Dinner society. Alexander Chef’s table
Once you fall in love with Pädaste Manor, you’ll fall in love not only with their place but also with their team, their attitude, and their food. Always the food. Every time I go to have meal made by chef Matthias Diether that is served exclusively by dear Carlo, I hope that no one will want to try my food, and the only phrase I have in mind is from Friends: “Joey doesn't share food”. I am not usually that stingy, but there are places and times in life when I get greedy when I see someone’s fork coming too close to my plate. The good thing about going for dinner at Alexander's Chef’s table is that everyone gets the same thing, so the “no sharing people” are safe, but otherwise, you are in trouble, because there is a slight chance you might lose your mind over that food.
It was November when all of the Baltic restaurants could not wait for – “the results”. There was a feeling of desperation in the air - who is going to be first, second, third and fourth? It was like sitting on a barrel full of gunpowder. And then came the night when someone was happy and someone else hated the others. Although I do not follow the restaurant ratings too much – I think the idea is a bit too exaggerated – it is still a good guide for new places to visit or to revisit old ones.
A visit to Tallinn can be made for many reasons, but it can also be for one – a meal at Alexander chef’s table. NO, it is not a restaurant, but a meal at a chef’s private residence. For us, the trip to Tallinn was just for this – to enjoy the food that we already knew (you can read about the Pädaste experience here) and to discover the concept they call “dinner society”. Alexander chef’s table – and yes, I will say proudly that according to the White Guide, they are in 3rd place in the Baltics and 2nd in Estonia – is an experience that pops open only four days a week from Wednesday to Saturday, ONLY with reservations, only if you live by the code “I could die for good food” (joke), and only from October until March.
Everyone sits around one big table, watching how the food is prepared at the table next to you, slowly inhaling the aromas of everything that happens in the kitchen – it’s like being at mom's when she cooks, just without stealing a taste. Miracles do happen here – people come in groups of 2, 4, 6, or even more, not knowing each other, and (read on carefully) sometimes leave together for some dancing with a new contract for a great deal or just to stay great friends. There is one reason for that, ok two reasons – great, great, great food that makes everything possible and Carlo, who just makes every second spent there as magical as possible.
Oh, yes. The meal. The meal is the main thing. It is an adventure, made by none other than the great Matthias Diether, a chef who could make even sand taste magical (lucky there is no sand for dinner), so imagine what he does with edible things. Every little piece is like traveling – from sour to sweet, bitter to fresh, crunchy to soft. Every time that food comes, and they begin to tell you about it, my only thought is “Please stop talking, because I want that food now!” and believe me, that feeling grows with every dish, as you already know how good it will be. That piece of excitement that makes my brain do the fireworks “like for Remi in Ratatouille”. Plus, those wine pairings – Carlo has done a wonderful job pairing wine with food from small houses around Europe. And yes – there is also champagne.
PS. A good idea is to book an apartment just above the Chef’s table – not only due to the slight chance that you will have to crawl up (after those 7 dishes and wines, those with no self-control may thank me for this idea), but mainly because of the fantastic view.
Alexander Chef’s table
OPEN from October until March
BOOK at least 24h in advance, but I suggest earlier as spots sell out very quickly
Kohtu 10a-7, Tallinn
Text and pictures: Signe Meirane
Camera: Sony Alpha 7s