Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wine and dine at the beautiful synagogue - a restaurant review for Moses

They built a new (although I don't think we'd had an old one for decades either) synagogue in Tallinn in 2007. It's a beautiful modern building and architecturally just splendid. From the beginning they also promised to open a kosher restaurant there, but it took them a while to build the kitchen and find a chef who knew what had to be done.
Although I'm not Jewish myself, I've always been fascinated by the traditions and peculiarities (probably again something that I can blame on books like Portnoy's Complaint etc), so after they did open the restaurant I've been meaning to go.
But as the opening hours are as they are (closed on Fridays, only open on Saturdays after Sabbath) it took us a while. But we finally went and it was nice.

The restaurant is called Moses and it's relatively small. It has a nice festive ambiance, white sheets on the tables and the good and evil apple-tree motif that starts on the front door of the synagogue is followed throughout.

The music was a bit weird, I think it might have been modern Jewish music, so at points it was kind of brain-damagingly clubby. The service was nice and friendly, but surprisingly to me the waitress had almost no command of Estonian. There is a big Russian minority living in Estonia and Tallinn, but usually when people work in customer-service their command of the official state language is satisfactory. This girl got confused at sparkling water.

But the food was very nice (not mind-blowingly good, but really nice) and the Ridge White Zichron wine was a positive surprise. I'm not sure whether I'd had Israeli wine before, but will definitely try it again.

We ordered 'Assorted Israeli appetizers for two' to start with, as we were really hungry. It was a very pretty looking plate of hummus (it was a very good), falafel (look like meatballs at first but then turn out to be dry chick-pea balls, didn't really like those), baba ganush (baked eggplants, really, really good), tahini sauce (a bit on the bitter motor-oily side), fresh vegetables, olives, a herring-salad (I think chopped herring with egg, something to spread on bread, it was nice) and egg salad.
It all came with a basket of freshly baked small sweet little rolls that were very good as well.

For a main course I had Israeli style potato salad with spicy olives (parve), which was again pretty looking and I liked it (but it being a meatless potato salad with an oil-based dressing, it obviously isn't the kind of dish that brings on massive waves of food-envy from the co-diners :).

Siim had Chicken schnitzel with garlic potatoes, Israeli style, which he actually liked so much, that I'm going to attempt repeating it today at home. Have never schnitzeled a chicken before, so should be interesting.

It's also nice that they have a good explanation of the kosher food's philosophy on the cover of the menu, and educational aspect. Although I always thought it also had a great deal to do with how the animal's were bread and killed and there wasn't a single word on this there...

All together I think I'd give it about a 6-7 from 10 as a dining experience. It is a cozy little place and good for an easy-going Sunday lunch. Plus, the synagogue is definitely worth going to as it is beautiful.


Pille said...

Ma olen seal peale avamist (vist ikka juba 2007.a. lõpus?) seal mitu korda käinud. Viimati nautisin väga nende tomatisuppi. Ja söök on olnud peale esimese peakoka (A.Berg) lahkumist palju parem olnud :)

Joie de vivre said...

It looks like such a nice time.

Kat said...

It was :), I'm kind of craving the baba ganush and the hummus... should go back soo.

Tomatisupp... kuidas ma seda küll menüüs ei näinud, tavaliselt tomatisupp on alati üks mu lemmikuid. Peab tagasi minema :)

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