A humble Shokudo and Teishoku restaurant

 

I visited Tokashiki island in December. As it was not a peak tourist period, many shops and restaurants were closed. I took a taxi from the Tokashiki port to Aharen beach. The taxi lady was kind to show me the restaurants that were open.

After a lovely soak in the sun and sea, I headed to a family-run Shokudo and Teishoku restaurant that the taxi lady recommended for lunch. Teishoku are restaurants serving set menus and Shokudo are restaurants that serve a variety of inexpensive Japanese dishes. The interior of the restaurant was basic with wooden tables and benches.

 

I ordered a stir fry vegetables on Okinawa soba (700 yen). I opted to sit outside as it was a beautiful day with cool weather. The dish tasted homecooked. The broth was flavorful. It was a simple yet satisfying meal.

 

喰呑屋バラック

Telephone: +81 98-987-3108

Opening hours:  Open daily from 11:00 a.m. – 13:30 p.m. , 17:30p.m. – 20:00 p.m.

Address: 145ー1 Aharen, Tokashiki, Shimajiri District, Okinawa 901-3502, Japan

The Yacht Club

In contrast to the Alexander restaurant, the Yacht Club restaurant offers a more casual dining experience with a laid back ambiance, with stunning views of the manor and the bay.

The atmosphere was very peaceful, with the occasional gentle breeze and chirping of the birds. The menu had a simple selection of snacks, starters, soups, main courses, and desserts.

I visited the restaurant for lunch. I ordered fish soup and a lamb burger. The fish soup was light and delicious, with a hint of lemony brightness from the fresh dill. The overall flavor of the burger was good, but the patty and bread were a little dry.

Unfortunately for me, this restaurant feels like every other restaurant. The service was average. The food was good, but nothing outstanding. The decor could use a makeover. After a memorable and amazing meal at Alexander, I was somewhat let down with the Yacht Club. I feel it should uphold a higher standard of furnishing, decor, and food.

Fish soup € 9

Burger with Muhu lamb with smoked cheese and fried onion €19

Pot of Earl Grey tea € 5

 

The Yacht club

Website: http://www.padaste.ee/cuisine/padaste-yacht-club/

Opening hours:

  • 20 May until 31 May – Friday, Saturday & Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 18:00 p.m.
  • 1 June until 1 September – Monday to Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 18:00 p.m.

Telephone: +372 454 8800

Address: Pädaste Manor, Muhu Island, 94716 Estonia

 

Nordic island cuisine at Alexander

As the only five-star hotel outside of Tallinn, Pädaste Manor is an epitome of luxury and tranquility, with its origins dating back to the 14th century. Located at the Pädaste bay on Muhu island, this idyllic hotel is surrounded by lush forests and nature reserves, with a picturesque view of the bay from the sundeck. One highlight for me is the seawater hot tub located next to the sundeck. Is there anything more perfect than soaking in a tub out in nature with a gorgeous view of the bay.

When I entered the room, the first thing that caught my attention was the beautiful piano music playing in the background. I felt like I was transported to another world. It was welcoming and relaxing.

The rooms are fully equipped (including an iPad and PlayStation) along with a wireless Sonos audio controller connected to a Bose acoustimass speaker system and furnished with tasteful furniture and opulent fabrics. The bathroom is elegantly decorated, with black and white diamond mosaic marble flooring.

I was impressed with the hotel’s thoughtful gestures for guests such as when I returned to my room after dinner, there were two chocolate chip cookies on each of the nightstands and the bed was made ready for the evening, with the flat sheet was folded nicely and the throw pillows placed at the end of the bed.

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The kitchen has its own vegetable and herb garden, which is used in the dishes they serve. Other ingredients such as mushrooms and berries are picked from the forests on the island; meat and seafood are sourced from local farmers.

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Dinner at Alexander

The main entrance of Alexander welcomes guests to the Chef’s Table, which is a communal table serving the Islands’ Degustation menu to large groups. Attached to this room is the winter garden, which a glass-enclosed patio overlooking the manor’s park.

