I’m sure all 20-something of you who read this blog have been waiting for me to finally write about the third restaurant we visited during Tallinn Restaurant Week (over two months ago…), Neh. The restaurant’s focus is on the cuisine of the islands in the Baltic Sea, like Gotland, the Åland Islands, and Estonia’s own Saaremaa and Hiiumaa. Also, their head chef is kinda hot.
This was the two-course lunch menu, taken from the Restaurant Week site (although edited by me because some of their translations sucked):
traditional Saaremaa dish, pan-baked bread, made with Koplimäe farm barley and smoked sauna ham served with lingonberry-apple chutney and caraway tea
Neh´s wild boar sausage
lightly smoked artisanal sausages, caramelized onion & vegetable mash
I loved the first course, pictured above. The pan bread was chewy from the barley and contained chunks of the most delicious smoked ham. The rustic bread was nicely complimented by the tart fresh lingonberries and and the creamy sauce on top (unfortunately I can’t remember what was in it, but I think maybe fresh dill?). My only negative comment is that the lingonberry puree flourish on the plate looks like a blood spatter from a crime scene.
The sausage was fresh, rich and perfectly meaty, no unappealing chewy bits. The accompanying roasted beets, vegetable mash, and mustard added variety but the star was definitely the sausage. It was very good-quality but also rich and fatty, so this portion was honestly a bit much for me.
The restaurant itself is extremely cozy and charming. It’s in an old renovated house near the harbor, but the decor is simple and modern. Where we were sitting on the first floor there was a total of only 4-5 tables in the room, so it almost felt like we were guests at somebody’s house. I also love their focus on “local” cuisine and ingredients (not just focused on Estonia, but on the surrounding Baltic Sea area as well). The “eat locally” movement hasn’t become a trend here in Estonia yet, but I’m glad at least one restaurant is drawing attention to it. And in case you’re wondering, I was too shy to ask whether the head chef was in that day (typical!) so that means I just may have to go back another time :).