Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Dining and w(h)ining in Helsinki: Carelia take 2

Thank God it's Monday!... said no-one ever.

It's probably safe to assume Monday is hated by everyone on this planet. It's like... sleet in the middle of your long-awaited summer holiday. All you can eat- buffet where the only thing left to eat is boiled broccoli. The last candy stuck in the bottom of the bag which turns out to be moldy. But you only discover that after you've put it in your mouth and then when you spit it out, turns out it's not actually candy at all - it's a mummified spider. You get the point? Everybody hates Monday.

There's one thing in Helsinki though that makes Monday a fun day. That's the Monday special at Carelia. Launched a couple of months back, it is a three-course dinner that changes weekly and is served on Mondays for €27. Value for money? Greatly so. 

Take yesterday for instance. I stared at the sink, full of dishes. Then at the fridge which couldn't have been emptier. A heavy sigh ensued. Sure, I suppose I could have gone to the shop... but didn't. We went to Carelia instead - it was Monday after all. And the daily special menu had octopus terrine on it!

You know what, this must be the first time any restaurant has made it onto the blog twice! The previous post (along with a lot more photos of the milieu) is right over here. For more Helsinki restaurant reviews, just click here!

Carelia is one of my long.standing favourites. It's so close we can practically see it from home, food is great, customer service too and the wines they have... mmmmm.

The Boy Next Door had the Monday Menu and I went for à la carte. So, to start with: octopus terrine served with olives and stewed fennel. The brightness and citrusy notes of Scharsch Cremant d'Alsace 2012 (€8,50) worked great with the dish. 

I opted for rillette (with summer truffles!), served on a brioche and with lightly pickled mushrooms (€15). And some Vilmart & Cie Grande Réserve (€14). You know, because the toastiness  of the Champagne complimented the dish so well. And you know, because it was Monday. 

The main dish on the Monday menu was supposed to be spring chicken, but they'd ran out. Instead the date was served pork cheeks cooked for 2 days and served with spring cabbage and wild asparagus. Can't say I complained - I'd been eyeing the dish ever since we walked in. No points for plating but high points for taste.

For wine The Boy Next Door chose his favourite: Ansgar Clütterah Riesling Trittenheimer Apotheke Kabinett (€13) which I found a tad sweet.

My main course was another dish with absolutely no airs or graces. I could not believe The Boy Next Door had never had Carelia's Entrecôte (€29) so of course I had to do something about that. My, oh my. Every bit was good as I remembered. It smells of holiday!

The recommended wine pairing for this was G.D. Vajra's Barbera d'Albaa (€13), which was a perfect match.

For dessert we shared lusciously orangey ricotta sorbet. So damn good. And fresh, too - not at all heavy as I had feared!

For dessert wine I was recommended Grand Guilhem Muscat de Riversaltesin  (€8). And so I had some. Bewilderingly floral with intense peachiness. Yummy!

Monday. Fun Day.




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