With its effortless elegance Sicapelle is the best restarant you'll find in Porvoo.
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Though my precious date got to have his way when it came to the dinner venue during our recent foodie escapade to Porvoo, I just couldn't not show him the more refined side of town, too. So, I secured us a lunch at Sicapelle, Meat District's owners' other restaurant.
These days it would be impossible to even try and imagine Porvoo without the power couple that is Riku and Johanna Stenros, who operate a bit of an empire that's - let's face it -actually behind all my favourite addresses in Porvoo.
Their magic touch and passion for creating unforgettable experiences have made Meat District, Sicapelle, my favourite hotel Pariisin Ville and this trip's accommodation Hotel Onni what they are: charmingly unique places full of personal touches that make it worthwhile to stay in Porvoo for a whole weekend.
Unlike some of the other restaurants in Porvoo, theirs are also open all year round, enabling culinary crusaders such as us to make the most of off season, too.
Located in the same building as tiny boutique hotel Onni (only six rooms!), Sicapelle has already won me over in the past. For the date it was his first time.
We made it just in time for lunch and wound up having the whole place to ourselves, which only served to make the experience even more intimate.
Sicapelle gets everything right. Stylish ambiance, which still manages to avoid slipping down the trecherous slope of awkward pomposity, locally sourced top quality ingredients and a great staff.
The chef Simona Milazzo's love of local produce and creative use of veggies is evident. The floor staff's enthusiasm about making you feel welcome along with their knowledgeability about wines is another source of great joy.
Everything lulls you into the kind of cosy bubble of bon vivant where you hear yourself going along with everything you're offered.
"Sure, why not!"
How about some bubbles to start with? "Why not!"
Pierre Paillard's Les Parcelles Bouzy Grad Cru (á €15) was a perfect way to start our weekend. The elegant,toasty and rich grower Champagne (60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay) immediately tuned us into a frequency of fabulousness that told the weekend was going to be a good one.
As I'd like to at least think we've learnt a little about the past excesses (no we haven't) and I had an inkling the dinner at Meat District was going to be a hearty one (little did I know just how hearty...!), instead of the 4-course lunch (€39) we settled on the 3-course one (€34) - seeing how with two eaters we'd still get to sample both of the mains.
To start with there was salmon confit with fennel, dill and horseradish mayo. Light, precise and oh, so elegant.
For main my fish-loving Gothenburger opted for white fish, potatos and dill.
Carrots with their intriguing caviar-like texture a gorgeous sauce still didn't steer the dish off its wonderfully summery course.
I went for the meatier option: Iberico pork cheeks and celeriac.
Pork cheeks weren't stewed quite as long as I like mine and they could have had a tad more salt in them, but the overall textures, glorious earthy nuttiness of the roasted celeriac and the divinely rich sauce made it a winner nonetheless.
The wine recommendations for the mains were spot on again - thanks to our fantastic waitress for those.
In addition to interesting artesan wines (emphasis on organic production) there's a wide selection of natural wines as the date's glorious white Burgundy (Domaine Fanny Sabre Bourgogne Blanc) showcased.
My red was a classic Burgundy blend (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot) and seduced with its complex richness.
The dessert consisted of coconut milk ice cream, lime, meringue and dried yoghurt. Sounds simple (like everything else here), but damn, how excellently executed.
The dessert wine pairing (that I was too high on happiness to shoot) was Muscat Grand Guilhem de Riversaltes -also natural and also (surprisingly) perfect match.
In that seeming simplicity lies the reason why Sicapelle is a foodie's #1 choice in Porvoo. They've paid attention to every detail of your dining experience, but not in a way that makes a big deal of any of it. Everything's just elegant in an effortless way that undoubtedly hides a whole lot of work and dedication.
The service runs smoothly and they have mastered the art of making you want more. Results become evident as the bill hits the table.
Our lunch with one coffee and tip came to a little over €170. With a little self-restraint you could get away with (a lot) less, but hey - we came here to be spoiled. And spoiled we were.
The date classifies himself as a culinary analphabet, but he, too, was well and truly impressed, which speaks in volumes about his true nature.
"With you it's an endless discovery of new great restaurants", he sighed, signalling that some serious development has been made in regards to his analphabetism.
So, how about that? Would you rather go for Meat District's relaxedness or Sicapelles elegance? Or would you, too, have them both?
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+358 (0) 40 1479 933
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