The little bistro
As if there are not enough restaurants already showcasing local Estonian produce in Tallinn, Kukeke certainly had no choice but join the others, simply because of its location near the market at the central train station. No complaints here though, especially with the lovely earthy flavours of autumn.
The two-level restaurant is located in an old railway depot. The interior is simple, keeping with the industrial look of the building. Daily specials and desserts are written in chalk behind the bar.
What jumps out from the menu, is the list of juices and nonalcoholic cocktails. And you know that the dining scene is changing in Tallinn, when you see ‘lactosefree’ written beside the mangostrawberry smoothie. An extensive list of classic cocktails is also available, and the modest wine list features mostly European wines.
Expats mourning the loss of Café Anglais say, that Tallinn has been lacking a good bistro, since its closing a few years back. Is Kukeke the replacement? You be the judge. Some dishes on the menu have a French influence, but it’s the ingredients that have certainly inspired the chef. Try the meat, chicken liver and boletus terrine with marinated cucumber, beetroot, green salad with honey-mustard dressing to start. As a main course, the rabbit leg braised in white wine, with celeriac, carrot, fennel, rosemary, and pine nuts will not disappoint you either. And if you still have room for dessert, it might be wise to share, as the slices of cake seemed dauntingly large.
Bar Bistro Kukeke
Telliskivi 57, Tallinn B1 (in the Kalamaja district)
TEXT KRISTINA LUPP, PHOTOS ANDREI CHERTKOV