Kohvik Must Puudel – or the Black Poodle Café in English – is a cute place to enjoy a coffee and a bite to eat in Tallinn. Located on a narrow cobblestone street, the café may look small from the outside, but the interior holds several connecting rooms with stone walls, wooden tables, book shelves, and glowing lamps.
I visited Kohvik Must Puudel for my first meal in Tallinn. It went like this: airport -> drop bag at hostel -> lunch. Efficiency is the name of my game and I’m good at it. Though my seamless travel flow was interrupted during my 5 day trip to Tallinn and Riga because I quickly learned that efficient restaurant service isn’t exactly the norm in the Baltics. They get to your order when they get to your order. We just have to accept it.
On a Sunday afternoon, the café was busy with people enjoying food from the breakfast menu. Morning plates include chia pudding, oatmeal porridge, pancake balls, bagels, and eggs Benedict.
My arrival coincided with the start of the lunch menu, which better suited my savoury mid-day cravings. The lunch menu is much more varied than the breakfast menu, with a selection of appetizers, soups, and mains. To give you an idea, Kohvik Must Puudel offers starters like grilled halloumi, beetroot and goat’s cheese salad, beef tataki, and antipasti. The list of main dishes is equally appealing with grilled halibut steak, quinoa risotto, vegan and beef burgers, and pasta.
I opted for the crudo pasta: a dish of Serrano ham, goat cheese, roasted cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, cream and chili. In the words of the waitress, “It’s been on the menu since day one, it’s popular, and it has a bit of spice”. Well, let me tell you, this has way more than a bit of spice!!! The chili level was HIGH, but I survived. And yes, I did enjoy the pasta and its flavourful sauce despite the unexpected heat.
To close my meal on something sweet, I had a double chocolate cookie, which was simple but chocolatey. I would have liked to try one of the more elaborate desserts in the display case, but getting my coffee and lunch took too much time and Tallinn was waiting to be discovered. I simply had to speed up the process with a quick cookie. Thankfully, Tallinn has a strong chocolate and bakery game.
All in all, Kohvik Must Puudel is a lovely place to while away a morning or an afternoon, preferably with no rush. The menu has plenty of clearly labelled gluten-free, lactose-free, vegetarian, and vegan dishes, which is a lovely bonus. The café is also open late for desserts and drinks should your sweet tooth come knocking late in the evening.