Catastrophic dinner & superb bed

I had booked a room and dinner package at Hotel GLO Sello for last week’s Friday. The hotel has recently been renovated from floor to ceiling, so it was interesting to see the renewed hotel. The room I had chosen was a GLO Tempur room that is equipped with a Tempur bed as we were interested in testing this state-of-the-art bed. We also tested the Chromecast-streaming system available in the room, which turned out to work well for streaming Netflix from my iPad. I also found the divan in the room super-comfy to lounge on. Before it was time to test the bed, we had a dinner to look forward to.

A place to lounge

If the room was a hit, the dinner was anything but. We had a table reservation at the hotel restaurant GLO Grill Kitchen at 8 pm and as we arrived, we noticed two larger groups already seated in the restaurant. Despite this, the restaurant was by no means full. The dinner package included was a three-course menu with two glasses of wine. The menu sounded delicious: starter of Fennel soup and olive chip, main of either Grilled whitefish, shrimp risotto and orange butter sauce or Grilled lamb, herb risotto and port wine sauce and dessert Gingerbread trifle. We both opted for the fish for the main course. We also decided to start off the dinner with an aperitif. The menu came with two glasses of wine, which you could select from the wine menu and for the starter we chose the recommended Chardonnay. While the waiter served us, he said that the food may take a while because there was a rush in the kitchen. This was no problem for us as we were in no hurry and were happy to enjoy the aperitifs without being rushed. But then things started to go pear-shaped.

We were finally served the starter about an hour into our reservation. The server apologized for the wait and said the food should be coming out faster as the biggest rush in the kitchen was letting up. However, this was not the case. Once we had finished our soups, we waited for another hour at which time hubby went to ask the servers when we might expect to be served our mains. The response was that they are just being prepared. This was, however, clearly not the case. It took almost another half an hour before the main course was served. While waiting for the main course a server came to ask which wine we would like with the fish. Then she said that she would recommend white wine, which almost made us burst out in laughter as that is not a wine recommendation in my opinion (we did laugh once she left the table). I noticed she had the wine list in her hand so I said that if I could have a look at the list I could choose, her response was that you have the same list right there on the table. Eventually she managed to recommend a Riesling. When she came back with the bottle, I had to stop her from pouring it in the wine glasses on the table that had already been used to drink another wine. Eventually the mains arrived, and the server said he would ask the kitchen to prepare the desserts right away, he also asked if we would like coffee with the desserts which the restaurant would pay for since we had to wait. As it was 10.45 at night, coffee did not sound like a good idea so I suggested the aperitifs could be comped instead. Once we had finished the mains, we said we would take the dessert up to the room as the restaurant was closing.

Due to the waiting I almost forgot to take a picture of the main so here I had already tucked into the fish

Up in the room we polished off the desserts and settled in for the night. The bed was amazing, I slept so well. All in all, I can say that the hotel was nice and awarded a perfect night’s sleep but the service in the restaurant was something I’ve never experienced before. Luckily, the food itself was quite good, otherwise the disappointment would have been huge. I do understand that the restaurant was busy but regardless, a three-course dinner should not take three hours (I’ve eaten six course menus in three hours). Also, the restaurant has been aware of the number of guests before hand as the large parties must have had table reservations as did we. So, I would recommend the hotel and might even return myself at some point, but the restaurant lost any chance of us ever coming back.

The magical Tempur bed

Viikonlopun viinit

Viime viikonloppuna päätin hyödyntää Rosa Viini- ja Ruokakerhon toimittamia viinejä ruokajuomina, vaikka käytinkin muita kuin Rosan reseptejä. Viineiksi valikoituivat erittäin kuiva samppanja ja espanjalainen punaviini. Lauantaina ajeltiin Teurastamolle ostoksille, jotta saisimme viinien kaveriksi ensiluokkaisia raaka-aineita. Ostokset tehtiin Tukkutorin Kalassa ja Lihatukku Veijo Votkinissa. English summary at the end of the post.

