Tallinn is located a mere 82 kilometers from Helsinki, so it’s no surprise that there’s a delicious Scandinavian bakery in the Estonian capital. Røst is the kind of bakery that’s so good, it’s worth visiting two days in a row. And that’s exactly what I did.
First, let’s be clear about one thing: Røst isn’t an Estonian bakery. Not even a little bit. But that’s perfectly ok because the bakery’s offerings are spectacular. The front service counter, directly at the entrance, entices visitors with an array of freshly baked pastries. Truth be told, it’s hard to get just one. The counter is lined with beautiful carby gems like cardamom buns, cinnamon buns, lemon poppyseed marzipan swirls, croissants, pain au chocolat, cheese buns, and sweet and savoury tarts.
While visiting Estonia and Latvia over 5 days, I quickly learned that most of the best food places are not located in the historic centre at all. In fact, many of the eateries I visited were located just outside the old town borders, in neighbourhoods that are clearly frequented by locals more than tourists. Røst is located in the Rotermann quarter, east of Tallinn’s old town, but it’s very close and very accessible. The Rotermann district is a newly renovated complex of former industrial buildings that have been given a new lease on life. In fact, Røst is housed in what used to be a flour mill, on a lane known as “Stalker’s passage” next to several restaurants, cafes, and bars.
I decided to go to Røst for my first breakfast in Tallinn. It was a rainy Monday morning which required some holiday comfort eating. I arrived by 9am to a quiet bakery with a gorgeous open plan. While enjoying a coffee and pastries, you can watch the bakery staff busy at work weighing dough, shaping cinnamon buns, and glazing pastries. The bakers are swift, skilled, and they make their craft look effortless. It’s wonderful to watch!
For my first order, I opted for a latte, a ham and cheese tart, and a cardamom bun. The coffee was a lot larger than I expected, but I wasn’t complaining because the flavour was lovely. Røst uses specialty coffee from local roasters, and this is evident in the quality of the coffee. On to the food… The ham and cheese tart was a surprise winner! I didn’t know how amazing it would be until I took my first bite. The tart shell is made of Røst’s own buttery and flakey croissant pastry – sheer perfection. The tart was filled with a sweet apricot jam (I think), thinly sliced salty ham, and goat’s cheese. The sweet and salty pairing was – as you’d expect – immensely satisfying! Be sure to get this if you visit! I absolutely loved this tart.
Of course, the cardamom bun was delightful as well! Røst’s bakers seem to have perfected the recipe for Scandinavian buns. The dough is incredibly fresh, the flavour of cardamom spice came through in every bite, and the texture was the right balance between soft and chewy. Having enjoyed my choices so much, I felt that I needed to get more. So I finished with a lemon curd tart. Again, the croissant pastry shell is genius. Definitely a good decision to fit in another treat!
As time passed while I enjoyed my treats, the bakery filled with eager customers. By 10am, there was a line up at the counter and most of the seats had been claimed. Getting to Røst early is definitely key to having a calm bakery experience. I returned the next day a bit later, around 11:30am and the bakery was entirely full. Thanks to some fortuitous timing, I only just managed to get a seat. The good news is that Røst knows that their products are in high demand, so they still had plenty of pastries to go around.
This time I ordered a loose leaf green tea and a lemon poppyseed marzipan swirl. Marzipan is popular in the Baltics and I was keen to get this treat because I don’t often see marzipan pastries. I’m really glad I did because this bun was delicious! So soft, fresh, and flavourful. The marzipan flavour was evident without being too overpowering. This is a unique treat, which I recommend trying since I haven’t encountered it before (and I’ve done my fair share of bakery touring)! I also picked up another ham and cheese tart (I couldn’t resist), a cinnamon bun, and a half sandwich to take with me on my 5 hour bus journey to Riga later that afternoon.
Firstly, the cinnamon bun was INCREDIBLE. Easily one of the best I’ve ever had. I dare say I liked it more than the cardamom bun, but that could be because I’m generally addicted to cinnamon and put it on most things. Nonetheless, you should absolutely try the cinnamon bun. I wish I could teleport to get one right now! Secondly, the sandwich was really, really, really good. The fillings were complementary – soft cheese, tomato, and hummus – but the homemade sourdough bread stole the show. This bread, THIS DAMN BREAD… one of the best sourdough slices I’ve been lucky enough to eat. The crumb of the bread was soft, airy, lightly chewy. I could snack on this plain bread alone. It was that good! If I lived in Tallinn, I’d be buying Røst’s sourdough loaves regularly. A truly exquisite sourdough!
As you can see, visiting Røst twice was very worthwhile and this bakery gets a glowing Pinchables recommendation. The high quality of the baked goods, the memorable textures and flavours, and the reasonable prices make Røst a must visit. If you like the look of this bakery, you’ll probably like my other bakery finds, including Aran Bakery in Scotland, Juno the Bakery in Copenhagen, and Butter Brothers in Budapest. Enjoy the virtual bakery tour and let me know if you visit any of my recommended locations!
- Closed on Sundays
- Visit before 9:30am to enjoy a quiet moment before the rush
- Buy one of everything, including the sourdough bread