Sunday, July 24, 2011

Sergio's, Turku

Turku and its Aura river scene, a very nice place to enjoy a summer evening dinner. And what could be better than one of the so called best local I'm not talking about Hesburger but about typical Finnish food: Italian restaurant Sergio's.

Well Sergio's is an Italian restaurant, run by a true Italian team who claim to import themselves most of their ingredient from Italy in order to provide the best tasting experience (ok Finland do not produce as many delicatessen food than Italy but for sure some vegees can compete with italian ones on the taste line).

Anyway the restaurant itself is located on the Aura riverside in a lovely old wooden house build in the 18th century, and which miraculously survived from the Turku's great fire. The interior of the restaurant is divided in 3 main rooms plus a terrace, allowing quite an important turnover of customers. The decoration is a mixed of Italian and Finnish style, the white and blue tiles on the wall are very romantic. Then perhaps - maybe a bit too much - the cheeky playlist (Ennio Morricone, Laura Pausini and other Italians music fame) might make you smile after a while.

Sergio the ruler of the place is very active, being sometimes at the service, sometimes behind the bar, sometimes in kitchen to help his Italian cook to put the final touch on dishes, and he also takes care of the reservation, pushing a bit table if needed and making sure to not put customers in hurry if they feel staying long in his busy restaurant.

So what about the food?

Well the menu looked quite good, and the wine list (only Italian wines mostly not found in any Alko store) was also interesting. Prices of the dishes (average of 15-25€ per dishes) was leading to think that high quality food will be there as well.

Our choice was:
Pour Mademoiselle:

_Gratined scallops, frutti di mare and radicchio
_Linguine with frutti di mare, sundried tomato oilo and fresh chili
Pour Monsieur:
Menu di Fissi:
_Gratined scallops, frutti di mare and radicchio
_Glaced sea bass fillet served with vegetables and pecorino cheese-balsamico focaccia
_3 balls italian ice cream

And for the wine we went for white (of course?) with a glass of wine from Puglia (as the choices for wine from the glass is very limited and that no 37,5cl bottle is proposed). The funny thing about the wine was that the (Finnish) waitress only ask to Monsieur and even dare to say straight something like "The 16cl glass right?" as if never any customer ordered the 12cl glass and that this option would be removed in the next prints of the menus.

Anyway, before starting our nice romantic dinner, we ordered aperitif: Capri and Spritz cocktails which were served as usual in italian restaurant with a bit of bread and olive oil. Capri was refreshing but Spritz tasted a bit cheap, but our main disappointment with the aperitif was to see our glass of wine coming at the same time that the aperitif bread and olive oil...No need to tell you that our glass of white became a slightly warm by the time our food came.

Starters arrived at the good time, served not anymore by our waitress but directly by one of the Italian cook from the kitchen. Very tasty scallops nothing to say about it (except maybe that our conscience felt a bit bad to eat again this kind of far distance imported food).

Then our main courses came, perhaps a small bit too early, but the great thing to say was that contrary than in many Finnish restaurant, we were served at the same time. Of course something had to go wrong and 5 seconds after one waiter gave us our plates another came to apologize that they gave to Mademoiselle the wrong plate with only half portion!

What about the taste? Well the fish was very well cooked and the veggies with it very tasty and still crunchy, the cooking time was just perfect. And the pasta? This was maybe the winner dish of the evening. Home made fresh pasta with a very tasty and colourful sauce. All the ingredient listed in the menu you could taste them, none of them were hidden by another, very good combination.

After these main course, Monsieur was still waiting for his ice cream. Here the service was a bit disappointing. Nowhere in the menu was said than there would be no choice in the flavor of the ice cream, so when about 1 minute after my plate was taken away I saw a small bowl of ice cream coming to me, I was a bit surprised, both by the non choice possibility and also by the speed of the service. Maybe I would have appreciate having 5 more minute to digest my fish. Anyway the home made ice cream were very good (wild guess is that it was strawberry, vanilla and nocciola).

Before we hit the road and explore Turku's Saturday's night fever, Mademoiselle ordered another italian speciality, an espresso. Disappointment here again with a burned coffee taste, maybe coming from a miss use of the massive italian coffee machine.

As a verdict, yes Sergio's is a very good italian restaurant, but perhaps better for lunch than for diner as its reputation is a bit overrated (or its success make its situation too comfortable when some effort could be brought here and there). Even more with a bill going slightly over the 100€, Sergio's could maybe decide to take a bit less customer and focus a bit more on some quality details. But perhaps it is Italian culture which makes it difficult to refuse couple of more customers even if enough is enough.

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