Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Dining and w(h)ining in Tallinn: Ribe

Work took me to Tallinn for a couple of hours. Owing to the very limited time there was no time for a larger-scale excursion, but just enough time for a meal. Usually my go-to-place for shorter trips where I only have time to dine at one restaurant is Kohvik Moon, located conveniently close to the harbour and equipped with charming atmosphere, great service and superb value for money. After carefully considering my options (Neh doesn't do lunch, Chedi's Asian vibe wasn't really what I was after right now, Salt is a bit of a trek away...) I decided to try something new and tick Ribe off my list.

Top 50 of Estonian restaurants was just published and sure enough Ribe is listed. This year's ranking #9, down 2 places from last year's #7.

The restaurant is airy and fresh...

... dotted with stylish details.

We especially loved the toilets (!) - just check out those taps!

We kicked the lunch off with this Champagne (€8 a glass) - a new one for all of us. Bright.

Already when making the reservation we checked if it was ok for only some of the party to have the 3-course Chef's menu. We were told this would be ok, yet something seems to have either gotten lost in translation or communication. The customer service was rather haughty anyway.

After negotiations we all settled for the menu (€35 for food, €57 with recommended wines).

Amuse-bouche was a fine tartar. The picture was less fine so I won't torture you with that. 

Instead you will get a picture of the bread. Which they make from scratch. And it is good. Especially that dark, sweet variety was a hit. 

My favourite of the butters was lemon-infused with black salt (!)

The starter was a feast for eyes as much as it was for stomach. Light, refreshing, beautiful dish featured scallop ceviche, cucumber, radish, watermelon, strawberry, avocado and chilli jam. The wine pairing was Prosecco (Conegliano-Valdobbiadene) and worked wonderfully especially with the acidity of the strawberries and richness of scallops. 

For mains the choices were Arctic char with saffron and shrimp risotto, bisque-jelly and spinach paste. Another beautiful dish. Risotto rocked, but the fish not so much.

Wine was a bit for thin for my liking (me and Chardonnay...) but worked with the food.

The meaty main (duck, fennel, apple purée and honey and ginger syrup)  was a triumph. Duck and fennel - my oh my. And cooked to pink perfection. Could have used more slat and pepper though.

Duck was served with Barolo, which was... well, what would you expect from Barolo? Lovely. And could have pulled off more peppery notes from the duck, too.

The special needs of a gluten-free diner were taken into consideration throughout the meal. For dessert she had a selection of ice creams that, apparently were "excellent". 

We had iris cake (toffee cake, salty caramel ice cream. toffee sauce and chocolate drops). The mutual understanding around the table was that the cake would have been even lovelier had it been cooked little less. Salty caramel ice cream had a lovely toastiness. And I totally forgot to ask what the dust on the plate was.  

The dessert failed to win any of us over. In its oaky, raisiny dryness it was too sherry-like. 

Ribe is definitely worth a recommendation and though not the cheapest option in town (restaurants in Tallinn can be dirt cheap!), it does offer value for money.




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