MEKK, a new restaurant offering modern Estonian dishes, on Suur-Karja street in the Old Town of Tallinn has been ranked one of the best 50 restaurants of Estonia. The building is sleek and modern in design, and in alignment with its architecture, the dishes are a blend of modern elegance and sophistication.
Their goal is to bring the collective culture of their neighbors together in a cuisine that is distinctly “modern” Estonian or as locals call it: Moodne Eesti KöögiKunst.
Rene Uusmees, the chef of the restaurant was sadly not there when I dined there for the first time in mid-April, as I was keen to applaud him for his efforts to bring food in from Estonian ecological farms, trying to keep things as local as possible. Each meal, whether its lunch or dinner, comes with homemade bread served with genuine butter decked with salt flakes. The influence of beets and cheese are prevalent, obviously influenced by its neighboring Russia. They also serve a decent Elk Soup.
Appetizers include salted whitefish tartar with tomato confit, baked goose liver and herring roe, a Spinach cream soup with cold smoked salmon and quail egg, Herring tartar with chives, raw quail egg, roasted potatoes, pork chips, sour cream sauce and roasted rye bread, a cold smoked salmon with roasted potato salad, rye bread croutons, fresh horseradish and root artichoke cream, a goat cheese cream with marinated beetroot, roasted hazelnuts, apple and sparkling wine sauce, cold smoked quail fillet and caramelized quail leg with goose liver, grilled asparagus and rhubarb compote, baked pork belly with garlic flakes, rye bread croutons, spring onions and garlic cream and a boeuf a la tartar.
You can clearly see both the Scandinavian influence as well as the Russian one.
We started with a combo plate which included marinated herring, home smoked salmon, a potato cake with alfalfa sprouts, a spiced breck salad with egg and herring with mustard. We paired our appetizer and main course three hour luncheon with an Alsacian white Vina Alarde 2007 and a Spanish red from the same year. YUM!!!
Main courses are equally scrumptious and diverse in choice, from baked beef medallion with horseradish, raw egg, pork crunches and smoked bacon baked potatoes and braised pork belly with spicy lentils, spring onions, sugar peas and bean salad to roasted venison with sauteed hazelnuts, braised carrots, celery cream and rosemary sauce and a braised lamb sauteed with onions in garlic broth and parsnip puree. Entrees range from 16,00€ to 25,00€.
Desserts included a rhubarb compote with vanilla ice-cream and mint syrup marinated strawberries, gooseberry sorbet with berry salad, crispy oat flake basket and Sabayon-sauce, chocolate cheesecake with strawberry salad and vanilla ice-cream, a chocolate pudding with hazelnut Sabayon-sauce, milk and honey ice-cream or an assortment of Estonian cheese with gooseberry, onion and cloudberry jam.