Saturday, March 04, 2017

Beyond Old Town - An afternoon in Telliskivi, Tallinn

On the way to Telliskivi Creative City, we passed Depoo, a temporary Soviet Market in an old train depot
Most people head to Tallinn on a day trip from Helsinki - for Finns, it's for the cheap alcohol, bachelorettes and whatnot, and for tourists in the area, it's to see Old Town, Tallinn's UNESCO-listed Medieval town (more about that here). Old Town is very pretty - not that there isn't good stuff there - a lot of the town's best restaurants, important historical features and views are there, but it felt too well-preserved, and too tourist-ready (in that way, it reminded me of Venice). It was a good sign that we should go explore other areas.

One of the old industrial buildings in Telliskivi. This one was empty, but many are in use, leased out to creatives and other independent businesses
One such area is Telliskivi Creative City. Originally earmarked by the government for regeneration and development into a creative hub, this old industrial area was later abandoned as the government couldn't afford it after the 2008 financial crisis. Some private owners then took over, and today, the buildings houses workshops, studios, shops and restaurants. With loads of posters and murals all over the place, in some kind of haphazard, hardly-organised, colourful chaos, it definitely reminded me of a university campus... In the summer, there's a Saturday flea market - the website said they were open in winter as well (moved indoors) but sadly we couldn't find it, so after snapping some pics of the beautiful old warehouses and some wall murals, we headed straight to lunch.

Telliskivi Creative City, building F, which houses F-Hoone restaurant
There are a couple of fairly often talked about restaurants there. One is F-Hoone (in Block F, naturally) and the other is Kivi Paber Käärid (which means rock, paper, scissors).

Red wine braised lamb neck
I'm not usually a health-focused traveller (far from it), but because we were still doing The RASA Challenge (more or less an elimination diet), and G had just found that he has coeliac genes, we were pretty keen on Kivi Paber Käärid, a restaurant that bills itself as 100% gluten-free. On top of being gluten-free, the menu is clearly marked with other common dietary requirements, eg. lactose-free, casein-free, vegan.

Chicken and chickpea purée
The food was hearty and the portions substantial. Given that they also have a pretty big alcohol menu, I don't think I'd be far wrong calling it gastropub-y. We both had dishes where meat was the focal point, but there were always plenty of veg. One look outside at all the snow though, and you'd realise it's pretty limited in terms of leafy greens. We had loads of carrots, beets, shallots and garlic, however. As a carb-obsessive, I was totally ok with that.

At Depoo, train carriages at the old terminus have been converted into pop-up shops while Balti Jaama Turg, next door, undergoes refurbishment
Despite an unsuccessful search for the Telliskivi flea market, on the way back into the city centre, we passed the so-called "Soviet" market Balti Jaama Turg, which was under renovation, but a temporary market Depoo, had been set up in the old train depot next door. I'm not sure what a "Soviet" market is, but this temporary version reminded me of the many open-air or semi-open air local markets in China, selling everything from raw meat to underwear. There seemed to be some second-hand goods, but they weren't very interesting. Plus, everything was crazily priced - most likely meant to be a starting point for haggling. We didn't see anything particularly interesting, so we saved our Euros and (warm) breaths and carried on with our walk back into town along the old train tracks.

Kivi Paber Käärid
Telliskivi 60a
Building C4
+372 600 3626
Open: lunch and dinner daily

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