Some might say this blog is moving downmarket - but I refute that idea. I've always been someone who appreciates simple, filling food, of the kind that makes personal trainers run a mile. I'll happily join my friends at somewhere more complex if they go there, but I think charm Offensive should be a reflection of the places I like, wherever they are. I can't eat as much of the comfort food as I used to (I feel a need to lose weight, and an even more pressing need to look after myself at home and start cooking), but in every moment when I have needed comfort and solace, Cafe Vs. has been there for me.
Based on Pärnu Mnt and looking like something out of an early Eddie Murphy movie, Vs. continues to punch way above its weight. It may not get the plaudits of other "Asian fusion" restaurants in the Old Town, but this hidden gem, which offers Indian and Vietnamese meals, knows how to cater for its clientele. [Note to beer-watchers: it's not a Saku Tume; the beer selection at Vs. is limited, but they do offer the curry-standard-issue Cobra, and Newcastle Brown, which I am drinking here.]
My current favourite, chicken biryani, is more than enough for a hungry man, together with the cheese naan, which tastes thick, floury and endearingly naughty. The biryani varies in spice depending on when I go, presumably because of a rotation of chefs, but it always offers flavour and variation enough in a serving, even if the tomato slices sometimes placed on top feel a bit superfluous.
The staff are smiley and get to know their customers, and the TV plays Fashion TV, a pleasantly low-level distraction of the kind that adds to, rather than taking away from, the deliberately kitschy atmosphere.
Was it expensive? No, under 20EUR will get you everything and more you need from a comfort-curry.
Would you recommend it? Yes, particularly for foreigners, and people who need their spice fix.
When should you go there? With a gang of mates.