Kaks Kukka, where we shared four very good dishes: Slightly salted elk with mushrooms, smoked egg yolk, horseradish sauce and trout row; toasted quail with spring carrots, cabbage and carrot sauce; poached halibut with snap peas and béarnaise sauce and juniper crème brulee with gin and tonic gel, vodka-soaked berries and lemon merengue. The only letdown was an appetizer of king trumpet mushrooms with black garlic cream and goat cheese. Our wine, a bottle of Domaine Faiveley Mercurey Premier Cru certainly didn’t harm the meal.
Pegasus, where a great meal began with the best homemade bread of the trip (white bread with pumpkin seeds that almost had the color of rye due to the incorporation of Estonian beer). The meal got even better from here with lightly salted pike-perch tartare, shaved cucumber, chive mayonnaise, mustard seeds and trout roe; grilled Lappi cheese with tofu, celery root, pickled beets, pumpkin-thyme puree and buckthorn sauce topped with carrot chips; and the best yet, fillet of cod with pea and potato cake, cauliflower cream and a salad of cucumber and fennel. The wine was a colombard-sauvignon blanc.
Kaerajaan, a refined, modern Estonian restaurant located in Town Hall Square, in the midst of casual touristy restaurants. We had three dishes, each of which we enjoyed. We began with smoked elk carpaccio with arugula, parmesan and the refreshing addition of a few strawberries. This was followed by two equally good main courses: Mushroom-0stuffed quail with warm quinoa salad with arugula and tomatoes and mushroom cream sauce; and whitefish with cauliflower puree, parsnips and quinoa. The only thing that dampened the meal was a poor selection of a mediocre Oak-aged tempranillo.
MEKK, an okay, but less-than-impressive light meal that began with a disappointing smoked elk in gelee with asparagus cream and horseradish cream, accompanied by radish salad; and a better lightly marinated whitefish with bacon, spec, roasted Jerusalem artichoke, dried tomatoes and coriander-apple cider foam. The best part of the meal was a 2012 Hawkes Bay “The Plateau” pinot from Sileni Estates.
We stayed at the Hotel Palace Vabaduse Väljak. Location is close to old town making it very convenient for the things we wanted to see. It was modern and very clean and had an efficient front desk staff. Breakfast was included in the rate and had a large selection of food. The room was very comfortable and seemed to be a good value for the price we paid. Teakettle, robe and slippers were provided.