Fire and Smoke

A couple of years ago, NOA Chef’s Hall changed its kitchen radically. Modern kitchen equipment was rejected in favour of a large smoke stove built right in the kitchen, with an open fire hearth next to it. From that point onwards, the dishes at the NOA Chef’s Hall are born in smoke and fire. And it these elements provide an endless fount of inspiration. Doused in liquid pork fat melted over open fire, beef and venison cook into a melt-in-the-mouth dish within seconds. Wine bottles are opened by cracking their neck with tongs heated bright in the coals. These rustically brutal activities take place in a modern, minimalist, yet comfortable atmosphere. This coarse showmanship is the culmination of tens of hours of preparation, the best know-how and skills in Estonia. It is no secret that eye-catching new dishes (or at least their ideas) are quickly copied by other, less creative restaurants. The flavours and ideas originating from the NOA are often encountered elsewhere in Estonia and occasionally even in neighbouring countries. This does not overly bother the NOA’s young staff, since the restaurant makes a point of looking onwards – never back. And thus, the guests’ tasting menu experience (since the NOA offers a single set menu) is often complemented by a taste of something that is still in development. Furthermore, it is always interesting to see the drinks. Tiny, occasionally experimental drinks are an everyday sight. Only the reply to the only question that the guest, charmed by the back story of the concoction, can think of asking – “How do you even come across these drinks?” – is different every time. Fire, smoke and hard work have made the NOA the internationally most renowned Estonian restaurant in the span of a handful of years.