The Restoran Vinoteek Prelude doesn’t look inviting from the outside, maybe because it looks like a construction site while I was there, but it has good recommendations online. There is actually not so much in Kuressaare which I wanted to try. So even though it looks dark from the outside as well as the inside, I try my luck and am happy to get the last table. And really all evening long people come in and try to get a table.
Since oysters are on the menu I decide to give them a try. I haven’t had any since at least six years ago and then I had them fresh right from the sea at the Ston Oyster Festival in Croatia. So I don’t know what came over me, but I just wanted to see if I still like them. From the three listed kinds two are available and I order both of them. I tried the Speciale Gillardeau nr. 3 and the Speciale de Claire Marennes nr. 3. I have no idea what the names mean and if they tell you anything about size, origin, or anything else. As a oyster rookie the only thing that counts is the taste.
I really loved the Special Claire which had a very fresh taste and muscular flesh while the Gillardeau was a bit on the mushy side. Not sure if that is what is good about it, but I liked the Claire one better. The oysters are served in a Martini glass on ice with a slice of lemon and horse radish on the side. I ate them with just a sprinkle of lemon.
The amuse gueule which was probably just meant as bread and butter was excellent. A slice of warm bread with dill butter and with pink pepper. Wow! That was really good.
I decided to order the catch of the day which is pike perch (apparently a really popular fish in Estonia). Fish in a place with a sea port is always a wise choice. The owner recommends it as a filet which is the usual way to serve it, but whatever. He also tells me that he has fresh chanterelle available, so I go with them as well.
The fish comes and looks rather dark and unappealing. Thank goodness it tastes way better than it appears. The color comes from browned butter and the fish has a slightly nutty taste. The chanterelle must have been roasted in the same butter. The salad on the side has a great dressing and with the couple of small potatoes this makes an excellent dish. Still it does look very dark.
On recommendation of the owner I had a glass of Chablis with the oysters and after that I tried a local gin called ‘Aromatic Flower Gin’ from Crafter’s. It won the price of best alcoholic drink of Estonia in 2018. The gin is pink and gets its color from rose hip. As nice as it looks and tastes, this is not going to be a favorite of mine. I’m still more into the juniper taste when it comes to gin. But I am glad that I tried it while in Kuressaare (at the airport then I buy the regular and it’s exactly to my taste).
Looking back the food at Vinoteek Prelude was really lovely and well prepared. The owner is certainly making every effort that I feel welcome, especially since I dine alone. The restaurant would profit from a little make-over though. White table clothes and little bit more light will work wonders here. After all, you want to see the great food that you are eating. Yours, Pollybert
Restoran Vinoteek Prelude
93 816 Kuressaare, Lossi 4
Tel: +372 453 3407