Beatrice and Priit have been busy, working hard to decorate, organise and prepare the space – nAnO – to surrender their homecooked food for locals and visitors to Tallinn. A feeling of intimacy and originality is immediately upon you, in the former Buddhist centre of Tallinn who moved to larger premises. The shamanistic psychedelic decor mixes seamlessly with the high fashion elements in this homely nirvana of taste, smells and sensations. An experience that is unique in the increasing glossy competiveness of the trendy eateries that burst forward only to wither in their own over stylised and fussy presentation and prices. nAnO is a breath of clear clean air, done with vision and care leaving satisfied tummies and pockets. Between trialing new recipes, juggling motherly attentions and booking models, Beatrice took some time to paint a picture of the inception and realisation of Tallinn old town’s best kept secret.
I believe it came when we saw the house and understood it was the house for us, to live here and this little idea for the restaurant. nAnO came up two years ago when we went to Milan where I lived before and had a lot of friends, for Priit it was the first time, and my friends, they took us to many different good places to eat, one place had the best pizza in Milano and there was a short man, Nano, doing really great pizza. It’s funny, the Italians, they call in a sweet way someone who is small, Nano. It’s also because we checked many different possibilities, it was clear the name should be short, understandable, and readable in at least 3 languages living here, so Russian, Estonian and English. nAnO.
I have always liked to eat, especially from when I was 20, everybody was surprised how much I eat without getting fat, even more than the men around me, but I never cooked, I only started when I met Priit, before in my marriages I never had any interest but when I met Priit it came out, the wish to cook. It’s a pity that when I worked in a NY restaurant I didn’t have the possibility to be down in the kitchen with the guys, because they were doing such great food, at least I remember the taste and how it looked. It was a little, but famous restaurant where I was doing the hosting, bar work, running around a lot, learning how to serve and be with people and the food was delicious, it was a great experience. Here in Tallinn you just go to some new place, or not so new place, and the main unpleasant thing that can happen to you is that the serving people, you can see that they don’t like to do this, they force themselves, and they don’t enjoy it, so they are slow, sometimes they don’t see you and usually they know nothing about the food if you ask, or if it’s possible to do it in a different way. Not many places will they know or go and ask how it can be done. And this is something from the NY restaurant, we were running like crazy. So it’s about how much you like what you are doing. I remember one period me and one other girl, also Beatrice, she was French, so beautiful, a waitress, she was gone however pretty fast beacuse she went around like, “I am so beautiful”, feeling imprortant herself and not feeling the people were important, so I learned this and many other things while working abroad. And of course atmosphere, from Milan, it was a lot about atmosphere, the owner, family, the people working, very friendly, ready to help you and this is so cool and what generally is missing.
One day we went to Firenze,walking, walking and then we decided we had to have lunch. And we could feel the touristic sense of the centre, and looking at one place then another, it’s just for tourists. Then I saw one store – a fabric design place – so I walked in and asked, “can you help us find somewhere to eat, where are you guys eating?” She was laughing saying “You are in the wrong city”, but then said some directions, so off we went through the streets and found it somehow. It was packed, lots of local people, even on the streets waiting to get inside. Right away we felt it was the right place, so we waited more than half an hour, it was obviously a family business, they gave funny wine in funny glasses, everyone screaming, but very cool, finally our space came and then everything was just great. I really miss those kind of places here.
Beatrice. Well I think it is like believing in the food that we are doing, all the time when we were eating somewhere, some pasta in Tallinn, Pritt was all the time saying the same thing,”You are doing it better, you are doing it better”, so there are many pastas I know how to do, not necessarily in the right way but…. And then it’s also these different soups we have been doing for years and then, you know, recipes came from tv shows, some magazines or someone showed us something and some from my childhood, many things.
Beatrice. Easily. With love. How I understand the high prices they come from the investments, if the places invest a lot of money then they don’t have a chance, they have to put some high prices, we are lucky that we are not in that situation. We invest love.
You know, what I like to eat sometimes is just some hot boiled potatos with a piece of butter and sea salt and some herring and some slice of onion and maybe a shot of vodka. I mean it’s the easiest thing to have, but really good. There are many different things I like to eat, what I like to cook, it’s the same recipes, but for me it’s more like the creating, some process, I usually don’t remember half the things that have to go in, I mean it’s all about some spices, some extra things what I add. Even in the borsch I add some different things, it’s a little messsy, I should write down everything I am doing… and then next day I don’t remember how I did it, I know the base but…
Beatrice. So far we have been practicing the same menu, our borsch, pirozkis and salads, and the people like it, we can see that from the plates, from 16 people then only on one you will find something left in the bowl, they have been eating it to the end. The warm salad is popular, and what many people say is that everything is OK, but you serve too much, the portions are too big.
Beatrice. The challenges are mainly still to come, this is about new recipes and food, I want to learn, I have a great book from 1952, a famous Soviet Union cookbook, which I still have not had time to do more things from, I’m really a beginner with a little menu of things I am doing. And of course another challenge is to know about the ingredients, where they come from, the milk, I want to know the face of the cow it comes from, this is our dream, a selection of good things, the best coffee, chocolate (well these we have already) the best wines, cheeses etc.
Beatrice. Well the furniture, Priit was hunting in Osta.ee (a portal for selling allsorts) because we didn’t have the ability to buy all new everything, so we decided to get old chairs, very simple, and we decided to colour and paint the chairs ourselves and with our friends, so every piece now has a little story. Like the green dresser, Priit was restoring for one and a half months and he gave it a name, Rosalee, and in the end I painted the Rosalee lady on that. And there is a big table Priit’s brothers did with his hands. His brother is great and has helped us a lot, he has golden hands, able to do many things. And there is the painting from our native American friend Katy Wittman, Elk woman, she does jewelry and sculpture, so she is very talented and is a great person. Only in July did we have the possibility to get all the furniture. Our friends the native Indians were living downstairs, instead of the restaraunt there were 6 beds. And Katy, she started the painting on the first table, blue, and then our friend wanted to start on the bar but couldn’t. Elk woman, she just began laughing teasing us to get started and she gave us the fire, something to get going, this creative part began with her. Even Priit painted 3 chairs really great, even though he said before that he can’t draw. And we had so many photos and pictures, so much to hang, it’s endless the process, funny how you hang some pictures on a wall and colour another wall and then realise you have to colour another wall and so on…
Priit. In the beginning we make sure the food we serve is naturally grown, in that we buy it from the farmers, but later we realise we have to have our own farm, the cabbages, carrots, meat, everything we have is our own, we know where it is from, you have everything supplied by yourself, this is our idea. Right now it’s important that the human who is behind our food is trustable. But we want total control in the future over what’s going on in the farm and how it’s grown, everything we are selling.
Is life too serious to be taken seriously? Favourite animal is a dog, called Harry the Lurcher. Now somewhere in space.
Большое спасибо :) Совершенно чудесная место, вот она, кофейня”Кофейная гуща” Макса Фрая! :)
indeed. has nicely captured the colourful essence..
Grate work from Bagrat Kuprashvili