NoKu Klubi, Tallinn

After a tip-off on social media about some particularly amazing food on offer there, I decided to go into Tallinn Old Town's celebrated NoKu Klubi (originally an artists' club, set up in reaction to the admission policy of the nearby KuKu Klubi by rebellious creatives in Soviet times). NoKu usually has a key-card admission system, with a secretive selection process. However the club is, at the moment, open to all (and, in fact, even when the door is locked, you can usually get in when one of the members goes out for a cigarette).

It was my second time in NoKu. Inside, it looks exactly like I imagine it did in the 1970s - hardwood furniture, dim lighting and long, plush, deep, beaten-up sofas, perfect for lounging, but not for getting up from!

NoKu meatballs in gravy

I was in a whisky mood, so I had a glass of Glenlivet with some water. The meal I ordered, at 10.30pm when I was incredibly hungry, was traditional Estonian meatballs, soaked in a gravy-type white sauce, which was thick and gloopy, but not lumpy. It went perfectly with the meatballs, which, unlike many that I have tasted, were soft inside but just hard enough to be crispy outside. There was a truly more-ish salty taste to the whole thing. I always love mashed potato, and of course as this is a real Estonian meal there were pickled cucumbers and beetroot too.

My advice is to take a look at NoKu's menu for yourself. The place has a great reputation in Tallinn, and is a mainstay of tourist guides to the city, but unlike many recommended stops, it does not disappoint, and is an essential destination in order to begin to understand Tallinn's history. Just don't all go at once!