This spring, the café-restaurant Vana Toomas welcomed a new head chef, Karl Ever.
We gave Karl a few months to settle in before turning our attention to his approach to food and flavors.
One of the key takeaways from our conversation was that Karl values the use of quality ingredients above all else. It’s worth noting that Karl has had the privilege to cater for a Dubai prince!
For a closer look, read on.
Here he is – our new head chef, Karl Ever
Karl Ever joined the team at Vana Toomas in May 2023. Karl brings with him extensive and diverse experience in the culinary field. Additionally, Karl has a deep passion for traveling. According to him, he has been active and athletic throughout his entire life.
“I enjoy exploration, experimentation, trying out new things, and immersing myself in experiences. As an interesting fact about me – I once had a pet tarantula,” Karl says in an introduction.
What is your culinary background like?
“I’ve worked as a chef in Estonia, Sweden, and Spain. In total, I have over 12 years of experience in the culinary field. In Tallinn, I’ve worked in several restaurants in the Old Town but also in catering.
I’ve gained a lot of experience under the guidance of Dmitri Rooz and Herkki Ruubel. While working in Spain, I also had the opportunity to cater for a Dubai prince, which was a truly exciting experience.”
What is your connection to Estonian cuisine?
“I have a great appreciation for Estonian local ingredients. When I came to Vana Toomas, one of my first tasks was to assess the ingredients. I enjoy preparing traditional dishes using new and exciting techniques.
One thing that came with me to Vana Toomas is the commitment to offering Estonian-inspired cuisine, but doing it in a new and exciting way, thereby creating taste experiences for both locals and tourists,” promises Karl.
What is your signature touch that you always strive to add to your dishes?
“Certainly, it’s how I prepare a particular dish and the use of ingredients and flavors. I never take the easy way out; instead, I aim to offer the best. I enjoy combining flavors that people haven’t tried before.
In the new menu, each dish will have its own character. Sauces, creams, and purees – everything we serve on the plate is deliberate, and nothing ends up there by accident,” says Karl.
How big is your team?
“In Vana Toomas, we have a fantastic and great team. The team spirit is excellent, and we’ve established a strong synergy. In the kitchen, there are a total of five of us, and we have a great atmosphere because everyone has a clear understanding about their roles.
Generally, I’m quite demanding when it comes to my staff. I hold high standards for service as well.
Every feedback, including negative comments, is valuable because there’s always something to learn from.”
From autumn onwards, Vana Toomas will introduce a new menu. What will change?
“We are indeed approaching autumn with an entirely new and exciting menu, which you can come and try starting from September 1st.
When you compare Vana Toomas’ previous menu with the new autumn menu, it’s like comparing night and day.
Along with the menu, we have also revamped our service and how we present our dishes.
The food must not linger in the kitchen for too long, it has to reach the table at the right time, together for the entire party, and as fresh as possible,” explains Karl.
What guided your choices in creating the new menu?
“When putting together the new menu, our primary focus was on utilizing local flavors, seasonal vegetables, and Estonian forest produce as much as possible. The menu selection will be rich. In the new menu, we’ve also considered those who seek a restaurant experience and want to broaden their taste horizons – after all, that’s why people come to a restaurant,” says head chef Karl.
“In selecting the dishes, we took into account the upcoming cold autumn-winter season. You’ll find both hot soups and satisfying, warming main courses on our menu.
We still have classic favorites, such as pork belly with sautéed cabbage, now presented in a slightly updated form,” he adds.
Which are your personal favorites?
“It’s difficult to pick one favorite because they are all intriguing to me. However, I must mention the roe deer tartare, which comes with exciting sides. For instance, it features homemade rice crisps and paprika mayonnaise, which we prepare freshly on-site.”
“I believe that the wild boar stew will also become a hit. It’s slow-cooked and looks very appetizing. This dish comes with some exciting effects; for instance, it’s served at the table with smoke. Be sure to come and try our breakfast menu, where you can find both savory and sweet options.”
What dessert from the new menu would you recommend?
“When it comes to something sweet, I would recommend trying the bolete crème brûlée.”
“It might be of a surprise that you can make dessert from mushrooms, but I assure you, it can be done, and it’s also very delicious,” says Karl.
Are there any changes in the group menu as well?
“Just like in the regular menu, we have updated the ingredients and sauces for group dining as well. In the group menu, we do still offer some old favorites.”
Now the dishes have an even more authentic flavor because the ingredients form the foundation for better taste.
If the group is larger than 30 guests, we can also offer the spaces of our sister restaurant for group dining, which can accommodate over 200 guests,” adds Karl.
What would you recommend to Estonians and tourists visiting Tallinn’s Old Town?
Tallinn’s Old Town has a wonderful atmosphere that’s worth visiting time and time again. If you’re looking for a great dining experience in the Old Town, I would definitely recommend paying us a visit at Town Hall Square.
In Vana Toomas, visitors have the opportunity to enjoy a modern yet locally inspired menu. As a bonus, there’s the unique location of Vana Toomas and its cozy interior, which you can come and explore every day. Vana Toomas’ new menu provides delightful culinary experiences for both locals and tourists.
In the autumn-winter menu, you’ll find delicate, spicy, and hearty flavors, and there’s definitely something suitable for everyone, confirms Karl.
Vana Toomas has been given a fresh start.
Vana Toomas Restaurant on Tallinn’s Town Hall Square has been given a new start, including a change of head chef, and the restaurant’s interior has also received a makeover.
Vana Toomas restaurant can accommodate up to 54 guests – 20 on the first floor and 34 on the second floor.
For birthdays and other events, you can rent out the second floor of Vana Toomas, which offers a delightful view of Town Hall Square and where you can enjoy a private evening with your group.
Vana Toomas café-restaurant is located on Town Hall Square, just a short walk from Tallinn’s main attractions and hotels. You can find us at the corner of Town Hall Square and Mündi Street.
We’re excited to see you soon!
You can make a reservation here.