Ravintola Kielo in Joensuu, Finland


Today I introduce a new kind of post, a restaurant review. Since this restaurant is in Finland, it will be in English.

Ravintola Kielo is a very nice restaurant of Joensuu presenting a Karelian-style cuisine. It is fairly priced considering the quality of the products and of the cooking, though a bit high according to Finnish standards. The 3 course menu is at 43,5€, starters around 10€, main meal around 25€ and desert around 8€.  Wine list is short but relevant, ranging from 30 to 60€, with the possibility to order by the glass.

The overall impression is very good. It is a high quality restaurant, highly recommendable. The atmosphere is pleasant and relaxed: the dining room is classy and decorated with taste, but nothing too refined. The idea to create separated table space by using curtains is indeed a good one. This brings more privacy or intimacy, depending on the reasons for your visit.

Service is fast. One can argue that some defects are still visible, such as useless moves or a little awkwardness in accomplishing some tasks (like replacing the dead candle). It is not 3* service but again, this is a job well done and obviously careful enough. Wine service is fine too. Glassware is of very good quality (Spiegelau), service temperature are well managed (which is rare).

Food is very good and the products used of upper quality. At that point, I have to notice that the Chef tends to put too many different things on the plate (this is easily fixed by not eating what does not fit – like the sweet pepper sauce in the lamb dish). However the flavors are delightful and especially the cooking time of the meat is perfect, which means: as it should be to let the flavors express themselves and yet enough for Finnish customers to enjoy the food ;). The menu is interesting and lacks nothing. Desserts must be mentioned specifically well thought: tasty and balanced. As a conclusion I would say that the style of the cuisine is classical and delicate rather than innovative. It is the level of cooking of a 1* Michelin for those who know the guide standards.

Winelist is, as I said, interesting. There are however mistakes on it like the Martin Codax Rioja listed as Rias Baixas (which is strange since only white Albariño is grown over there) and many of the wines offered do not really suit the kind of food offered. True, they are wines that a Finnish customer will enjoy, like a sweet Riesling, but they do not match nicely the delicate style of the Chef. They would require meals stronger in taste. For example, I do not feel that a Pinot Gris Reserve from Alsace a New World off-dry Riesling or an Amarone della Valpolicella are the best choice. Still these are fairly priced wines and good quality ones. Albrecht, Martin Codax or Pieropan are clearly good producer in their respective regions.

CONCULSION

My appreciation: Highly recommanded

  • Atmosphere: Formal –, relaxed, quiet
  • Cuisine: Classical, local inspiration, standard presentation
  • Wine: Good and interesting choice, less than 20 wines, range: 30-60€, partially suits the meals
  • Service: Standard +, good overall impression, clumsy in some details, wine service is correct (good temperature management but low skills in opening timing and glass filling)

Extra informations:

  • Internet site: HERE
  • Reservation would be advised Friday evening and Saturday
  • Last visit in January 2011

A very good lamb dish which illustrate the "too much thing going on". The sweet pepper sauce is a mistake. I would think about presenting the dish in a bigger plate to separate clearly the two different cooking styles of the lamb. Lamb as well as wine sauce were extremely good.

NB: This being the first restaurant review, you can expect some evolution around it.

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