After a busy day touring around Tallinn I had a quick shower and then briskly walked along the cites harbourfront in search of dinner. Many moons ago Peter the Great decided to establish a war-shipyard in Tallinn’s port. This new district was nicknamed New Holland for its wetlands and canals. Restaurant Neh stands by the banks of the former Härjapea River which played an important role in the 18th and 19th century industrialization by powering the watermills of New Holland.
Neh is Pädaste Manor‘s seasonal kitchen in the city. A bistro style foodie heaven that showcases one of Estonia’s most creative culinary teams who find their inspiration in the unique terroir of Muhu Island. If you are visiting Tallinn but don’t have the time to visit Muhu, Neh is an excellent opportunity to experience the islands unique culinary traditions.
Chef Peeter Pihel leads a team that won the Best Estonian Chef Award for the past 4 years. Together with restaurateurs Martin Breuer and Imre Sooäär he brought the title of Estonia’s Best Restaurant to remote Muhu Island in 2010 and 2011. Peeter’s menu at Neh pays respect to Nordic Island Cuisine, authenticity of produce and flavors of the season.
The restaurant offers an unpretentious dining experience with whimsical art hanging from the walls. I started off with a glass of French Cider which was earthy and made Strongbow taste like tap water. The restaurant’s freshly baked bread was filled with hazelnuts and dried fruit and paired with rapeseed from Denmark and a raspberry vinegar made in house. Everything I ate at Neh was phenomenal. There was a noticeable rural’ness to the food. A distinct Muhu Island feel (even though I’ve never been, I now feel as though I’ve had a taste). I really appreciated how the kitchen presented each dish, which provided a constant “sense of place” reminder. My goat cheese dish was served in a smoked glass jar sitting on top of a slender log. Sorbet was nestled into blown glass while the Rhubarb fool was presented on a bed of moss. The overall experience really was quite magical. The team at Neh has done an excellent job at presenting a Muhu-micro cuisine unique to Estonia’s culinary landscape.
Cider de Dumanoir Brut Lecompte, Normandie France
Chardonnay, Michael Picard, Lauguedoc, Roussilon, France
Rhubarb Schnapps, in house
rapeseed oil and raspberry vinegar
Carrot and Parsnip Crisps
Smoked Goat Cheese
lightly smoked hay goat cheese from kalamatsi farm and pickled vegetables
Braised Beef Cheek
vegetable sonk and red wine sauce
Keys of Heaven
wild flower ice
vegetable stew and makipuder
mixtures of roasted barley, rye, oat and pea flour with yoghurt served with blueberry jam and hazelnut crisps
hay ash – liquorice crumble