Lauantain viiniksi valitsin Montaubret Champagne Brutin, joka on jo pitkään ollut yksi Suomen suosituimmista edullisimmista samppanjoista. Itse en kuitenkaan ollut aiemmin tätä samppanjaa maistanut. Tämä samppanja on Pinot Noir -pohjainen ja koska Pinot Noirin osuus on korkea, voidaan samppanjaa kypsyttää minimivaatimuksia pidempään. Pidempi kypsennys luo Montaubretille vivahteikkaan maun, joka on hyvin tasapainoinen. Tämä olikin se asia, johon kiinnitin tässä samppanjassa huomiota – maussa oli mukavaa syvyyttä. Mielestäni maku oli mukavan sitruksinen ja kun siihen vielä yhdistyi miellyttävä yrttisyys tuli Montaubretista uusi suosikki huokeammissa samppanjoissa. Kaveriksi Montaubretille kokkasin valkosipulista jättirapupastaa punaviini-tomaattikastikkeessa. Hieman epäilytti miten punaviinipohjainen kastike toimisi yhdessä samppanjan kanssa. Pelko osoittautui turhaksi, koska Montaubretissa oli tarpeeksi luonnetta kestämään melko monitahoisen kastikkeen. Samppanja korosti mukavasti jättirapujen makua ja pehmensi kastikkeen tomaattisuutta. Tätä samppanja voisi kokeilla myös vaalean kalan kanssa ja tämä toimii ehdottomasti myös kilistely juomana.

Sunnuntaina vuorossa oli täyteläinen espanjalainen Piqueras Gold Label punaviini. Viinin päärypäle on Monastrell (70 %), jonka lisäksi viinissä on myös Garnacha Tintoreraa (20 %) ja Syrahia (10 %) ja se on viinitetty tammitynnyreissä. Alko luokittelee viinin täyteläiseksi, mutta mielestäni se on kuitenkin hieman kevyemmästä päästä täyteläisten viinin joukossa. Mausta löytyy hieman vaniljaisuutta ja mausteisuutta. Viinistä voi myös aistia tiettyä marjaisuutta. Tämän viinin kylkeen valmistin pihvit sisäpaistista jotka paistoin valkosipulivoissa ja ”hukutin” sienikastikkeeseen. Pihvin tarjoilin raakapaistettujen perunoiden kanssa. Viini sopi erinomaisesti pihvin kaveriksi ja leikkasi myös mukavasti kastikkeen kermaisuutta. Tämä maukas espanjalainen voisi olla myös sopiva juoma tapasiltaan. Näin talven jo kolkutellessa ovella voisi viiniä tarjoilla myös pataruuan kanssa.

English summary

Last weekend I tested two wines I received from Rosa Viini- ja Ruokakerho. This time I decided to rely on recipes from other sources. On Saturday we enjoyed a bottle of Montaubret Champagne Brut that is a moderately priced champagne. The champagne is Pinot Noir-based, which enables a longer ageing process than the minimum required for champagne. This gives the champagne a rich flavor that is well balanced. Montaubret has a nice citrusy flavor with herby characters. I served the champagne with a shrimp pasta with a garlic-basil-tomato sauce and the combination was yummy. Montaubret became my new favorite among moderately priced champagnes. On Sunday it was time for a red wine from Spain, Piqueras Gold Label. This was a medium- to full-bodied wine with hints of vanilla and spices. I paired the wine with pan-seared garlic butter steak served with a mushroom-cream sauce. The wine paired well with the steak and balanced out the richness of the sauce nicely.

Birthday dinner in Tallinn

Hubby’s birthday fell on a Friday this year and as we both happened to have that day off work, we decided to take an overnight trip to Tallinn and celebrate there. We hopped on the Eckerö ferry in Helsinki at 9 am and arrived in Tallinn at 11:15 am. I had considered booking lounge seats, but it turned out a cabin was cheaper, so I ended up booking a cabin for us both ways. That way we didn’t have to “fight” for seats in the public areas of the ferry, had a place for our luggage, as well as a private bathroom. It was raining when we arrived in Tallinn so despite the fact that our hotel was only some two kilometers from the harbor, we decided to utilize a taxi. I had booked one night at Metropol Spa Hotel in a superior room and we were lucky enough that our room was ready when we arrived at the hotel. Once we got settled in the room, the rain had stopped so we decided to walk to Fotografiska Tallinn that is located in the Telliskivi neighborhood.