During the summer, from June to August, Alexander is open only for dinner. The restaurant offers a prix-fixe menu of a 3-course Table d’Hôte menu for €74 or the 7-course Islands’ Degustation menu for €131. I opted for the 3-course menu.

I was served three types of crisps (rye, poppy seed, leek ash) with a chive dip along with sourdough bread, homemade crisps, and salted Saaremaa butter as an appetizer. I ordered a homemade apple juice soda, which was refreshing and delicious. It tastes like an apple juice virgin mojito.

The dinner began with an amuse-bouche (fried quail egg, mustard seeds with spinach dip), followed by an entrée (pile perch and cucumber), then the main course (Lamb,  carrot, and chanterelles). Finally, culminating with 3 courses of desserts – sunflower seed moose, oat ice cream, and 4 assorted bite-size sweets and cake.

Amuse-bouche 

The quail egg was cooked perfectly with a runny yolk. The spinach was savory and the mustard seed gave each bite a nice crunch at the end.

Entrée (Pile perch, kaffir garlic sauce, lovage ice cream, goats cheese, cucumber)

The Pile perch and cucumber was an exciting dish. I have never seen fish served with ice cream. The taste of the lovage ice cream reminds me of a herby matcha ice cream. It was smooth, with a hint of bitterness and mild sweetness. The pairing works. It was refreshing with subtle, delicious flavors. Unfortunately, I did not like the kaffir sauce. It was quite a strong, unique, and acquired taste,  which overpowers the natural flavors of the fish.

Main course (no picture)

The lamb is accompanied with chanterelles picked from the nearby forest, carrots cooked three ways (puree, pickled, stir fry), and beef sauce. The lamb was tender, smokey and flavorful. The beef sauce was loaded with umami and paired with the sweetness of the carrots, accentuated the flavors of the lamb.

Desserts

Sunflower seed mousse, white chocolate sauce, and sunflower seed dust. 

Oat ice cream, gooseberry from the forest, whipped cream, kama cookie, berry sauce covered in a white chocolate dome, and dark chocolate crumble.

Buckthorn praline, cranberry nougat, financier, and elderflower candy. 

The desserts were delicious with a delicate taste. They were not overpoweringly sweet, which I like.  Alexander’s Chef de Cuisine- Stefan Berwanger personally served the last dessert to a few tables. I was fortunate to be one of them. He thanked the guests for coming. I told him that the food was amazing and that I had a great dining experience.

The whole dining experience took around 2 hours. It was a total seduction of courses after courses. There were a lot of exciting pairings and tastes, and each dish incorporated distinctive and local elements typical in Estonia. The staff was exceptional! They were welcoming, attentive, and knowledgeable about the menu. The waiter in charge of my table was polite and humorous. He ensured that my dining experience was a smooth one from start to end. One of the best waiters I have encountered.

 

Breakfast

 

Breakfast is served at the table, British high tea style. You are served with a selection of bread and pastries, fruit salad with vinaigrette, and a three-tier serving plate with an assortment of cheeses, salted fish, and cold cuts. On the top tier, you have the Juniper and gouda cheese, followed by salted Salted Saarema trout, fish salad, and baltic herring. The bottom tier is the roast beef, pork neck, and chicken liver pate. In addition to that, there is an a la carte menu with a selection of beverages, from the stove and healthy dishes. I like that the hot dishes are cooked to order.

The scrambled egg was cooked the way I like it – fluffy, moist, and evenly cooked. The pancake was perfect. It was fluffy, soft, and had absorbed all the syrup goodness.

Overall, I absolutely loved my stay and dining experience at the manor. A seamless blend of luxury and history. I could not have asked for better!

 

Alexander

Website: http://www.padaste.ee/cuisine/alexander/

Opening hours: September – May: 13:00p.m. – 15:00p.m. , 19:00p.m. – 21:30p.m.

June – August : 19:00 p.m. – 21:30 p.m.

