On my way back from recording with Maarja Nuut on Sunday in Karepa, I had some time to spend in Rakvere, the large-ish town on the edge of Lahemaa National Park in northern Estonia.

Turuplatz is one of the more prominent restaurants and bars dotted around the main square in Rakvere. This wouldn't normally be an encouraging sign: obvious often means poor quality. I was pleasantly surprised though. The prices on the menu weren't even expensive.

 

Outside Turuplatz

I only had 45 minutes to take in the ambiance of the restaurant - but it seemed to have nice customers, who were enjoying their time there. The staff, whilst not over-the-top happy (this is Estonia) were, equally, good-natured and understanding, making me want to visit again some time. The waitress also came to my table quickly (it wasn't peak time, admittedly), and was happy to talk me through the options.

Meat pelmeenid

I chose the meat pelmeenid - easy to make, in the right hands - but also easy to make a mess of - I know this, having made several bad attempts at a dumpling dish in my first year in Estonia. I was asked if I wanted it boiled or fried; I've got no idea if people are usually asked this or not, but it seemed like a nice touch. I opted for fried, and asked for a small squirt of mustard with the potato parcels, which I also got.

The pelmeenid were just crisp enough, without it being a challenge to cut the potato to get to the meat, which was juicy and well-cooked. The sour cream was a necessary lubricant - even well-cooked dumplings can be a little dry - but I mixed it with the mustard, and all was good with the world.

I was sorry, having finished, to have to rush off to catch my bus back to Tallinn - but Turuplatz certainly passed the "would you go again?" test.