Noa Restaurant, Tallinn, Estonia
Yes I meant to say it like that. Had I not stumble upon Tallinn by recommendation of a friend I would never have thought of going there. Let alone have found Noa. Not the old bearded guy with a massive boat but this awesome restaurant run by chef Tõnis Siigur. No beard, no boat but, if the world was gonna go to shits at some point soon this guy should be the captain of the ship.
As a chef you would think that I go to these types of establishments often but, to tell you the truth – chefs are hard to impress today. We would rather separate ourselves from our hard-earned dough by buying cookbooks and suckling pigs. However, once in a while we find ourselves dining like kings. Food prepared by our fellow kings and we love it. Being on the receiving end of something spectacular is a great joy and those memories last forever.
“No beard, no boat but, if the world was gonna go to shits at some point soon this guy should be the captain of the ship”
Few people understand the processes and sacrifices involved in serving up some really fine food. I’m not talking about overpriced nonsense you could find in every second Michelin restaurant. I’m talking about the kind of food that makes even the most experience among us wonder – how did they do that? What is that? How did they come up with that? The intrigue keeps going.
Noa delivers just that. Amazing food cooked by the most capable bunch of guys. Friendly, resourceful, precise and bursting with talent. Few of the so-called top kitchens and chefs in the world would get all those eggs in one basket.
I had the privilege of dining at the chefs table. It’s literally on the table the guy plates up on. Awesome. I sat there for three hours watching the kitchen – which consists of only four chefs – serve a full house. Impeccably done too with not a single drop of craziness we so often find in quality restaurants. Just calm guys doing what they love and doing it well. What a joy to watch.
“Being on the receiving end of something spectacular is a great joy and those memories last forever”
To describe to you all the goodies Noa fed me would take forever and to be fair no words or pictures would do it justice either. However, what I could testify to is that it all tasted and looked absolutely stunning. Service was impeccable too and the drink you see was a nice little cucumber and lime type Spitzer they threw together on request. The dill blossom (see my fruit salad melon bowl recipe for proof) on top approved my choice.
The meal at Noa hit home runs from start to finish. Warm home-made bread with salted pork fat and butter got my attention straight away and it’s a bottomless one too. Snacks included cured and smoked salmon on buckwheat crackers light as feathers, fox mushrooms with Parmesan like cheese and followed by a few punchy but light dishes preceded what was to be an awesome tomato dish presented in such a sexy way that I felt like taking it home. Don’t judge and don’t be jealous. The star of the show at Noa however was a pigeon dish that got gobbled up so quickly it hardly had time enjoy it’s time on stage.
“Just calm guys doing what they love and doing it well”
Pre-dessert was a make your own ice cream – Noa style – which I thought was completely awesome. The gave me a mug filled with solidly frozen crumbs of sorbet by way of liquid nitrogen. Once you mix it up with your spoon for about 10 second it came together into the smoothest sorbet you have ever tasted. a Dessert of wild berries and a secret little waver Tõnis Siigur keeps extremely close to his heart followed a petit fours and as usual for me a double espresso.
Meal done. Belly happy and my wallet don’t give a damn. I would happily do it all over again.