Bakery by day, restaurant by night
Text Mark Taylor Photos Eva Kõrvas
The increasingly trendy and thriving former Põhjala factory area in Kopli is where you will find the quite unique Karjase Sai bakery, which transforms each evening into a restaurant named Barbarea where sharing is at the heart of every dish on the menu.
For chef and owner Kenneth Karjane, the choice of location in the former factory site was a deliberate one. “We did not want to be in the city centre, it is too hectic for us. The area really appealed to us because it is one of the last places that is still not too far from the city and it is green.”
But the journey to the current bustling bakery and popular restaurant celebrating its second birthday this summer was not a straightforward one. After 3 years working in restaurants, Karjane grew tired of his day-to-day work, and began baking at home. This passion led to him baking from a garage and selling directly to restaurants and cafes, but this had a problem too – he began to miss seeing people.
In 2019, Karjane and his girlfriend (soon to be his wife) stumbled on the Põhjala factory area and knew this was the right place for them. However, construction was besieged by delays, leading to them opening in February 2020, some 6 months later than expected.
But it wasn’t all bad, while they were waiting they were able to use a small space at the site and begin baking for pop-up events in the area. “They were very popular, people took pictures of the long lines. Next time even more people would come because they saw pictures of the line,” Karjane reminisces.
Karjase Sai was a success, despite the coronavirus pandemic, but Karjane began to get restless. “Because the day at the bakery ended in the afternoon at about 4, I began to get bored, and thought the next logical thing would be to do pizza.”
From that grew Barbarea, where today, although pizza is not on the menu a far better and more fun concept has emerged – “Everything on the menu is built for sharing,” he explains. It is a restaurant to go with friends, share dishes, and enjoy a glass or two of from the selection of more than 80 wines (around half of which they import themselves.
Barbarea’s other focus is on high-quality organic produce, with over 70 per cent of their ingredients coming from organic suppliers. “We want to show that you can have good products and not cost much more. We charge half a euro or euro more, but use the best produce we can,” he says proudly.
The menu at Barbarea is a dynamic one with individual dishes coming and going regularly based on the seasonality of produce and other factors. However, one dish has remained throughout – a rather unique Tiramisu.
“I wanted to do tiramisu but did not like the wet sponges, so I played with different textures, and came to the idea to use a croissant-based monkey bread. It is crispy on the outside, but sticky and gooey on the inside as the base for the dessert, ” Karjane explains.
Barbarea also has options on their menu for vegans, and can make other dishes vegan or suitable for those with allergies on request. Booking a table in advance is recommended.