Apologies - this review I posted last week for some reason ended up on the Tampere Sevilla reviews when it should have been for the Helsinki Pasila branch.
We stayed at the Sokos hotel for one night and after a long walk back to our hotel (long journey with a 5 year old) from the nearby Linnanmäki theme park, we were really hungry. Given that there only seems to be a kebab shop nearby, which we didn't fancy at the time, we thought we'd try the restaurant located on the hotel's premises. I love Spanish food and we were looking forward to sampling some of the items listed on the menu displayed on the wall just by the lifts.
When we went in, we were unsure as to whether we should wait for a server to take us to our table, but after waiting for some minutes and nobody acknowledged us, we decided to find our own table. The restaurant was not too busy; about 5 or so tables were occupied. Five minutes after sitting down, the server (Suvi - server No. 67) came over with a food menu and asked what we wanted to drink. She didn't offer a menu for this, so for simplicity and speed, we ordered 2 beers and some juice for our son. When she left to obtain our drinks, we realised she only gave us a condensed menu with no offer of real tapas, only the a la carte options were listed (we overheard her telling a couple next to us that the other menu was not available). This was a disappointment as we were looking forward to sharing several plates of tapas, the epitome of Spanish cuisine.
Usually when you go to a traditional Spanish restaurant, you are given a bread basket, to mop up all the flavours, and when I ordered some patatas bravas for us to start with, they were unaccompanied. I could have asked, I know, but I didn't want to seem pushy; it just would have been nice to have a selection given, that's all. The patatas bravas, unfortunately were mediocre. They were new potatoes, cooked in their skins and served with a fairly non-descript tomato sauce. I'd have to say I can make far better myself, with more of a kick, too.
I was surprised at having to ask for a drinks menu/wine list - normally these are presented with the menus as servers are meant to encourage customers to spend more money by promoting all that they have on offer. I have to say that our server wasn't really interested in selling anything. She only gave one list of wines so we had to ask her separately anyway which wines were discounted with the S-Club bonus card. Wines are so overpriced in the restaurants in Finland so it was worth asking her about this.
Even though the restaurant wasn't busy, there were plenty of meals stacking up at the chef's hatch, to be served. At one point the chef came out to serve some dishes to others himself, as they were getting cold.
My husband ordered a paellla. The flavour was there in terms of saffron being present but the overall appearance and consistency wasn't what it should be. I am not sure which rice they used but it resembled more of a risotto swimming in broth. Will try and attach a photo to illustrate. I ordered the peppered chicken for mine and it was pleasant enough. Nothing special, but adequate. A couple sitting just across from us ordered what looked like Chicken Bocadillos and they looked good, and probably better value too.
Our son's dish was a bit disappointing, too. He ate the fries and the cucumber slices, but the chicken, which was a third of a chicken breast, presumably cut from someone else's cooked in a similar sauce to mine, wasn't to his liking and he is not a fussy eater. [On occasions in Finland, we have found some chicken and pork portions to be pumped full of water.]
I probably sound like one of these people who go around complaining at the slightest thing; I'm not. I give praise where needed and criticism constructively too. It's true what other reviewers have said - Sevilla pretends to be a Spanish restaurant, when it's not but it could be improved with the right tweaks. The prices need to be justified with the quality. Suggest the hotel remove the menu displays from their walls if not available as we browsed the menu prior to going out for the afternoon and had decided to go there purely as we wanted tapas type food. More ambience is necessary and most importantly a warm welcome from staff who are customer-focused, wanting to ensure that those who visit the restaurant want to return again and recommend to others.
The cost of the meal was €106 and it was fairly steep given that there were only 2.5 of us and also bearing in mind that Sevilla is not meant to be a 'fine-dining' establishment. We only ordered 1 starter, 2 adult mains courses, 1 child main course and an Eskimo ice-cream (on a stick). The wine was €24 and beer amounted to €11, so not sure where the other money went!
Such a shame we didn't enjoy our meal here as we liked our hotel room very much. I have had better experiences at their sister branch, Torero, so clearly Sevilla has their work cut out, to keep the company's reputation intact.
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