That Little Bit Extra – Restaurant Trühvel, Tallinn, Estonia

In the heart of Telliskivi Creative City, a little ways from Tallinn’s Old Town, there’s a restaurant that lures you by their attention to detail. With impeccable service and food to salivate for, the whole package is enough to take you that extra mile.

Cold, acidic sorbet lines the palate up for the mains.
Cold, acidic sorbet lines the palate up for the mains

In true Mediterranean style, the menu consists of starters, soups, pasta, risotto, mains and of course desserts. But with a definite Estonian twist. Before anything else happens, we’re presented with an amuse bouche of citrus fruit hiding a creamy mousse, compliments of the kitchen, a perfect awakener with the Jacquart champagne at a mere €7,50/glass. My starter of Vitello Tonnato has the usual pink veal with smooth tuna sauce but it’s the roasted nuts and big capers that steps up to the plate. The crusty toast adds crunch to this delicious dish. My partner’s seafood risotto is just as it should be with flakes of Grana Padano cheese to top it off. But before we can go on, we of course need a palate cleanser of green apple sorbet doused in fresh Prosecco. This again is on the house.

Vitello Tonnato as it should be
Vitello Tonnato as it should be

The wine list is vast and you can find everything from Margaux to our less pricey Valdivieso Cabernet Franc from Chile which vies for attention with my veal cheek and crispy sweetbreads resting nicely on sweet potatoes with a red wine sauce slightly spiked with cinnamon. It could do with a bit more acidity and turns out slightly bland for my taste but then it would be hard to do better than my starter. The duck confit however, is a mouthful of perfection and couldn’t disappoint even the fussiest of gourmands.

Veal cheek with sweetbreads
Veal cheek with sweetbreads

We’re too eloquently satisfied to order dessert but they bring us home made truffle chocolates anyway and the bill puts a smile on your face.

Ambience: Colourful, clean style

Food: Italian with Estonian inspiration

Prices: Starters around €8,50, mains approx. €16

Service: Attentive, warm

Wines: Excellent, wide selection including champagne by the glass

My rating: 8+/10

Link:

Restaurant Trühvel

FARM – Serious Farmhouse Style

Tones of earthy beige, scenes of stuffed warthogs feasting with foxes and beavers, chandeliers that add a touch of class and overstuffed shelves with classic farmhouse staples is what greets you when you enter this restaurant in Tallinn’s Old Town. It’s big, just like a farmhouse kitchen, and there’s an open range where the chefs cook and cavort but all of this is so stylish and so well done creating that cosy, warm feeling of belonging.

Feast with wild abandon - taxidermy at Farm Restaurant
Feast with wild abandon – taxidermy at Farm Restaurant

Attention to detail is evident. Menus look handwritten and are tied together with string. The rabbit liver paté I order comes in a small jam jar and is scooped out with a spoon on to the crisp toast. The combination of creamy, nutty, elegant paste is complemented by chokeberry onion marmalade with a hint of sweetness, a hint of sour. The texture of this dish is balanced and the flavours are just remarkable. The Paul Mas Chardonnay from Languedoc works but it’s the Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir that really does the trick with this dish with its light, juiciness and overtones of pepper.

Your typical farmhouse shelf adds to the ambience
Your typical farmhouse shelf adds to the ambience

The waiter is attentive, shows sincere concerns on whether you like this and asks his colleague if he forgets the name of a certain ingredient. They’ve obviously been trained well, not too much, not too little.

Rabbit liver paté in a jar
Rabbit liver paté in a jar

The red deer from Saaremaa is perfectly pink and rests on a bed of wild mushroom orsoto, a type of risotto with kernels slightly larger reminiscent of bulgur. I take a bite of gooseberry, bitter and sour and not at all to my liking. But then I mix it with a bit of the creamy orsoto and top it with a slice of red deer and it’s exactly what you need for that lift of acidity that transforms bland to bloody good. Red deer is similar to what we commonly know as roe deer. The meat is lean and the flavour is mild compared to elk but its taste is unique in its refinement. The juniper wine sauce adds that vital tartness to complete the dish. My choice of wine Raimat Abadia Cabernet Sauvignon/Tempranillo 2013 is heavy enough to carry it through to a satisfying wholeness of flavours.

Succulent Red Deer from Saaremaa Island, Estonia
Succulent Red Deer from Saaremaa Island, Estonia

The wine list, by the glass anyway, is disappointing. If you offer me a glass of Zonin Prosecco one more time instead of a decent champagne or cava as an aperitif, you might find yourself with one less customer. Why, when small bottles of champagne are readily available?

The exclusive use of local ingredients is really pleasing and it shows in the freshness of the flavours. The price is so worthy of a mention too. The entire meal, and I forgot to mention the homemade bread with home made butter, including a gin and tonic for starters, cost €44.

Ambience: Light, cosy, stylish

Food: Local Estonian ingredients, game, wholesome

Prices: Dead reasonable for top quality

Service: Attentive, warm

Wines: Disappointing selection by the glass

Drinks: Non-alcoholic homemade lemonade

My rating: 8/10

Links:

Farm Restaurant