“A man by his word, an ox by his horn,” goes an ancient Estonian proverb. Old Estonians were careful with their words and promises. They didn’t offer either lightly. In modern Estonia, though, not every word stands up to scrutiny.
When Juur (meaning a ‘root’) opened in the Ülemiste City innovation hub in Tallinn and promised to offer hidden treasures of Estonian nature prepared with culinary mastery, the idea seemed plenty innovative enough for the location – but could it be done? What are those hidden treasures of Estonian nature, sparse and Nordic as it is?
Today, a cursory glance at their menu proves that the people at the Juur keep their word. Birch bracket, goosefoots, entire goat’s head... Indeed, they tread a way no restaurant has gone before. The whole goat’s head is probably the most extreme dish served in modern Estonian cuisine. The scant meat on the skull resembles pulled meat by consistency and bear meat by flavor (you can try the latter at the Pull in Tallinn or at the Vihula manor restaurant). It is somewhat dry, but what it lacks in fat is corrected by the crêpes served for wrapping the meat. The flat meat is promised elevation through Gabriel Meffre’s three-grape blend Gigondas Laurus. Indeed, this word holds as well. Tomato dust and marinated green strawberries contribute a pleasant contrast.
More conservative guests can taste the history captured in ancient Estonian farmstead food kört (grain porridge) and drink mead. The discoveries to be made here keep us coming back for more. Most of the dishes are served on crockery made by the Head Chef Kaido Mets personally. The bread is served on a stone and the knife rests on another one. Make note, though – stone and stone are not alike at Juur. The bread stone is from the Paldiski beach and the knife stone from the Kaberneeme. They really are different – just don’t bite down to test!
Owned by the passionate folks behind Gourmet Coffee, Juur is their first restaurant. It’s located in the quickly developing business area of Ülemiste City and caters to a mainly business crowd during the day, but that's no reason not to go and check it out. The talented kitchen offers à la carte menu incorporating local and seasonal ingredients and set menus for dinner (3, 5 or 7 courses + 5 courses vegetarian menu). The multi-level refurbished warehouse space is elegantly designed, making it a sleek, yet cozy retreat for any meal.
The address is 10 Valukoja, Tallinn. You can also contact the restaurant staff via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone +372 607 07 05.