Saturday, 7 November 2015

Food and Fun Turku 2015: Karu Izakaya and Pinella

As tends to be the case during our getaways in Turku, going hungry is one thing we didn't have to worry about. After the glorious dinner at Kaskis, I was slightly worried if our next stop, Karu Izakaya might have too big boots to fill. Especially after learning that The Mane Magician, my date for the evening, didn't even eat sushi (say whaaaaat? Who doesn't eat sushi?!)

While the restaurant might all about minimalism, the service certainly wasn't. We were warmly welcomed and thoroughly looked after all evening.

Their special Food and Fun guest star was Eyþór Mar Halldórsson (nope, not even going to attempt spelling that one...!) from Sushi Samba in Reykjavik, which, according to their website offers einstaka blöndu af japanskri og suður-amerí­skri matargerð. 

Just how drunk would one have to be in order to come up with a language like that?

All the restaurants participating in Food and Fun offered a 4-course meal, which, at €48 was reasonably priced to say the least.

First we were served some snacks. Pig ears. Shisimi-seasoned pig ears with yuzukosho mayonnaise, to be precise.

Liked them. Liked them a lot. Though I would have needed Google translator to keep track of all things I consumed that night...

The starter (scallop ceviche with tabasco and lemon dressing, crisp garlic and spring onions) was beautifully presented, but the dressing, which we were instructed to neck, was so fierce it took a while for our sense of taste to return.

The food was far from typically Japanese - inspiration had been drawn from all over the planet. Next dish was reindeer tataki (divine while at that!), smoked sour cream, Amazu Ponzu, pickled red onion and crunchy Jerusalem artichokes)

Then it was off to a beef slider in a black bun, coriander mayo, shisho and Japanese onion rings.

A great dish, this one too. The onion had dreamily light and crunchy tempura coating, though I did not expect to run into Provolone cheese in a Japanese restaurant...

I also had the wine package. Don't seem to have made any notes, so you'll have to make do with the verdict that they worked as well.

And then it was time for some sushi.

And not just any old sushi...

Tuna nigiri with wasabi ponzu and sekbai popcorn, beef nigiri wth quail's eggs and truffle pork and Rock and Maki roll with langustine, duck liver (!!!), Sriracha mayonnaise and avocado.

"In case this is what sushi tastes like, I've never had sushi before", the date sighed.

I just sighed. And giggled. Incredible. Simply incredible.

The dessert featured more parts that a Swiss clock: yuzu and rosemary chocolate cake, skyr (well  of course...), yuzu and hazelnut. And marshmallows. For me this was a tad too sickly sweet and would have benefited from something salty.

Compared to the streamlined menu of Kaskis the night before, this went to other extreme. Each dish featured various components put together with the perseverance of an engineer, surprising combinations and tastes one would not have expected.

Great attention had clearly been paid to details, which there were a lot of. Some might say there was too much going on the plate, but I'd say they were wrong. What a feast!

The nightfall wrapped Turku and us in a blissful glow. Once more I was surprised by the compact size of this town that is swiftly becoming a firm favourite of mine. 

Everywhere you looked, there were all these charming little restaurants. I  wanted to stop by at each and every single one of them. People laughing, clearly enjoying themselves. Something about the relaxed and cozy atmosphere reminded me of Stockholm. Could it be that people in Turku simply are that much better at enjoying life?

We headed off to Pinella, a picturesque old restaurant located in the most idyllic park lit by millions of lights. It was like a scene out of Elsa Beskow's children's book. 

Pinella's cocktail bar was in good hands: they won the prize for the best cocktail of the festival.

Cocktails here were fresh and herby with lost of bright citrusy notes. The winner cocktail consisted of 1 cl cloudberry liqueur, 3 cl cucumber and dill  gin, 2 cl fresh lime juice and  2 cl simple syrup. 

Tasted every bit as glorius as it sounds, too. 

Ahhhhhh-mazing weeekend. Can't wait for next year's festival! 

Turku, I do  you.




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