St. George & Ventuno

This year to celebrate hubby’s birthday I booked a room at the new boutique hotel St. George that opened in Helsinki this past spring and a table at restaurant Ventuno that had opened its doors in September. The room I booked was a Sky Attic Studio at the top floor of the hotel with lovely views of the Old Church Park. The room was perfect for a short stay but would feel quite small for say a week’s vacation. The hotel offers a spa, Wintergarden restaurant and bar, restaurant Andrea – where Nordic and Anatolian kitchens meet, and the St. George Bakery café with the first ever Monocle Shop in the Nordic countries.

 

 

After checking in at the hotel we headed out for some lunch and shopping. We had lunch at Kamppi shopping mall’s Kortteli restaurant world at Beijing8, a dumpling restaurant. After lunch and shopping we headed back to the hotel and visited the Wintergarden bar for a cocktail. I liked the atmosphere in the bar and the cocktail was good too. Then we withdrew to our room to relax and get ready for dinner.

Dumplings with broccoli and edamame sides
 
Wintergarden had some nice private rooms
 

Ventuno was quite surprising, as we walked in, the place seemed noisy and slightly chaotic but when we were taken to our table, the atmosphere changed to a calm and relaxing place. So the front café/bar type area was really bustling, while the dining room/osteria was calm even though fully booked. We started with an aperitif while studying the menu. We ordered the Ventuno Degustazione tasting menu accompanied with the recommended wine package. The menu consisted of: Arancini /Lemon & thyme flavoured crispy risotto ball, thyme-parmesan dressing), Alici & N’Duja (Fennel cracker, spicy n´duja sausage, anchovy, dill, pecorino), Kingfish Bianco (Raw marinated kingfish, green olives, pistachio vinaigrette, lemon jam cremé), Casarecce al Ragù (Braised brisket ‘ragù’, confit garlic, toasted almonds, gremolata), Capesante & Gamberetti (Roasted scallops, dried tomato-shrimp dressing, saffron, trout roe), Pesce Piccata (Roasted fish of the day, olive oil hollandaise, salted halibut fritters) with Gratin di Patate (Potato, cabbage, caramel onions, parmesan) , and for dessert  Limoncello (Lemon pie, meringue, blackberries, blackberry sorbet, limoncello jus). The food was really good and we loved every course except for the Pesce Piccata, which seemed a bit too heavy with both hollandaise sauce, a fritter and creamy potatoes. It also did not seem very Italian to us. However, all in all the menu was really good as where the wines. The service was also good and the waitress followed our wishes regarding pausing between certain courses. The only small faux pas happened with the wine as we had to ask for the third wine when we were served the fish and this wine was supposed to be served already with the scallops. We will come back to this restaurant when the menu changes.

Back at the hotel when we tried to get to sleep we noticed that the control panel for the door was super bright so I had to drape a towel over it. Once the panel was covered we got a good night’s sleep in a bed that was slightly too soft. In the morning it was time for breakfast that on weekends was served until noon, which is a huge plus. The breakfast was quite good but I found the bread selection a bit disappointing. For a hotel that advertises its own bakery only being served a small basket of one type of bread with a small serving of butter was a letdown. Also, the selection of cold cuts was very limited. The omelets and home-made yogurt were a nice touch. All in all, I loved the feel of the hotel and the staff was really friendly but Hotel Haven still remains our favorite boutique hotel in Helsinki.

WeeGee & Moms

Last Saturday we visited the WeeGee exhibition centre in Espoo to see the civil war in Espoo exhibition at the Espoo City Museum, KAMU. The exhibition was very interesting. We also took a look at the Futuro house, which I had wanted to see for some time but it was rather disappointing and I wasn’t even able to get a picture of the house even though I tried. This time we didn’t visit the exhibitions of Emma (Espoo museum of modern art). On the way to the exhibition centre we jumped off the metro at Koivusaari to check out the only metro station in the world located under the sea and that houses Finland’s longest escalator 76,2 meters.

Civil war exhibition
Civil war exhibition
By J-P Kärnä [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, from Wikimedia Commons
Inside the Futuro house

Back in Helsinki, we decided to stop by a rooftop terrace at Restaurant Loiste for a refreshing drink. Unbelievably this was our first time for terrace drinks this summer, somehow there just hasn’t been the opportunity until now. Then we took the train to Kauniainen where we had an early dinner at Moms. This is now our closest bar/restaurant where we had lunch once but never before tried the a la carte menu. I had Ceasar salad with crayfish and hubby had a turkey sandwich with grilled turkey, focaccia, chili mayonnaise, mozzarella and rocket pesto. The food was really tasty and made with high-quality ingredients. We will definitely go back here for dinner.

View from Loiste rooftop terrace

Return to Eevert

My birthday is in late May and this year we had birthday dinner at Eevert. This is the same restaurant we tried out in early December last year soon after it had first opened. I picked Eevert for my b-day dinner because I really liked their spring menu. I must say I am a bit of a spring/early summer child also when it comes to food, I love the tastes of Finnish spring/summer much more than those of autumn/winter. My birthday was on a Tuesday so the restaurant was empty when we arrived and I was wondering if we’d get to keep the whole place to ourselves but soon another party arrived. Unfortunately no more guests arrived that evening, which was a stark reminder of how poorly restaurants tend to fair early in the week.

Heading to my b-day dinner

We started with a nice gin-based cocktail and then had Eevert’s tasting menu (8 courses) with wine package. The menu consisted of three starters, two main courses and three desserts (well actually the sixth course was more of a palate cleanser than a dessert). The courses were: Salmon & Cucumber, Asparagus & Strawberry, Deer & Wood Sorrel, Perch & Nettle, Hereford & Tarragon, Napue & Citrus, Finnish Cheese and Rhubarb & Meringue.

Slightly cooked salmon with a cucumber jus
Asparagus three ways with a strawberry & champagne reduction
Melt-in-your-mouth deer tartar
Perch with nettle sauce, asparagus and carrots
Hereford with tarragon bearnaise & carrot puree
Napue sorbet
Goat’s cheese cheddar with apple compote
Rhubarb dessert with meringue and parfait

All courses were super tasty and hubby even liked the dessert despite him not being a fan of rhubarb. The only course that seemed to have a bit too much going on on the plate was the beef main. One sauce would have been enough. The menu had also been nicely designed in that even though you were full after finishing you weren’t stuffed so the individual portions were not too big (well maybe except for the beef, but as I did not eat all of my meat it felt fine). As on the first visit, the dessert was served by the chef, which I always find to be a nice touch. I am convinced we will return to Eevert again sooner or later.