Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Green Man, Grantchester

Fish & Chips, can I say more about the traditional British dining? Well, I guess all of us have had terrible dishes, which have been called by that name. I was lucky to have a great meal in the small local pub The Green Man near by Cambridge in Grantchester. 

Our entourage had walked about one and an half hours on the fields and forest in the British rain. We were looking for a warm place to have a lunch. When we arrived to The Green Man, we were informed that the gas was out so the only dish they could offer as was the traditional fish and chips. That worked fine for us and all of us ordered the same meal. 

I have to say that this meal was probably one of the best in UK. Haddock was good and fresh, not too oily and chunky chips were home made and well cooked. The cherry on the top of this meal was mashed peas, which was also fresh and tasty. 

The portion was so big that some of us couldn't finish it. If you ever happen to go to Cambridge, I do recommend to take a walk (or a taxi) to Grantchester to visit the pub and Orchard Tea Garden near by. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Burger time!

Kitch is an easy kitchen place right in the centre of Helsinki, on Yrjönkatu, few yards away from Hotel Torni.

The owner seems quite friendly and the place is popular, especially for it's burgers (but the menu also offers a decent range of tapas, salads, pastas and soups among others). But is it worth it?

Set in a retro style the place is quite cosy, and has the privilege of its location. Almost in the centre but away enough from the main road to offer a small, quiet and sunny terrass!

What about the food? We have been there couple of times for the popular burgers, the Kitch one and the vegetarian one. And the verdict is: It's pretty good!

The Kitch burger is the basic meat burger with a slice of goat cheese instead of the usual cheddar, and it taste just great. The bun is also good, kind of homemade makes a bit crusty even if you have a juicy thick piece of meet just in there. The fries served with it are good but may not be home made (one more effort and you could get a Burger oscar here!).

The vegetarian burger is also tasty, the meat steak being replaced by a vegetarian one. The only issue here is maybe for vegetarian cheese lovers. You may be very jealous of your meat eater friends and their goat cheese slice. Perhaps the goat cheese could be proposed as an option here (and then maybe a second oscar to be given?).

Finally let's also talk about the wine list. The house has a short but interesting wine list which includes few organic European wines. I personally recommend their italian red organic, suits perfectly the Kitch burger.

To summarize, you may not eat the best burger ever in kitch, but you will have good food, in a nice place in the heart of Helsinki city centre for a very decent price.


Monday, August 20, 2012

Aux Petits Oignons

Vatsa Edellä likes to travel, even in boring countries like France ;)

Here is one of our secret place in Paris. As the most people visiting Paris probably know how disappointing can be looking for a GOOD restaurant in this town fulfilled of disgusting tourist traps. So let's take the risk to make the place more crowded (if you plan to go there in evening time you may need to book ahead), but so far this blog isn't that successful.

The place is located in the 19th district, in the North East of Paris, nearby the Gambetta metro station. If you are planning visiting some art spaces or tourist hub like Père Lachaise, it might be your perfect lunch place.

The place is very cosy, looks at the same time a bit cliché (which means perfect for tourists) but has a very good atmosphere and is mostly frequented by locals.

The lunch goes in a usual Formula: Starter+main course or main course+dessert or starter+main course+dessert. Unless you are on a diet we of course recommend the last option. The menu is changing regularly, if not daily and is presented on black boards written with chalk, which add to the charm of the place.

This time our choice was:

Tartare de hareng (Herring tartar)

Bavette servie avec pommes de terre et salade (Flank steak with potatoes and salad)
Assiette vegetarienne (vegetarian plate)

Faisselle au miel (Quark with honey)
Tarte aux myrtilles (Blueberry pie)

The starter was indeed a good way to give you apetite. The only thing I would say is that if you come from Nordic Europe you may prefer go for another option as herring is already so popular in your own kitchen.

The Bavette, mythic French dish to quote Roland Barthes, is always good in this place. The meat in tender, very tasty and they cook it exactly as you ask it (of course the French man speaking, medium or well done may have a different sense to you). The side dish, potatoes and salad is basic but again so well cooked that if you want your bite of this piece of French culture, it's a great place to have it.
The Vegetarian plate is...amazingly surprisingly delicious, and enormous in matter of quantity. A mix braised endives with potatoes purée, carrots purée and other broccolis and fresh green stuff. All the flavors of summer exploding in your mouth! (Note that the menu is seasonal and this visit is dated from July 2012).

After all that it might feel hard to still have room for a bite of sweat. Nevertheless, don't be shy and enjoy your dessert, even the simplest one may taste just perfect there. Their quark with honey can sound like what you can have home everyday, and it is true but only if you have the same crèmerie than them. The quality of the products is of the key of Aux Petits Oignons success!

To end this note just a word about the wine. Waiters will be very helpful to choose your wine, and even the cheapest house-wine in this friendly place will please you.

Enjoy your meal!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hải Phòng Street Kitchen @ Restaurant Day

Restaurant Day is a Finnish concept, which makes our city life a bit more lively. It's a wonderful way for people to meet randomly each others and a great opportunity for those who have been dreaming of having their own restaurant, to try to be a restaurant owner for a day. 

This time we visited few places around our own neighbourhood and we want to say few words about a Vietnamese street food place, we found in Hermanni. 

Held in a court yard of Hermanni this Vietnamese/Finnish Family had organized a small grill & spring rolls menu for their visitors. They had even built a small tent which was very welcome, because of the occasional rain.

The place was proposing homemade meet or vegetarians spring rolls and a barbeque pork meat cut in tiny slices. Important point is that, on top of being prepared by a real Vietanamese chef, the vegetable were also homegrown from their garden! 

For 6 to 7,5€ your plate was filled of spring rolls and/or pork barbecue meet, with glass noodles and fresh salad and mint. The spring rolls were tasty, very well done, but actually the vegetarian version was even better. That might explain why the effort of 5 days of cooking was already almost sold out after 2 hours being open! The pork was also delicious, and with the spicy fish and cabbage sauce the plate was just perfect.

If only these people could open a lunch place next to my work place, I'd become their customer number one!


A lovely small restaurant, Hoshito, has been open in Vallila, Helsinki already some time. It's a stylish japanese restaurant with quality food, friendly service and great food experience. There you can forget about ordering sushi with Asahi. At the Hoshito you can choose three, four or five courses menus (32 euros/ 36 euros/ 39 euros). They use seasonal ingredients and that's why menus are changing time to time. Hoshito is open only for evenings and sometimes for a special occasions like First of May. 

The chef is a multi-talent. He has been working also for Marimekko and you can see his own idiom in the fabrics and the decorations on the wall. 

It's been very popular restaurant and that's why we recommend to make a table reservation also for the weekday evening. Go and see Hosihitos web page, it's as wonderful as the restaurant and its food. 


At Qulma you will get a brunch, which keeps your hunger away until the evening. They have ready made plates (cheese or meat), yogurt with several different toppings (sweet pesto thing was good!), a vitamin shots plus the regular juice + coffees. If you want, you can upgrade your brunch with the glass of sparkling. 

The place itself is nice in the heart of Kruununhaka, old district of Helsinki. If you want to be sure that you get seated, we recommend to make a table reservation, though we happened just pop in. Their speciality is the jacket potatoes. We were too filled after the normal breakfast part to even try the potatoes, but they seemed to be huge with couple of different filling. Generally food is good and basic. the most memorable articles were the yogurt with its toppings and a vitamin shot.  

All this costs 18 euro (3,5 for a glass of sparkling), it's a bit pricy, but as already mentioned, you wont get hungry all day.