Copper light fixtures blossom out from the ceiling at Kolm Sibulat in Tallinn. But they’re not the only things that are going to catch your eye on entering. From the exposed brick to the wooden panelling, this is a restaurant that knows how to turn the rustic aesthetic to its advantage. And even that’s just set dressing for the main event – the food.
The influences on the food at Kolm Sibulat are wide-ranging in scope. There’s the soy and kimchi in the pork ribs. The hint of balsamic in the beef carpaccio, not to mention the accompanying truffle mayonnaise. Catfish is pan-fried and served with a lobster bisque. Schnitzel is accompanied by pearl couscous and pickled cauliflower. And dollops of Turkish yoghurt accompany a red lentil soup that’s spiked with the heady aroma of lemongrass. To say it’s international would be an understatement. The wine list takes a similarly globe-trotting approach to its composition, with Old and New World bottles on offer, to much the same palate-pleasing effect.
Incidentally, the name – Kolm Sibulat – means “three onions” in Estonian. While officially that’s a nod to the fact that the restaurant has three owners with Russian roots (you have to be Estonian to get that reference), it works on lots of levels. Much like its food, Kolm Sibulat has, at its heart, layers of ingredients and influences from beyond Estonia’s borders. And the result is delicious.