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Review: Elevant (The Elephant)

Restaurant or Cafe

Vene, Tallinn, Estonia

Crocodile curry anyone?

  • By SilverTraveller Fifty-Fab

    10 reviews


  • May 2011
  • Casual
  • Indian
  • Tallinn

28 people found this review helpful

“Indian, or Estonian?” asked my friend. Not an ethnic enquiry, but a matter of taste. “Indian”, I said decisively.

Tallinn is a gorgeous city, I’ve enjoyed fabulous meals in exceptional restaurants. Young Estonian chefs are keen to reproduce their forebears’ recipes in a fresh and modern way, while some stick resolutely to Tallinn’s hey day of the Middle Ages. Olde Hansa, for example, is a medieval themed restaurant in the heart of the Old Town.

I’ve enjoyed edgy modern Estonian food, tasty teas, a gourmet lunch complete with swirling smoke infused salmon at the Telegraaf Hotel’s `Tchaikovsky’ restaurant, but until this week I hadn’t tried Tallinn’s `Elevant’ restaurant, which serves both Northern and Southern Indian cuisine and I imagine is the only restaurant in the city with crocodile on the menu.

We approached the restaurant through a paint-peeled door leading off a cobbled street in Tallinn’s Old Town. The next hurdle is a wide old spiral stair-case up to the first floor restaurant. If you can make it that far, then the rest is easy.

Sit on wicker and wood, surrounded by scrubbed wood surfaces, with quirky animal paintings on the walls, attended by Estonian waitresses in toning shades of crushed velvet.

Service was slow, but that was probably due to a large birthday party that was seated just before us. It didn’t matter because the ambience was relaxed and friendly and when it came, the food was truly excellent. I’d expected dumbed down flavours and a lack of spice. But the Pakistani chef has packed it all in.

I shared a meat Thali with a Swedish friend. We savoured the delicious, spiced finely chopped chicken `salad’ thali, wolfed down the moose and raved about the pork curries. Creamy yoghurt dips added to the delicious blend of flavours and textures as did a lovely Bhatura bread topped with chilli and chopped salad.

Enough? Well it was, portions were ample, but we’d also ordered a Spinach and Paneer and Dhal (lentil curry) and both were as good, if not better, as I’ve had back at home (UK, not India!) I couldn’t stop raving about the restaurant for the three days of my trip.

If you enjoy spices and flavoursome food and find yourself in Estonia’s capital, do not miss Elevant. And if you just love Indian cuisine so much you’d travel for it, then book yourself a ticket to lovely Tallinn and track down this exceptional restaurant. I’ll certainly be going back.

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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