Chef’s Log 80: Hansa Down My New Favourite

Howdy humans! I’m back and suitably refreshed after a much-needed vacation. Has it been a while? I hadn’t noticed. I’ve been too busy exploring new culinary frontiers and boldly going where no Gastronomican has gone before.

I have adjusted well to life on this side of Earth, probably because I am of a race that does not turn something as insignificant as moving to a different country into an emotional ordeal (why must humans make everything so dramatic? Asking for a friend.) I suppose some of you might expect this post to feature a restaurant in Finland since it is where I am currently based, but I’d rather begin with a restaurant so delightful that it has captured all three of my hearts. (pictures below)

Olde Hansa is a medieval-themed restaurant in the heart of the old town quarter of Tallinn, the charming capital of Estonia. The distinctly old-fashioned stone walls, art, costumes, candlelight, and music lend the restaurant an ambience so disarming that for an instant I truly believed that humans had finally mastered time travel. The attention to detail is commendable. I especially enjoyed the blend of medieval aesthetic and modern amenities on display in the bathrooms. The place has enchanted me so much that I strive to visit as often as I can.

The serving staff is always lively, engaging and almost disturbingly cheerful. Their commitment to staying in character while spouting off historically accurate facts about the time period is enough to make even the most cynical embrace the experience as wholly authentic and immersive.

And the food? Well, who would have thought that I would ever have regretted my choice of century when visiting Earth? Clearly, they were not referring to the food when they termed it the ‘dark ages.’ The restaurant offers a range of items for adventurous eaters, including game sausages with bear and wild boar meat.

I once sampled the dried elk meat, which to my utmost delight, was served in a pouch. The meat retains a hint of the tough, chewy texture typical of game meat but is also surprisingly soft and tender. The herbs in the dish really come through, adding a fragrant note. The dark honey beer is delicious, the roasted chicken one of my all-time favourite dishes and the light, creamy rose pudding is so dangerously delectable that it probably deserves an entire post of its own. Olde Hansa’s uniquely sweet and savoury onion jam also deserves a shoutout.