“We wanted an alternative to formal dining”
Clayhills owner Martin Murray Pikk 13, Tallinn Old Town estonia restaurant
Clayhills is the first gastropub to open in the Baltics. While the idea is nothing new in the West, Tallinn has been enjoying good food and good drink in a cosy, relaxed atmosphere since 2010. Martin explains, “I was aware that gastropubs had become very popular in the UK, Ireland and the US, and were spreading across Europe as an alternative to more formal dining. The success of gastropubs, especially in the UK has led such international chefs as Gordon Ramsey to open three of his own in London.”
But what is a gastropub exactly? This type of restaurant boasts good quality food using local ingredients, but you won’t find anything elaborately stacked or covered in foam. “In the best rules of gastropubs, our menu is written on a giant blackboard and our dishes range from tapas to fish, poultry and steaks, and under the guidance of our executive chef Argo Ots, our menu changes frequently according to the season, though such all-time customers’ favourites as handmade pork and apple sausages and Clayhills gourmet burger are always on the menu.”
The building itself has an interesting history. The name “Clayhills” is that of Thomas Clayhill from Scotland, who's family opened a merchant store here in 1729. In this medieval building many of the original features are preserved, like the ceiling beams and the stone staircase that leads up to the dining room on the second floor.
But that’s not all. In addition to great food, local and international beer and wine, Clayhills also has live music on the weekends. You can hear anything from Latin to jazz, starting at 22.00 on Fridays and Saturdays. “We have more relaxed music on Thursdays and Sundays while clients eat and drink and on Friday and Saturdays, it begins after dinner, and lasts until the early hours of the morning.” And if you’re a sports fan, you can see all the major events on big screen in the pub.
Clayhills Pikk 13, Tallinn Old Town
TEXT KRISTINA LUPP, PHOTO KATRIN NÕMKÜLA