we wanted to go since a while, Galleria Keidas has been on the top of the list. Quoted by many magazines as a good organic brunch place we were excited to pay a visit, even more as it is located just on front of our old apartment.

H. had a special voucher for a brunch which gave us the perfect opportunity to visit the place.
At 10.50 on a Saturday morning we popped-in! And surprise the tiny place (only 20 seats maximum) was full. We had tried to contact them by email in advance to make a reservation, but we didn't get any answer. It seemed to be hard to get a seat. Anyway we were told to come back at 12.00 by then there would be a table waiting for us. We were informed that we could come also a bit earlier, if we wanted to come to check the situation. So we came back at 11.30 and after 10minutes we got our table.

The place has some charm. It is tiny but not too tiny and the decoration looks very friendly, but something weird make you feel that it is not as friendly place as it seems to be.

The brunch consist of a "starter", a bowl of porridge or musli with soured milk and jam. Musli was tasty enough to be a good introduction.

Then comes a plate with the main ingredient of your choice: Mozzarella, edam, eggs or tofu.
We both went for mozzarella. The brunch is served with tea or coffee plus a glass of juice. This is in theory - In practice there is a small bottom of black mud in the coffee pot, some water for the tea and after many attempt and request a small glass of juice is served to you. A buckthorn juice has a nice orange color but with an awful taste (reminds me of puke), the perfect morning drink though!

The plate is garnished with some homemade and good humus, some black beans, salad and slices of  pineapple and orange. The bread is also fresh and still warm, and actualy quite good, not homemade though.

But. A big but. There are some serious problems with managing.  The small cafe is lacking of directing. There were no organizing at all, which gives totally catastrophic feeling also for the customers. Orders were mixed, even forgotten. Some people got service twice, some none. Unfortunately lots of your energy goes to see, if the manager is surviving. It's scary.

The waitress seems to be a very kind girl but maybe a bit too much under the stress of a manager who have no organization at all (in a place of less than 20 seats, isn't difficult to give numbers to table for example?).
Never the less, the brunch is suppose to end by a royal pancake with ice-cream. The ice-cream is made in Suonenjoki, Finland. Unfortunatly there wasn't anymore blueberry when our turn came. Chocolate and lingonberry did the deal, but what a pancake! I think that with such a recipe we found the solution to build earthquake proof building in Japan! Even a steak knife would have not be enough to cut through it! A cold and hard pancake, how can you dare to serve this to your customers?

Another comment need to be added here: as for many places trying to surf on the organic wave, what is the point to propose organic products, if the products are not seasonal nor local and are coming from the other side of the world? And what about products grown in green houses, which need lots of energy (not necessarily green in a country which had a massive nuclear power plant park)? If I were vicious, I could say opportunism...

Verdict: It's not a bad place, but to really make yourself a good opinion of the place, go there when the place is not packed, it might be then more relaxing and this also effects on the food and the atmosphere!

Moko Market (UPDATE)

I was hoping I would never have had a reason to write this message, but never say never, as they say.

Almost a year ago we were charmed by Moko Market Brunch. The bread was fresh and good. The organic cheese, imported from Spain though, was tasting amazing. Especially the goat cheese, the selection of vegetables and fruits was large. The juices offered were also pretty decent.

So when a friend of us invited us to repeat the experience, we said yes! But should have remembered that it is always a bad idea to try to repeat a good moment from the past.

Moko Market brunch is no more the enjoyable moment we talked about in the past. Only the bread could still be compared.

Nowadays, when you have the "privilege" to pay your 16€ (prices raised btw which could have lead us to think quality was getting higher) you have the amazing chance to eat very basic non organic cheese. Which makes me thinking about a sliced version of terrible "Vache qui rit", plus a very basic assortment of vege (only the salad leaves were good).

The cherry on the top is the new apple juice (yes, oranges disappeared from the table, and thus even before the revolution in Tunisia and Egypt)! Nowadays your apple juice tastes very basic and comes straight from a 10 liter carton box. The box itself isn't the major problem, even some descent wine can be bought in carton boxes, but when you want to serve an expansive brunch, at least respect people and serve them in descent dishes. It would not cost much to Moko Market to serve their juice in pitcher rather than from the boxes!

One positive point anyway. The desserts are still pretty good. The blueberry pie was melting in my mouth and the pulla-cake was also delicious to even if the Finns around the table found it too raw for their taste.

So the verdict is clear: Moko Market is soon to reach the quality/price range of the poorest! Overpriced and proposing only a limited choice of very basic and low market product.

Honestly for 16€ per person I could have orgnize a feast at home myself.
Moko Market Cafe