Welcome back to my project of slowly reviewing all the coffee and cakes in Tallinn with my friend Greta, this week: a coffee shop located deep within the heart of Solaris.
Address: Estonia puiestee 9, 10143 Tallinn
Date of visit: February 8, 2018
Drinks: Black Coffee (Greta) and Latte (Mab)
Cakes: Pistachio Cake (Mab) and Black Forest Cake (Greta)
Review: We have tried to go to the Mademoiselle Cafe in Old Town twice and both times it’s been closed so we decided to go to their location in Solaris instead. Solaris is a very nice mall containing many cafes and stores. You can easily reach Solaris by most bus routes and it’s a 5 minute walk from either Old Town or Vabaduse väljak making it a good choice if it’s -11°C outside and you don’t want to walk too much. The cafe is located on the 1st floor inside of the Apollo Book Store. If you didn’t already know it was there you probably wouldn’t find it since it’s located in the far, far back and I don’t think I saw any signs telling you it was in the book store.
The inside of the cafe has a very odd feel, it’s quite an open space with high backed couch-like chairs that are dotted with big buttons. There is bold, colorful patterned wallpaper and woven lace motifs on the walls and tables. There is even a painting of a woman on a stark white wall as you enter. The large tables and chairs along with the clean colors woven throughout the space make it feel a little bit like a storybook or an Alice in Wonderland inspired space.
Adding to that storybook feeling is the fact that their cakes are all whimsically named like the “Forest Run”, the “Iceberg”, and the “Exotic” for example. Also when we received our coffee drinks it made me feel like I was Alice because mine was about the size of a swimming pool while Greta’s was smaller than your average cappuccino.
Since it’s a proper cafe, there were plenty of savory options on the menu and even cocktails. Most of the cakes looked interesting but either I was preoccupied or not in the mood because I didn’t feel like I wanted to eat most of them. The cakes look quite plastic-y compared to other places we’ve been with a lot of emphasis on cutesy ingredients and presentation flourishes (like with the names). The actual flavors weren’t listed for the cakes so their appeal seemed more window dressing than actual body or substance.
Greta ordered the Forest Run (a black forest cake), but the waitress possibly gave her the wrong cake. A multiple layer cake with all the bells and whistles of a gold spray painted top with chocolate curls, it had a nice mix of chocolate and hazelnut but nothing you would really talk about later on. It was probably more disappointing that either the name is misleading OR the cake wasn’t the right one. I feel like we had a similar problem with a different black forest cake so now I’m really jonesing for a proper black forest style cake in the future.
On the other hand I had this pistachio cake. I want to tell you what this cake was but I’m actually at a bit of a loss. The bottom part of the cake was a soft brownie, the middle layer cake or brownie crumbles. It had some nuts, including pistachios running through it and it was covered in a layer of sugar-gelatin that didn’t break well when cut in to. Most of the mass of this cake was confusing. I believe it’s a whipped cream or custard with pistachio flavor that is set by gelatin but as I told Greta it’s basically “pistachio-flavored packing foam”. Impressively enough this cake actually tasted like pistachios which can be a difficult flavor to obtain in a cake but the texture was beyond odd and I had expected a smooth cream dessert and got something that fought back in my mouth instead. Despite all of that, it wasn’t entirely unpleasant as the taste was very good but I’m not sure I would eat it again and I don’t think I would recommend it.
The coffee was perfectly acceptable though the fact that I got such a large cup of it meant that I was awake for a some extra hours afterwards. The service at this place was on the negative side. Both people behind the counter seemed to be extremely annoyed that we were there and gossiped in front of us while we waited for our coffee to be made. Instead of offering to help me when I tried to carry my coffee and cake, the waitress simply gave me an annoyed look that I was struggling and made a big deal of sighing and rolling her eyes at me.
Overall, I would be willing to give their sister cafe in Old Town a shot as I feel like there might have been better cake choices since our cakes were interesting but not amazing. The space here is absolutely great though and if you’re already in the mall for a movie or you are waiting to meet someone for dinner or shopping, this would be a really welcoming place to get a perfectly acceptable cup of coffee but there’s so many places in the mall with better, friendly service and places to sit that it’s kind of a toss up.
Coffee: out of 5
Cake: out of 5