TALLINN - There’s a lot to be said for good, honest cooking. It takes you back to your roots, back to your grandmother’s table, back home. When a restaurant manages to accomplish this, it’s worth writing home about.
Jana and Roman Zaštšerinski and Igor Andrejev opened Moon five years ago with the intention of doing just this. Tired of the fine dining scene, the trio went in search of their Russian roots. The result – a cosy neighbourhood restaurant, a little off the beaten track, serving up Russian comfort food, but certainly not how Granny used to plate it.
Lunch time is busy on this late September afternoon. Waiters are rushing back and forth between the kitchen and the dining room, with the smell of hearty autumn dishes wafting through the room. On the main bar, a basket of the daily baked pasties sits waiting for you to try one. Today’s filling, mushroom or carrot. Take one or two home for later, you may even want a third, though they are quite large.
The meal begins with eel braised in apple wine and served with spicy beetroot and rye bread. While the beetroot is more spiced than spicy, the deep red shredded slaw together with fresh, crisp apple matchsticks is refreshing compliment to the sweet braised eel. Next, a step back to the classics handmade Siberian dumplings in mushroom stock. This dish used to be listed under soups, but it became obvious that it’s really a meal in itself. A deceivingly large portion of pork dumplings bathe in a deep earthy mushroom broth. Served with a side of sour cream, you could swear you were behind Granny’s table.
If there is even a slight chance you have room for dessert, the marzipan cake with poppy seeds and blueberry sorbet is not only delectable, but also visually stunning. The deep purple-blue of the blueberry sorbet is a colour you don’t often see on a plate. Pair that with a bite of the poppy seed marzipan cake and you’ve got a dessert that’s hard to pass up.
After the popularity of Moon, the team went on to open a second restaurant, Kolm Sibulat on the outskirts of the trendy district of Kalamaja. Kolm Sibulat, in contrast to Moon is a restaurant where the team gets to play with international flavours, especially focusing on Asian cuisine. For a few years it seemed that the team focused most of their attention on their new baby, leaving Moon to take care of itself. This meal, however, proved that modern Russian comfort food is back, and won’t be going anywhere any time soon.
Vorgu 3, Tallinn 10415
Tel: + 372 6 314 575