Friday, 29 May 2015

Tour of Food and Fun 2015 restaurants in Turku

The readers of this blog already know Turku has become one of my favourite foodie destinations in Finland. Click here to read all about our last culinary road trip! And in case you've never been - there's no better time than this autumn. Beginning of October marks second Food and Fun festival in Turku and I'm not going to miss that.

Beginning at September 30th 12 chefs from all over the world take over the kitchens of the 12 restaurants taking part in the hoolabaloo. I took part in a press tour to get to know some of the restaurants. 

We kicked off our tour at Kaskis, which has become a bit of a legend. Table at them is probably as difficult to come by as world peace, but well worth the wait, I keep hearing. They only seat 36 people so in case you intend to join them (and me! AND ME!) for some foodie fun this autumn, you'd better secure your reservations now. 

In case you can't wait that long, here's a tip: from Tuesday July 21st they'll be having a walk in week meaning no reservations are accepted and you can just... well, walk in. 

The first dish of the day was this Kaskis classic. Every bit was good as it was pretty. 

Our ingredients look and taste the way they're supposed to, chef Erik Mansikka commented. "None of those mousse balls over here!"

In one shape or another this dish has been on Kaskis' menu since the start. This time it featured whitefish, pickled veg, mini potato pancakes and a herby buttermilk dressing. 

For lunch, we went to Ludu. While I liked the ambiance, the lunch menu left me a bit cold. (Though, maybe lunches always do that? Unless you're in Juuri, that is...!)

I'd give their á la carte a go any day though and this is one of the restaurants we're planning on including in our Food and Fun- weekend (yes. Restaurants as in plural...)

To start with we were served a very nice gazpacho. Very balanced and I loved the use of yoghurt and that seedy crumble.

Next stop was Restaurant Boat Cindy. I admit straight away: I am a little skeptical about restaurant boats. In Finland, anyway, where all too often the food is watery , luke-warm fish soup and a couple of dried out slices of dark bread.

Well, not here. The decor, on the other hand was what it always is. 

Restaurants in Turku are famous for their prolific use of local produce, though Cindy takes it all to a hole new level. Practically everything on their menu is locally produced and their Journey of Taste- menus are celebration of all the local produce they feature - from Finnish prosciutto to organic duck; from pollen to hemp seed ice cream (!)

Next restaurant also proved my narrow-minded ideas oh, so wrong.

Chinese restaurant in Finland are notoriously bad (with the exception of Peninsula 1886!), but Italians are not famous for quality either. Sergio's has been proving people like me wrong for 12 years now. The competition in the restaurant business has gotten tougher and tougher, but Sergio's is in a league of its own. While Osteria Ovo (our review over here!) serves nice, rustic home-cooked fare, Sergio's is clearly about finer dining. And won't apologize it. No red and white checkered table cloths, no reed-covered Chianti-bottles for candle sticks, no plastic grapevines anywhere.

Instead they have a location in one of the beautiful, historic riverside houses and a gorgeous view overlooking the Aurajoki river. 

And the food? Probably the biggest surprise all day. I mean, just look at those. I bet you didn't expect to see that in an Italian restaurant either?

One of the three chefs is crazy about Finnish ingredients, by the way and continuously incorporates them into his food. This breathtakingly beautiful dish for instance is an ode to Finnish whitefish.

And this beauty features marinated pike perch and basil sorbet.

Of course Sergio's draws from Italian culinary traditions (age-old and varied, the restaurant reminds), but in a very contemporary way. Would you recognize this as Melanzane Parmigiana?

Or this as tiramisu? Oh yes. This was definitely one of those days when I remember why I live what I get to do sooo, sooo much!

The presentation here is quite simply stunning. As is their hospitality. They also import their own wine (all 120 different varieties of it!) and have got almost all of the Italian wine regions covered. They also have some Italian beer, though mention of this makes one of the restauranteurs grimace theatrically. "Beer? That's against my religion!" After this he proudly proceeds to pour us another round of Prosecco. "Made in Lombardia! With love!"

Gotta love them.

Sointu is a restaurant I remember walking past the last time we were in Turku. The humble appearance did not warrant a second look, but weheey again. Our loss.  

They keep their menu short and change it every 2 weeks, based on what's available at the local market. The restaurant's been up and running for only a couple of years and this year is their first taking part in Food and fun. The atmosphere is a pared-down version of your grandmother's place but according to the chef the style of their cooking is modern Scandinavian. 

They do like to experiment with other directions too... our rather tropical pudding shows. Mascarpone and milk chocolate crème brûlèe with pineapple candy and banana ice cream. 

Great fun - great taste. 

We finished our day at Bar 4, which most certainly deserves a place on our list of Turku favourites. Click here for previous list of our favourite joints in the city!

Ooh, things are looking good. While we have Food and Fun reservations to sort out, we also have Taste of Helsinki and Taste of London to look forward to - all in the next month!

So, make sure to join us, here on the blog, on Facebook, on Instagram and on Twitter!




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