U kucharzy in Warsaw (Ossolińskich 7) is second on my list of favourite restaurants in Europe so I was really pleased and excited when I accidentally found out that they have opened their London branch recently as well.
I was hoping finally to find food that would really taste like proper Polish food and that would be good enough to serve to the growing number of my international friends who want me to take them to eat something from my native country.
Daquise, established in 1947, was a Polish institution in London for almost 65 years. This tiny place hidden in a forgotten corner close to South Kensington (20 Thurloe Street) has seen many generations of emigrants looking for flavours they remembered from home. Roman Polański used to come here while filming in London and apparently it was also a favourite spot of Soviet spies to discuss business.
Today Daquise is owned by the Gessler family and has been transformed to follow the same concept as its older sister in Warsaw – simple Polish dishes served to you by chefs in a place you wouldn’t call fancy.
All works for me perfectly, I like that I am invited to a kind of culinary theatre and I don’t mind following the game that the waiters, cooks and owners play with the customers. Especially, when the food is so good! I had a problem to decide what to choose as I honestly wanted to try everything from the card. Next time I will have to go for the tasting menu option – 19.90£ for lunch and 39£ for dinner.
The menu is split between daytime and evening options.
There is a really wide selection of cold and warm starters with their steak tartare (claimed to be world famous), pierogi (including my favourite with mushrooms and cabbage), nóżki w galarecie (pork legs in aspic) and less famous Polish specialities like grasica (veal thymus in cognac sauce) or kaszanka (barley sausage fried with apples, onions and marjoram – I think this would be my father’s favourite).
Fans of żurek (rye-based soup) will not be disappointed and there are few other delicious Polish soups available.
And for the main course you can choose between gołąbki (leaves of Savoy cabbage stuffed with veal and rice), pulpety (meat balls) or even roasted hare. Everything served with typical Polish side dishes.
Not many options for vegetarians, Polish cuisine is basically meat based, but the chefs say on their website they would be happy to discuss vegetarian options if needed.
It’s a pity the kitchen is not open as it is in Warsaw but I liked the rough décor and charm of the place. A dream place for a photographer but I must have concentrated too much on my food and forgot to take the photos. I guess this is not a bad sign!
You will definitely be able to find me at U Kucharzy in London from time to time!
Anyone knows other good Polish restaurants abroad? I would love to hear from you – just leave your comments below.