Welcome back to my project of slowly reviewing all the coffee and cakes in Tallinn with my friend Greta, this week: a basement level haunt in the dead center of old town famous for their chocolate.
Address: Saiakang 1, 10146 Tallinn
Date of visit: February 1, 2018
Drinks: Pumpkin Spice Latte (Greta) and Vanilla Latte (Mab)
Cakes: Tiramisu (Mab) and Pecan Pie (Greta)
Review: Right off the main square in Old Town it’s easy to pass this place because it happens to share its small alleyway with another cafe with a more obvious door (!). Easiest to reach from the Viru stop by tram or bus and not hard to locate even for casual wanderers. It’s probably most notable that this is obviously a very popular tourist spot as the prices are a bit steep, even when compared to other cafes in Old Town.
For a cafe in Old Town, there is an almost surprising amount of space inside. There are three full rooms filled with chairs, couches, and tables of varying sizes which should suit any group or configuration – we opted for a comfy couch wedged between the door and the counter. This cafe is in a basement/a few steps down from the street so it has a dark, almost beatnik vibe to it. Every table has a candle or tea light and the decor is all in deep red and browns, keeping things cozy instead of oppressive.
As for cake selection, there were actually several cakes that were also at Must Puudel so they must share a bakery source which I don’t mind. This cafe happens to also be a chocolatier so there were truffles and other filled chocolates as well though we didn’t opt to try any on this visit. They also had the usual savory pastries and a fairly large collection of juices, wines, beers, and ciders.
I got the tiramisu. You can see this cake was pilled pretty high so I was ready to be wow’d but oddly enough it wasn’t quite as strong as I was expecting. I’m a big fan of tiramisu, and especially of mascarpone cheese. This cake was more like the idea of a tiramisu but all the flavors brought down to a low simmer. Instead of the sweet, tangy mascarpone it was a much more muted cream cheese-like flavor. Instead of the thick, syrupy smack of coffee in the ladyfingers, it was a soft coffee flavor that was almost completely overtaken by the cocoa powder on top instead of being complimented by it. The texture was perfect and I ate the whole thing but it just had a sense of lacking, it made me wish I had ordered something else.
Greta on the other hand had a pecan pie. It’s so funny to see American style pie outside of America and for once, this one was the spitting image. From the pressed crust to the perfectly lined up pecans in sticky syrup on top I was really impressed that this pie, of all pies, had appeared so faithfully translated. But I didn’t eat because I kind of don’t like pecan pie so I couldn’t say how it was but Greta ate it about twice as fast as I did my mediocre tiramisu so we’ll give it better than average marks.
This cafe happens to be very proud of grinding their own coffee blend so of course the two of us got the least coffee-forward drinks here. I had a vanilla latte and Greta got the pumpkin spice and while they drinks are absolutely gigantic (probably a good 550ml, slightly better than a “grande” at Starbucks), they weren’t actually all that amazing. They were also 6€.
I do have to note that Greta was all heart eyes at the coffee guy behind the counter and the service was very pleasant. It did take longer than average to make the drinks but I think it was because of the sheer size of our drinks so that’s something to keep in mind during the busy season. It’s entirely possible that this place will have long lines in the summer because the smallest drink they serve is nearly twice the size of the average place and takes twice as long to make – that’s just math.
Overall, I liked but didn’t love this place. The space was much better than the cake or the coffee. It was very warm also, which is a plus in the winter but could easily becoming really suffocating if a lot of people were in the cafe. When I say “very warm” I mean I thought about taking off my sweater, something I don’t even do in my own house. The best part about this trip was our conversation – oh and they had Seattle wine on display because:
Wherever you go, there you are.
Coffee: out of 5
Cake: out of 5