Restaurant MEKK has been open for over 6 successful years. The location of the restaurant is good, as it’s next to the Savoy Boutique Hotel in Tallinn Old Town, but for some reason we never tried it until now. A dinner in MEKK was a positive experience; the interior was modern and clean (though not our favourite style), the food was delicious, and the service was friendly yet professional.
This time we also had the opportunity to get a bit more in-depth introduction, as the main chef Rene Uusmees told us about MEKK, their menu, Estonian restaurant culture and his personal cooking philosophy. Rene said that he isn’t that fond of making fancy fine dining ‘art pieces’ (‘art museums are for that purpose and restaurants are for good food’), as he prefers to serve familiar ingredients, but always with a special twist. Although it must be mentioned that when it comes to art, Rene might have been a bit too modest – the servings were beautiful (as you can see from the photos).
Altogether we tried 6 different courses and based on those we can assure you that Rene’s cooking philosophy is definitely working. In addition, when we asked whether they favour local ingredients, he said that they purchase as many local ingredients as possible, but naturally that’s not always achievable if you want to get the best quality. Due to this they sometimes purchase meat from France, fish from Finland and butter from the Finnish dairy product company Valio. For example, the restaurant uses local butter for cooking but Valio’s butter is served with bread due to better taste, so they have obviously tried to pay attention to every small detail.
We tried MEKK’s fish plate and goat cheese cream with marinated beetroot for starters, of which the latter deserves special mention, as this popular starter has been on the menu from the day MEKK opened, and secondly it was probably the best goat cheese-beetroot combination that we have tasted in Tallinn. Also the roasted hazelnuts, crisp bread and apple cider sauce were amazing with goat cheese and beetroot. For the main course we picked baked potato cake with lentil salad and MEKK’s fish, which this time was whitefish. Baked potato cake with lentil salad, roasted vegetables, hazelnuts and tomato sauce were simply delicious. Also the fish was good and what made the food truly interesting were the sides, which were spinach-hot smoked salmon pancakes, gooseberry-celery salad, lemon and butter sauce. The gooseberry-celery salad was something new for us, but still it created a good taste combination with the fish. The meals were pretty large, so already after two courses we were quite full.
However, there’s always some room for the dessert, right? We chose rhubarb ice-cream with crunchy chocolate pastry, caramelized hazelnuts and berry salad. This didn’t have the same kind of ‘Wow’ factor as the previous dishes, but still it was good and we ate all of it. In the end, we were the last customers in the restaurant and before heading home Rene came to ask our opinion about the food. He also told us he is going to open a new restaurant in August 2014 next to the renovated Hotel Palace, called Kondrad. MEKK is more focused on Estonian food, but the new restaurant is a kind of Estonian-Russian fusion kitchen and also to a greater extent a fine dining restaurant. If it’s half as good as MEKK, we believe it’s worth trying (we’ll keep you updated!). 🙂
Restaurant MEKK deserves a place on our restaurant list, because I’m more than happy to visit it again and recommend it to others. Appetisers were 6-10 euros, main courses 12-22 euros and desserts 4-12 euros, so clearly it’s not the cheapest food spot in Tallinn, but you always have to pay for quality. We would recommend you to make a reservation in advance, especially if you want to combine theatre and good food, since in addition to business and hotel customers the place tends to attract theatre and opera fans, as it’s located just a few minutes walk away from the Estonian National Opera. More information about the restaurant can be found from MEKK’s website. Click here to book a table:
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