Tallinn is nothing if not a flashback to a distant, almost fairytale past. This, combined with Estonia’s modernity and forward thinking makes for some intriguing cuisine, both traditional with a twist, and modern. Two restaurants in Tallinn stay true to their local roots with delicious seasonal and local ingredients.
Farm – Estonian Modern Cuisine
The restaurant Farm is respectable, but it has a sense of humor, as well. In the window is a strange scene: a group of taxidermied woodland creatures gathered around a table, playing cards. Go inside for a better look, and to enjoy a meal.
The main hall is reminiscent of a country manor, with small candle chandeliers, a stag head, and guns adorning the walls by a fireplace in a corner. There’s a quiet, humble elegance as the indoors and outdoors meet—sandy, marsh green walls; linen; and dark exposed wood. Orchestral music plays, accented with frequent birdsong. Small taxidermied animals are tucked away in corners and on shelves, although these ones are in far more natural poses than the ones at the card table.
All of the dishes will take you back to the farm, or the forest. The beef heart is pure muscle with a lightly charred note. It’s cut into thick, sculptural ribbons, which sit on a cushion of potato puree. The potatoes are richly nutty and savory. There’s also a peak of sharp tarragon-infused butter. Squares of tender beet, green beans, and seasoned currant sauce color the corners of the plate. The black bread comes with fresh butter and a small pile of flaky salt crystals to sprinkle on top. Finish it all off with forest berry-peppermint tea.
For a fuller menu description of seasonal specialties, click here.
Farm is located at Müürivahe 27 /Viru 11, 10140 Tallinn and is open from 14:00-23:00 SUN-THURS and noon-00:00 FRI-SAT.
For a bit more of an eclectic local flavor, head past the colorful lights of the glitzy Club Hollywood, toward the brass
chimney sweep statue. MEKK’s décor is dim and sophisticated, but the numerous wooden beams in the ceiling add a traditional touch.
I had the smoked eel in jelly. Delicate swirls of eel flesh are suspended in the jelly, separated by cubes of salted cucumber. These morsels almost resemble pieces of stained glass. The fishy flavor is perfectly briny and transports
the tongue to the creature’s origins; I found myself meditating on seashores as I ate. This centerpiece is surrounded by apple cider foam on the textured blue bowl. It’s paired with lentils, sprouts, and pine nuts—my mental image expanded to include an evergreen forest running alongside the coastline. Underneath rests a puree of fennel potatoes. Usually a sweet flavor, the fennel gains a new dimension: deep, savory, and robust. Pair this with a glass of kali, Estonian kvass. This traditional drink is beer-like with a light sweetness and no bitter aftertaste. If you have any room left (or even if you don’t), try out MEKK’s assorted handmade sweets for dessert. Bite-sized sugar cookies, nut-packed dark and white chocolate, and rich truffles are accented with fresh berries, topped with a golden tangle of spun sugar.
MEKK is located at Suur-Karja 17, 10140 Tallinn, and is open from noon-23:00 on all days but Saturday when it is open from 17:00-23:00 and is closed on Sundays. For a complete menu, click here.