Monday, February 23, 2015

Der Elefant

Der Elefant was suggested by a number of people in Warsaw, so a visit was basically inevitable.

The decor is a mix of minimalist and vintage industrial. 

The canard cassis was pretty great. As I joked, some mallard for the Allard. 

I don't usually order dessert...

But, the Manfred (Lemon sorbet and vodka) sounded too good to pass up on. 

With a nice little espresso it was fantastic, 

Light and tart! 

naturally a digestiv followed 

great dinner! 

Old town lunch at U Barssa

A walk through the Old Town of Warsaw, on a sunny day is a beautiful thing. 

After a little bit of shopping, and a couple hours roaming the Nowy Swiat, some food was seriously in order. I was sort of in the mood for Italian, so we walked around looking at the menu's. This place had pasta, So, quite frankly, that was good enough for me, 

Also, I did not order pasta. 

U Barssa had four kinds of perogy on the menu. We debated between 3 of them (the mushroom and sauerkraut was a no go, since I don't like mushroom and Denise doesn't like sauerkraut), and the waitress told us that she would bring us a mix. 

This was not what I was expecting... 

These are basically the fanciest effing perogies that I have ever had. 

at 11-2 are the meat perogies, stuffed with braised meat and spices. 

3-6 are the Russian style perogies with potatoes and cheese, topped with the most amazing caramelized onions. 

7-10 are spinach and feta. Simply amazing. 

They were all so perfect and flavourful. Please note the pretty lower in the middle of the plate, and the blossoms scattered around the edge of the plate. Yeah, the food was super schmancy looking, but it was more than just nice to look at. This food was seriously amazing. 

I ordered Beef Cheeks with thyme, pureed potatoes and veggies. 

(and flowers)

The meat could have been cut with the stem of a delicate little flower. The flavour was so perfect, and the meat was cooked perfectly. 

Denise blew my mind, and ordered the Polish tenderloin with green peppercorn sauce. 

I may have helped myself to a bite. 

I think that it is the worst thing when you take a bits of something and taste that the sauce is from a jar/can/packet and feel that sense of utter disappointment? 
This was just the opposite. That euphoria that comes when you experience a dish that has the sauce that is just right... sometimes, knowing that there is someone in the kitchen who cares enough to make something this delectable... its just fantastic.

Obviously, in high traffic/tourist areas there are a lot of restaurants that can get away with serving overpriced slop. Naturally we agree to the price of the dish when we order it, never truly knowing what if going to end up on the plate in front of you. We assume 'Hey, it's Europe! It's gotta be good', but that is sadly a pretty hit or miss assumption. 

The view was lovely, looking over the ice skaters. 

And of course, more walking through the old town was necessary after all of that rich food. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cuisine from the Republic of Georgia

Ever since Saveur published 'Everlasting Feast: Food in the Republic of Georgia.' I have been fascinated with the cuisine. I cooked most of the recipes from the issue, and was happy with the results. But, tonight I had the opportunity to eat at a Georgian restaurant in Warsaw.

Everything that we ordered was simply amazing. 

The food was simple, but the way that the flavours complimented one another... I can't even explain it. Your just have to try it yourself...or at least check out a few pics. 

For appetizer we ordered Hachapuree. Which the English translation on the menu stated was, ' Round yeast pie filled with different kinds of cheese.'  I have to admit that they lost me a little there with that whole 'yeast pie,' business, but when the waiter brought it out... it was just heavenly. It was warm, soft and came with a tomato sauce that stank to high heaven of garlic (so, obvs amazing). The crust was Lefse- thin and browned.  the cheese at that perfect place where it isn't solid, but isn't oozing all over he place either. It was salty, savoury and dare I say yeasty? 

I also tried a Spinach Ball. Spinach, walnuts, cilantro and pomegranate. 
I know, it looks just like what you would get when opening a frozen box of chopped spinach. 
That may be true, but this thing was a flavour bomb! 
It was bright, had great texture and the perfect balance of saltiness. 

Next, came the main course. 
I ordered pork stew with Georgian spices or Chashusulee. It was once again
super flavourful, the meat could be cut with a spoon it was so tender. It almost tasted like it would be at home on a taco. None of the ubiquitous cumin flavour; just peppers, salt, garlic and cilantro. 

My dinner companion for the evening ordered Hinkalee.  Traditional dumplings with minced meat and broth. And yes, don't worry. I made sure to point out to her on more than one occasion the anatomical resemblance of these meaty little dumplings. 

The restaurant also had a small selection of very reasonable priced wine. 
The restaurant, Guamarjos (Which means 'victory'), is located in southern Warsaw.
Its a bit of a hike to get there, but is most certainly worth the trip. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Red Hog/Czerwony Wieprz

This Month I am in Warsaw for work, Naturally (as one does), I had researched a lot about the city, and the restaurants before we flew over. The city of Warsaw is very beautiful in its own way. It is a collage of gorgeous architecture interspersed with grey, utilitarian brick structures. The Old Town is a little touristy, but being a tourist that's perfectly ok with me. 'The Old Town' is not actually that much older than any of the other buildings in Wasrsaw. During WWII, the city was reduced to a pile of rubble, An Italian Painter, Bernardo Belotto, was an artist who painted cityscapes. Much of what was rebuilt in the old town was based on the paintings that Bellotto had made of the city. Much of the city's history is very grim, but isn't it just fantastic that instead of just throwing up some boring buildings, time was taken to rebuild the city similar to how it had been before. 

After a great foot screamer of a walk around the city, we headed out to dinner at the Red Hog. It was one of the placed that was recommended online and by everyone who had been there. The food is polish is spirit, but hardly typical. 
Naturally, beer happened. 

I have found that people here are very proud of Zywiec beer. Practically every time i have ordered a beer, they ask if you're sure you don't want a polish beer instead. 

The Red Hog had carpaccio on the menu, and as a creature of habit/obsession/OMG, Carpaccio!, I ordered it. Not sure what it is, but I just love the stuff. This one was a bit different in that it had Parmesan as well as goat cheese, and green and black olives instead of just capers. 

2 of my colleagues ordered this chicken cutlet, stuffed with butter and mushrooms and butter and butter. 

Also, the pork cutlet with cucumber salad. 

Naturally, I ordered this. I mean, if theres a venison shank on the menu with festive shoots sticking out of the bone, count. me. in. It was served with celery root puree and some jus. I was honestly torn about whether to get this or not, but it was on the February menu, so I figured it wouldn't last forever, go for it now. 

Desserts were pretty great, This was a meringue cake on a fruit star

And this is a fruit star on creme brulee 

Zabaglione with currant coffee puree. 

Oh yeah, and vodka happened too. 

On another note, in the entry way of the restaurant, there are photos of celebrities who have eaten there. Bruce Willis is heavily featured. We asked how we get on the picture wall and they told us, ' You just gotta come in with Bruce Willis. Well him or Chuck Norris. We like him too.'

So. Bruce (Or Chuck), next time you're heading to Cielony Wierpz, let us know (assuming it is in the month of February). We'll order a 5 Liter of beer, and finally get our picture on the wall.