Telephone: +372 454 8800

Address: Pädaste Manor, Muhu Island, 94716 Estonia

Rukis cafe

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Rukis is a cozy cafe with a rustic country decor serving delectable desserts, pastries, and freshly baked bread. I love the color contrast of the purple table cloths against the wooden furnishing. Rukis is located in Tallinn Old Town, a stone’s throw away from the historical landmark – Viru Gate.

When you enter the cafe, the aroma of freshly baked bread wafts in the air. There are two display cases filled with mouthwatering desserts, cakes, and homemade chocolates. As I had made a table reservation in advance, I got a table by the window.

 

 

I was excited about my first meal experience at Rukis, especially after browsing through the dessert menu on the cafe’s website. The breakfast menu had a good variety. There were porridges, different kinds of egg dishes such as eggs benedict and omelets; assorted homemade jams, thin pancakes, open sandwiches, and etc.

I got me a Cappuccino, thin pancakes with honey, and a Marzipan Panna Cotta. I don’t usually have dessert for breakfast, but they look too good to resist. I looked around the cafe, and almost every table had desserts.

The thin pancakes were light, delicate, and buttery with crispy edges. Yum! The Panna Cotta came with a lingonberry sauce, topped with chopped pistachios and lingonberries. The colors were enticing. The creaminess and sweetness of the Panna Cotta balance out the sourness of the lingonberry sauce.

I revisited the cafe on another day for afternoon tea. It was a beautiful day to sit outside, have a cup of tea and a slice of cake. I wanted to try something that is more Estonian-ish, so I asked the waitress to recommend a dessert that is popular among the locals. She was helpful and friendly. We headed inside to the display case, and she suggested a few of her favorites, with the cream cheese rhubarb cake being her favorite. She commented that the ingredients used were typical in Estonia. I have never had a rhubarb cheesecake before, so I decided on that cake. I also ordered hibiscus tea to go with my cake. (I would have loved Earl grey or English tea, but it was too late in the afternoon for me to drink anything with caffeine, or I would be up all night.)

There were four layers to the rhubarb cheesecake. The first was a gelatin topping, followed by cream cheese, then rhubarb, and lastly the crumbly cookie crust. The cheesecake was stunning! The sweet and the sour flavors were well balanced. It was a delicious and memorable cheesecake.

In my opinion, this is one of the best places for breakfast, cakes, and pastries in Tallinn.

Cappuccino €3.50

Classic thin pancakes with honey €5.20 

Marzipan panna cotta €3.90

Cream cheese rhubarb cake €4.50

Hibiscus tea € 2.00

 

Rukis

Website: https://rukis.ee/?lang=en

Opening hours:

Sunday -Tuesday 8:00 a.m.-20:00p.m.

Wednesday -Saturday  8:00 a.m.- 21:00p.m.

Telephone: +372 517 3261

Address: Viru 11, Tallinn

kalambuur – A humble seafood eatery

Hidden in Hirvepark in a charming cottage is a family-run seafood restaurant serving fresh local fish dishes. The restaurant is owned by Estonia’s famous fisherman and chef – Vladislav. The surrounding is quiet and green. On a chilly day, the restaurant offers blankets for customers dining outside. An unexpected but gorgeous location for a restaurant.

The interior is cozy and warm and decorated with various fish pictures on the wall, fish handing lamps along with decorative sea elements, invoking a strong sense of the sea.

The staff was friendly and welcoming. The menu is a simple menu with various appetizers, main courses, and desserts. All ingredients used are local and fresh.

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Soup with salmon and pike quenelles € 5.50

The soup had a beautiful delicious light broth. The fish quenelles were lightly seasoned, allowing the natural flavors of the fish to stand out. The lovage adds a sharp lemon aroma to the soup.

Crusted cod with sun-dried tomato pesto €16

The cod, nestled on a bed of creamy, buttery mashed potatoes, was cooked beautifully with a crispy sun-dried tomato pesto topping. The topping had a good balance of flavor – savory, herby, nutty, with a hint of acidity.

 

 

Kalambuur

Website: http://kalambuur.ee/en/

Opening hours: Opening hours differ, check the restaurant’s website for exact time.

Telephone: +372 56694194

Address: Toompuiestee 8, Tallinn