We celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary in early June and chose Penélope as the place for our anniversary dinner. The owners, Hans Välimäki and Arto Rastas, say that they decided to open a restaurant where they would like to go. An uncomplicated restaurant that focuses on high-quality ingredients and friendly service. A restaurant where customers are treated like you would treat your guests at home. Every portion has a story that has become etched in out memory thanks to its deliciousness – a story we want to share with you. Before dinner we enjoyed some champagne at the Champagne bar at Stockmann. I decided to try something a little different, Veuve Clicquot Rich Rosé, which is a very fruity champagne with 12% red wine. It has a higher dosage of Pinot Noir than the traditional Veuve Clicquot (45%) which gives the flavor more depth.
I immediately liked the vibe of the place. We started with an aperitif and took some time to study the menu. There was a nice selection of cocktails to choose from and the ones we had were tasty and refreshing. The menu is divided into seven sections: Bread & Dips, Small, Charcuterie, Medium, Large, Sides & Extras and Desserts. The idea is that you can mix and match from all sections and the food is brought to the table whenever it is ready so it’s not the traditional starter, main & dessert approach. There was also a separate specials menu.
We decided to both have three small portions and one large portion each. I had Siikli, vendace roe & smoked fresh butter, Scallop & summer truffle, and an Asian inspired Arctic Char dish from the specials menu. Hubby ate Asian style beef tartar & shiso, Gambas pil pil, and Quenelle de brochet. All the small portions were lovely and there were some clever ideas like the smoked butter with the potatoes, the crispy potatoes on top of the scallop, and the coriander and sesame oil with the tartar. My large portion was Pan fried white fish & wild mushrooms and Penélopes ”Clam Chowder” and hubby’s was Chicken “Piri Piri” inspired by Carlos Henriquez. We had planned to share a portion of Patatas fritas mojo rojo with our large portions but forgot to order them, which was actually not a problem because there was plenty of food anyway. The large portions were also nice. The only issue was that the small portions were served relatively quickly but then we had to wait quite a long time until eventually a waiter came around to ask if everything was okay and I said yes but we were waiting for our mains. This resulted in the mains being served so quickly that my guess is they simply had forgotten to serve them and the food felt like it had waited under a heat lamp for quite some time. This probably affected the food somewhat and I’m sure the large portions would have been better if they had been served right away after preparation, for example the skin on my fish was not crispy at all, which I believe it was supposed to be.
The food and atmosphere at Penélope were great and apart from the small mishap with the mains the service was also good. The place was packed and without a reservation there was no way we would have gotten a table. I really liked the idea of the different portion sizes and would like to go back for a cocktail or two and some of the smaller dishes instead of a full-blown dinner. I am also interested to see how the menu evolves depending on the time of the year.
We rounded off the evening with G&Ts at Casa Largo. A great anniversary celebration and now we start our 23rd year of marriage.