Hotel picture courtesy of: http://www.visitestonia.com/fi/metropol-spa-hotel

The walk was nice, and we checked out the Balti Jaama Turg on the way. Our absolute favorite exhibition at Fotografiska was Alison Jackson’s Truth is Dead, which was both funny and thought-provoking. I also found Kirsty Mitchell’s Wonderland interesting and there were some extremely beautiful pictures that I would be happy to hang on my wall, but in my opinion it became a bit repetitive after a while. Once we had seen the various exhibitions it was lunch time. We ate at Kivi, Paber, Käärid (Rock, Paper, Scissors), which turned out to be an excellent spot to enjoy tasty food. We started with Tortilla Chips with Avocado Cream and Salsa and both had a soup to follow. Mine was Creamy Tomato Soup with Oat Cream and Roasted Almond Flakes and hubby’s Spicy Vietnamese Style Soup with Duck. If you are ever in the Telliskivi area, I can recommend Kivi, Paber, Käärid both for food and drinks.

Oustide market at Balti Jaama Turg
Inside Balti Jaama Turg
Spotted some street art on the way to Fotografiska
More street art
Lunch time

After lunch we strolled back to the hotel and once there utilized the spa facilities. The spa featured four different saunas (Finnish sauna, aroma sauna, steam sauna and salt-steam sauna), four Jacuzzis, a pool and a pool-side bar. We found the spa to be nice and relaxing and at least on a Friday afternoon it was not too crowded. Soon it was time to prepare for dinner and once we were all dolled up, we headed out again and walked to the restaurant.

Spa picture courtesy of: http://www.visitestonia.com/fi/metropol-spa-hotel

I had booked a table at Restaurant Tchaikovsky located in the Telegraaf Hotel. As we were a bit early, we decided to have a drink at the lobby bar. Once it was time for dinner the bartender took us to our table and brought our drinks as well. The restaurant was lovely and the service impeccable. We decided to try the six-course degustation menu with wine pairings. The menu consisted of Tsar Blini with a Trio of Caviar: Osetra Caviar, Golden Pike Roe and Trout Roe, Venison Tartar with Cranberries, Black Radish and a Cream of Horseradish, Truffle Jerusalem Artichoke Soup with Scallop and Crispy Black Bread, Cod with Pumpkin-Quince Puree and Oyster Beurre Blanc Sauce, Roasted Pigeon Royal Filet and Confit with Grilled Sweet Corn and Madeira Sauce, and Plum-Hazelnut Chocolate Cream With Cardamom Sauce. We were also served a small amuse bouche to start and a palate cleanser after the fish course. The menu had just changed that very day and we were the first customers to have this new degustation menu, so the waiter was very interested in what we thought of the various courses. The wine pairings worked really well, and we appreciated that the pours were half pours, as sometimes when you have a wine package you end up getting quite soused. The menu was extremely well planned and for once the courses were small enough so that you could enjoy the whole menu without feeling stuffed already half way through. All in all, I must say this was one of the very best degustation menus and wine pairings we have experienced. We will definitely return to Tchaikovsky as we are very interested in seeing what their spring or summer menu is like.

Restaurant picture courtesy of: http://www.visitestonia.com/en/restaurant-tchaikovsky
Bread basket with truffle spread and caper spread
Tsar Blini with a Trio of Caviar
Venison Tartar
Truffle Jerusalem Artichoke Soup
Cod with Pumpkin-Quince Puree and Oyster Beurre Blanc Sauce
The palate cleanser was a pineaplle sherbet in olive oil (sounds wierd but it was delicious)
Roasted Pigeon Royal Filet and Confit
Plum-Hazelnut Chocolate Cream

We had a good night’s sleep and an adequate breakfast at the hotel the following morning. Then it was time to check out and walk to the harbor to catch the noon ferry back home. This was a lovely way to celebrate hubby’s birthday and a welcome little break from the daily grind.