2 December 2014
Yes, there’s a few missing days between reviews but that’ll be explained after the major reviews are done next week… I had arrived “home” in Tallinn the day earlier and I had a rather busy but productive Tuesday — including running some much-delayed errands, visiting the grave of a martyr of Communist violence, and making some deliveries for people for stuff brought from across the Atlantic.
Finally time for dinner, checking out the much-raved-about Cru in the Old Town. Helmed by the celebrated Dmitri Haljukov, who is leading Estonia’s team to the Bocuse d’Or in 2015, I was really looking forward to seeing what he can do.
My dear friend, who was less than a week from her due date, joined me — so the evening was much more restrained and relaxed. We had a wonderful time catching up at the small hotel restaurant as I sipped at some wine before we both ordered. A quick amuse of “cream of sauerkraut” appeared.
Not what you think, Estonian sauerkraut is very lightly flavoured compared to its German cousin, so this is more of a “cream of cabbage” to be honest. Quite nice. Following this was my starter, the so-called “Nordic Sea” — a seafood salad.
I do apologise, the Samsung Galaxy S-5 has a great feature called “picture stabilisation” that does better shots in less light, but it has a fundamental problem with focus in that mode…especially when it was confused by that big ol’ slice of radish…
Nevertheless the salad was not bad, though the main ingredient, the king crab, seemed a bit wanting. The salad had a bit of shrimp which was not bad, but nothing special. The star was actually the plethora of seaweed, which was wonderful.
So far it’s been “meh” (sorry I usually hate that word but so apropos this time) but it’s not spectacular. I was very much anticipating the main course, the “Brave Heart” — grilled lamb heart.
I love offal, especially the harder-to-get lamb stuff, so always take the opportunity to have it. This is one of chef’s signature dishes, with the well-cooked meat accented by onions and ramson. The heart was tender and tasty, would fool most diners into thinking it was another cut of meat. Done very well, the flavours were very complementary.
Me and my friend chatted into the evening until her ride, and we did partake in dessert, but for me was a little after-the-fact (I guess the fact I earlier forgot I had dessert says something?). I would say this meal was good, though it didn’t blow me away. The lamb heart was done very well, and I am very happy to see it on the menu. But perhaps I had too much expectations because of all I’ve heard about this chef, especially comparing it to the unmached Ö — where I will be returning for dinner the next evening.
Lots of potential, but for now it’s just a step above the solid level for finicky me. I’d be happy to see this in Tallinn 5-7 years ago, but the local game has changed (see some of the upcoming reviews…). Tallinn’s best is now Nordic-localvoric or Mediterranean-joie-de-vivre, not creative-formulaic Parisian…