Hotel Cru, located in old town, is less than a five minute walk from the town hall square. The historic medieval house turned hotel is a thick-walled warren of rooms. Mind your step and watch your head!
While wifi is spotty and outlets scarce, the rooms are comfortable, quiet (remember those thick walls?) and spacious. The bathroom is Euro small, but with good water pressure in the shower. Amenities include a mini bar and safe but no coffee and tea service. You can get coffee downstairs starting at 6:30.
The breakfast buffet includes the typical Baltic fare – two kinds of bread – white and their homemade brown bread, pastries, cured fish, cold cuts, cheese, raw vegetables and salad, cereal and yogurt. Hot items include – breakfast meats, scrambled eggs and porridge. Self-service coffee from a thermos. Offerings are of good quality even if selection is somewhat limited.
Dinner at Hotel Cru
The cozy high ceilinged dining room has pale blue-gray thick plaster walls and hard wood floors and table tops. The select menu focuses on fresh quality ingredients presented with an artistic flare. For starters there are a number of tartare and carpaccio options.
We tried the veal carpaccio, served something like a burrito with the veal used as the tortilla and fresh shredded celeriac as the filling. The dish is topped with apple chips. Great flavors.
For mains we ordered the lamb with Moroccan spices, a succulent lamb shank served with large beans in a Mediterranean tomato sauce and garnished with mint, and the pike perch, a beautifully cooked fillet served on a handful of lentils in an herbed milk foam.
For dessert, the apples and calvados – a stack of tart apples served with a calvados ice cream and crunchy flakes. Great balance of flavors but the ice cream lacked calvados flavor and instead tasted vaguely of cinnamon.
The restaurant was busy on a Sunday evening in late September with a number of guests arriving after 8PM. Staff was friendly but a bit scattered resulting in longer wait times for drinks and between courses than usual.
Dinner at Da Rocco Italian
Da Rocco, an intimate Italian restaurant, is located just off of Long Street. With three small dining rooms the ambiance is that of a period home rather than a restaurant. The ceiling in the main dining room, a beautiful antique wide plank wood with a faded painted leaf motif, certainly adds to the charm.
The menu, more extensive than we have been seeing in the Baltics, includes Italian favorites. Everything we tasted was done simply and well. Not a lot of extra fuss on fancy presentations, just good food cooked right.
We started with the insalata mista and the beef carpaccio classically served with parmesan and rocket. My only complaint was that it was served too cold and the rocket was a bit limp, otherwise made with good quality beef and parmesan.
For mains we chose the frutti di mare and the spring chicken served with a choice of vegetables or potatoes. I chose the vegetables, a lovely medley with plenty of tasty mushrooms. The chicken was the best dish of the evening. The small bird, looking lonely on the plate, was perfectly cooked with moist meat on the inside and crispy skin on the outside.
For dessert the house made tiramisu was good, but nothing special.
On a Monday evening the restaurant was mostly empty with just a few tables occupied.
Dinner at the Farm
The Farm, a departure from the intimate dining rooms we’ve experienced in the Baltics, is a mid-sized restaurant specializing in modern Estonian fare which retains the typical select menu. Offerings focus on game and local produce. As the name suggests the restaurant motif is Estonian country with a shabby chic bent – crystal chandeliers and light wood tables with white painted chairs. Cupboards of folksy knick-knacks and canned goods decorate soft green plaster walls. The most startling “decoration” is the taxidermy diorama in restaurant entry way.
For starters we tried the rabbit liver mouse served with a raspberry sauce and toasted bread and the creamy sauerkraut soup, a rich soup ordered with or without pork.
For mains the game meatballs – two sizable, flavorful meatballs plated with a berry wine sauce and served with mashed potatoes topped with a mushroom gravy, and the duck breast ordered medium rare served with cherry sauce, apple purée, parsnip purée and roasted squash. Everything was well executed and tasty.
Service is friendly and efficient.
September 29 to October 1, 2019
For links to all the posts in this series see the Baltics Road Trip page.