“ Type: Brazilian & Mediterranean / Address: Raekojaplats / Kinga 1 / Tallinn / Estonia / Tel: +372 644 65 05 „
I probably wasn't paying attention when we went to Bossanova in Tallinn because I totally failed to spot that it was supposed to be a Brazilian restaurant. It might have been the cold or the ridiculously early start we'd had flying over that morning but I wasn't very alert. If I'd known it was Brazilian then you wouldn't have seen me within a mile of this place even though I have long hankered for the opportunity to write a review entitled 'Going for a Brazilian' it really isn't my cuisine of choice. I sometimes eat at a Brazilian place in Portugal and I am always wound up by the 'dead animal on a skewer' approach and the 'there's no such thing as too much meat' philosophy really doesn't appeal to my fishitarian way of life.
Fortunately I didn't know that the restaurant was supposed to be Brazilian so I wasn't stopped from enjoying a pleasant lunch at this restaurant, right on the Town Hall Square in the heart of Tallinn's Old Town. The name didn't tip me off and neither did the menu. The music and décor gave no clues either. We were cold, thirsty and hungry and as we stood in the snow in the middle of the square we took a totally random decision to head into this restaurant.
Folklore will tell you that Tallinn's supposed to be really cheap city to visit so we didn't bother to look at the prices before we went in. As it turned out, neither the restaurant nor the city was a cheap as legend suggests.
We weren't really intending to go to Bossanova - we were lured in by the name 'Fellini' on the outside of the building which is a pretty good guarantee that it's going to be Italian and by the urge for pizza but as we stepped into the building, we were diverted off to the ground floor (Bossanova) and didn't make it up the stairs to Fellini. Whether the two are connected or not, I'm not sure but they certainly share a building.
We were shown into a bright room with tall windows looking onto the square and offered a table away from the windows. Yes, I'd have preferred to sit in the window but I wasn't in the mood to argue. I'd lost all blood supply to my feet an hour or so earlier due to the cold weather and anywhere warm was good enough for me. I took a seat on the banquette whilst my husband took a chair opposite and the waiter arrived with the menus. We asked for two beers and spent some time browsing the menu (with a firm focus on the pizzas). The waiter brought over a dish of little bread chips that were so intensely flavoured with garlic that we knew we'd stink all weekend. However we also knew our nasal membranes would be frozen into inactivity the moment we stepped out into the cold again. You could have walked us through a sewage farm at minus 3 degrees and we'd not have smelled a thing.
Looking around the restaurant my husband commented on the difficulty of trying to maintain a stripped wood floor in a country where customers tread snow and salt into it all winter. He's a practical chap my hubby but he was right - the floor did look a real mess. There was a brightly lit bar area across the room and round the corner I caught site of a fish tank. I'm kicking myself now because when I checked the restaurant website after we got home, it wasn't JUST a fish tank. It's actually a ten thousand litre aquarium complete with Estonia's only shark which must (I assume) be a pretty titchy and rather lonely little fella.
We sipped our large dark beers and selected pizzas. I chose an Olive Nere (black olive) and my husband chose a Quattro Formaggi. This was no surprise as he always takes a four cheese pizza if it's an available option and often asks even if it isn't on the menu. The menu is priced in both EEKs (Estonian Crowns) and in Euros and the pizzas were eleven and thirteen euros respectively. This was not the mega-bargain dining that the city's supposedly famous for, but pretty standard UK-level prices. Never mind, this was one of the most scenic places in the city so we didn't care.
If we hadn't already been determined to have pizzas, the menu also included a range of pasta dishes, meat and fish, salads and soups. The list of speciality dishes gave no particular hint of Brazilian origins either so I suspect that the Bossanova at lunch time is just a pretty standard Mediterranean style restaurant but perhaps it perks up in the evenings with music and dancing.
After about 15 minutes the pizza arrived. I don't let myself have pizza very often so it's always a treat when I do. Each pizza was about 12 or 13 inches across, reminding me of an old LP record in size. The base was thin and crispy which is just how I like it but the topping, whilst it was nice, became a bit samey very quickly. Tomato base, cheese and black olives - that's it. After you've eaten about a third of it there's not a lot of surprise still to come. At least with four cheeses you've got a bit of variety. Nice as it was I was getting a bit bored about half way through as well as extremely stuffed.
We lingered over the last few bites of our meal and the last few sips of beer to put off the eventuality of having to go back out in the snow but when there was nobody left in the place we couldn't put it off any longer. The bill came to just over £30 which wasn't cheap by local standards but we'd had a very pleasant time with great views. Other diners had been offered a 'loyalty' discount card if they wanted to come back but the waiter just didn't bother with us. However, with so many restaurants in the city we were unlikely to go back for a second time.