“When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” This saying served us well in Warsaw, where hours after the harrowing flight and subsequent stranding, we were already thinking of how to best make use of our time in the city. This meant a few interesting sights and naturally, some good food.
Our new friend from LO 016 pointed us to Polka, a traditional Polish restaurant operated by Magda Gessler. A prolific restaurateur with many successful restaurants under her belt, she is the Warsaw version of Costes Brothers, though Polka’s decor, all wood and floral prints, definitely veers more towards farmhouse chic than hip-hop flash.
The menu itself is also composed of simple, home-style recipes that have been refined by the kitchen. Consider the plate of pierogis, thoughtfully split into plates of trios so each of us got a taste of the different fillings. The dumpling skin was thin and toothsome, not thick and leaden, and the fillings, though a tad salty, was delicious, especially the slightly pickled cabbage and mushroom one.
Our choice of mains was pork-centric. My plate of stuffed rolled pork was a reverse cabbage roll of sorts, the thin layer of meat encasing an even thinner layer of ham and slivered vegetables, the ham flavoring the roll, the vegetables cooking in their own juices, the meat sealing all that delicious juice from escaping until the roll is cut and served. The side of kasha (buckwheat) is a traditional staple for the Poles. Judging from the heavy dose of bacon bits and peppercorns, we were not eating the peasant’s version.
The pan-fried pork chop is described on the menu as Warsaw’s favorite pork chop. It was indeed thick and juicy albeit a little mundane in terms of flavor. So was it also Warsaw’s best pork chop? We don’t know, since we didn’t try any of its competition, but I suspect there might be other more distinguished specimens out there.
Throughout dinner, the service was casual and warm. Though prices are on the high side for Warsaw, the homey environs, deluxe comfort food and seductively smooth shots of vodka was just what the doctor ordered.
Świętojańska 2 Warsaw, Poland