Found in Tallinn’s Old Town, Cru – and its beautiful inner dining halls – really does the historic environs proud. The original building dates back to the 15th century, with the decor allowing that to shine through, working it in via rich dark wood, exposed brickwork, and huge sweeping ceilings. Dark candelabras reach down from above, while warm brickwork catches attention underfoot. The colour scheme at Cru is natural and neutral, from the ceiling high dark wheat coloured curtains to the wooden shelves housing the wine collection.
For those wanting to get closer to the bustle of Old Town, a seat on Cru’s outdoor terrace is the place to be, putting you in charming reach of it. But there’s also the chance to sit in the serene inner courtyard, should al fresco dining appeal, but up close and personal does not. Wherever you sit, however, you can enjoy some of Head Chef Dmitri Haljukov’s rightly lauded cuisine. Famed for his presence in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or finals, eventually securing a position in the Top 20 in the world, Dmitri Haljukov has won acclaim both in Estonia and far beyond. And it’s clear to see why.
A meal at Cru can start with some wild boar terrine, served with pickled mushrooms and horseradish, or perhaps a little Estonian Hereford tartare, which comes with a potato taco, smoked spat mayo, and onion shoots. While main courses range from elk sausage (served with smoked kohlrabi cabbage and rosemary sauce with dried lingonberries) and venison liver (hen-of-the-wood mushroom, hasselback potato and roasted onion and beer jus) to fried red perch (with a parsley root puree and a spinach and mussel sauce). It’s earthy, rich, and very, very good.
If you’ve saved room – and you should – you can finish a superlative meal here off with some Estonian farm cheeses, lifted with a little blackcurrant marmalade. Or maybe a little ice cream. Sounds simple? It’s not. Think: malt bread ice cream with marinated cherries and hazelnut cream.