Monday, 15 April 2013

Restaurant Review - Kakslauttanen Igloo Village, Lapland

I spent a fantastic few days in Lapland with my boyfriend last month; we didn't get to see the northern lights but we went husky sledging and snowmobiling and had a great time. The food, however, left a lot to be desired.... so much so in fact that I felt my restaurant reviews had to go international so I could share it all with you!

We stayed at the Kakslauttanen Igloo Village about half an hour from Ivalo airport in Finland. Our accommodation was great - a cosy log cabin, with plenty of room between each one so you could almost imagine you were the only ones there. We also spent one night in a glass igloo which was really cool.

There was a main building which housed the reception, shop and restaurant and the package we booked on was half board. My boyfriend is very picky so I'd checked in advance what the options were; I was told that there was only one choice each day for the set menu but that we could order from the a la carte menu as well at a discount. I wasn't convinced there was a great deal he would like on the set menu but that seemed the best we were going to get!

Aside from the accommodation and activities, which I highly recommend, we weren't impressed by the restaurant, in terms of the quality of the food or the service.

On our first night I saw an A4 laminated page on our table advertising a special starter - arctic crab, for 17 euros. I ordered it and really enjoyed it - huge pieces of crab on a bed of lettuce, though the crab was quite cold and made me wonder if it had been frozen then defrosted (nothing wrong with that but since we were within the arctic circle I had hoped it might have been caught fresh). But then when the bill came, I was charged 18 euros rather than 17 for it, then spotted it was on the main a la carte menu as a normal starter anyway, and the A4 laminated sign advertising it as a special starter remained on our table every night of our 5-day holiday!

My main course that day was white fish and boiled potatoes in a dill sauce, which was simple but really tasty - I don't have a photo but I did enjoy it.

The next night I decided to have the set menu; the starter was described as prawn cocktail and this is what I got:

About a dozen small prawns, some iceberg lettuce and sweetcorn, with a little cocktail sauce on the top. Quite disappointing really.

Then the main course for the set menu was sweet and sour chicken. The chicken was a boneless thigh and the sauce tasted a lot like a cheap ready meal. And do you see the vegetable selection on the side - a mixture of chopped peppers, courgette, carrot and I forget what else - we had exactly the same vegetable accompaniment with every meal.

The dessert with the set menu that night was nice - a waffle with berries and cream and some sort of creamy sauce (or a thin custard perhaps) over the top.

My boyfriend didn't like the main course offered with the set menu on any day while we were there, and as he didn't like much from the a la carte menu either he had steak twice. Funnily enough these two meals were supposed to be exactly the same:

Steak and chips #1

Steak and chips #2
He asked for the steak without any vegetables both times; the first evening he got the same vegetable selection that I did but the second time they got it right. He also asked for no sauce on the second evening, after discovering the first time the steak came with a sort of hunter's/ meaty sauce poured over it. On the second evening, they served the sauce and some ketchup (which he wasn't offered the first time) in two small pots, which I thought was a nice touch. He also said the steak was far better cooked the second time; it was strange how ordering exactly the same thing twice gave two fairly different meals!

One night I decided not to eat the main course on the set menu - which our waiter simply said was "pork" - as I wanted to try reindeer meat. I ordered from the a la carte menu and had pieces of reindeer meat in some kind of meaty sauce, and potatoes in a blue cheese sauce to accompany it. And can you see the standard vegetable selection as well? I did wonder if they just took it out of a packet in the end as it was exactly the same every time. In my opinion the reindeer tasted a lot like beef and it wasn't bad though I wouldn't necessarily bother ordering it again.

Dessert that night was chocolate ice cream with a squirt of cream and sprinkles. Which tasted OK but was nothing special.

The service was not particularly good, which was strange as it wasn't a big restaurant - they seemed to have about four waiters for no more than 20-25 tables, but we regularly had to wait half an hour for a drink, and sometimes much longer for our food to arrive. They didn't seem to remember how we had ordered our food (e.g. without the vegetables) and we heard someone else say they had to send their steak back three times as they wanted it well done and it came rare then medium rare then medium. We overheard a Frenchman actually shouting at a hapless waiter one evening demanding to know why he had waited so long for his food. It was a shame because the place itself was so lovely, I felt they were let down a lot by the service and quality of the food.

Breakfast every day was a continental buffet - sliced bread that always seemed a bit stale (maybe it was meant to be that way), nice little bread rolls, a selection of hams and cheeses, plus smoked salmon, pickled herring and a few other things that looked similar but I didn't fancy trying. Though by the fifth day it was a shame there wasn't anything different or any sort of hot option (or even any pastries) as we did get a bit bored of eating the same thing. We had hot chocolate with breakfast which was nice, and a glass of the most watery orange juice I have ever tasted.

We didn't have lunch there, but there was only one option at lunchtimes - soup of the day, with bread, which at 11 euros seemed pretty pricey. We had lunch included on our excursions (which funnily enough was salmon soup both times) and one day went into the next village and had a pizza, which after my boyfriend's steady diet of slightly disappointing steak, was like manna from heaven!

But then as I said at the beginning, we didn't come here for the food....


  1. Oh how disappointing! I have always wanted to visit the ice hotel and I love the idea of sleeping in an igloo. But the food you got was such a let down! What a shame. Believe me, I have had AMAZING reindeer before and you should have been blown away. Your desserts look as though my 4 year old could have made them. And as that for that oh so sad looking prawn cocktail... Shame on them ....

  2. Wow that's so exciting you went to Lapland! The snow sledding looked so fun! That's a shame about the food though!

  3. the food looks quite interesting!


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