Marta’s Café Corner – Café Vincent

French breakfast in Warsaw 

My favourite meal of the day is without a doubt breakfast (and I know that not only mine). Finally, I don’t have to complain about fake croissants in Poland any more. I can have French breakfast every time I want because we have our first French bakery (and café) in Warsaw – Café Vincent (ul. Nowy Świat 64, Warsaw).
It is very small, cute and smells wonderfully. When you enter this lovely place you can smell fresh baguettes, natural sourdough bread, croissants, cakes and every day different desserts (real tarte tatin, creamy cheesecake and chocolate tart are my favourites). With strong espresso, nice company and good weather, it’s the best that you can get for breakfast in our capital city. 

They also offer fresh sandwiches, salads and quiches so it’s also a perfect place for lunch. My usual lunch out is quiche with spinach (or chanterelles) and for dessert something that looks the best at the fridge-window that day, and it’s always a difficult choice. 

Very often we go there during late evenings for fantastic bread and croissants for the next morning, we can never resist trying some on our way home. So from now on we have decided to buy more to leave something for breakfast. Tonight I’ll go to Vincent and get some nice baguettes to eat tomorrow with fresh strawberry jam made by my mum (the best in the world!). 

The most delicious croissants in my life I had at midnight when we got them straight from the oven at Vincent. It was a taste difficult to describe (and tough to forget). Very hot, with very crispy skin and soft filling, dripping with butter and the smell was just mind-blowingly! I always want more than I’m able to eat. 

Bon appétit!
Marta 

 

French croissants, Italian espresso and a Polish paper – perfect breakfast in Warsaw:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Marta 

 

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Sunday brunch

Don’t worry – we are not moving into a cooking blog. I still prefer to write about other people’s cooking actually.

 As last week I couldn’t take photos of my lovely brunch, here it is for you now. No Swiss bread this time, I used rye bread from Le Pain Quotidien instead. In my opinion the best bread in London, which is surprising as it comes from a big chain present probably everywhere in Europe. Plus I saw it in Qatar when I was there last year too. Well, Le Pain Quotidien prove that you don’t have to compromise on quality going big and international.

So scrambled eggs with pancetta and chives on toast is my favourite choice (apart from bacon sandwiches) for Sunday lunch. It reminds me of my father who would prepare it in random parts of the day adding Polish sausage instead of pancetta and lots of fried (or burnt according to my mother) onion.

So mix eggs in a bowl, add chives and spices (don’t add too much salt as there is plenty in pancetta already). You may add some grated parmesan as well. Fry pancetta cubes on a hot pan with some butter (and oil if you want), add egg mixture, stir and if you don’t like your eggs to be too dry switch off the heat half way and just let them rest for few minutes.

Serve on slightly toasted bread (the secret, in my opinion, is to use the best bread possible, not something you can get in a supermarket).

Bon appetite!

Where to start the day

Our favourite breakfast places across Europe

Breakfast is my favourite meal of the day. Maybe because I love mornings. I am sure my university friends must be very surprised reading this but people change!. I like this feeling of everything still being  possible. This is much less likely after noon but before 11:00am things still look bright and I have hopes for finishing what I have planned.

 Yogurt with muesli and fresh blueberries is what I would normally have for my breakfast if I stay at home. With a glass of lemon green tea followed by a (good) espresso on the way to work.

 While I am away I rarely eat breakfast in the hotel (the exception is when I stay at InterContinental in Warsaw as their breakfast, with a view over the Palace of Culture and Science, is just perfect!). I would rather prefer to find a nice little place and eat with locals if possible. And I never ever miss my breakfast, even if it means that I need to wake up quite early as otherwise I will later have problems with finding room for my lunch in countries like France where they close all the restaurants just after 14:30.

The strangest breakfast I have ever had was in Sicily where they eat some kind of crushed ice flavoured with fruit juices or chocolate (this was by far the most popular choice there) served with a piece of white bread roll.

Or in Seville where I was taken by colleagues to a bar at the main train station where we had toasted bread with mashed tomatoes with garlic and their finest olive oil. I was the only one who decided not to follow up with a glass of wine.

 In Krakow  Marta and I  start the day with an espresso and selection of sandwiches in Kolory (ul. Estery 10, Kazimierz). Marta likes getting bagels (obwarzanki krakowskie) for us from nearby street stands, we buy a paper, check emails and observe the world going by.

Marta has moved to Warsaw now and her secret for a nice breakfast there is to go late in the evening to Café Vincent (Nowy Świat 64) where its French owner would bake croissants for the next day so you can get them hot straight from the oven. As far as I know, they don’t always last till the morning ;)

Italy is not the best places for people who would like something substantial for their breakfast. It’s usually a shot of espresso (cappuccino for those who need more ;)) and maybe a small biscuit if you are really hungry. But I would never miss my breakfast while I am in Varese. At Piazza Beccarla 6 of this cute little northern town you can find a pasticceria called Buosi. Most of locals stop there for a brioche (Italian answer to croissants) and buosino (chocolate mixed with coffee and foamed milk and served with a dark chocolate spoon which should be melted in the mixture – could you imagine anything better for your breakfast?).  All eaten in an Italian style – standing at the bar and chatting to people near you.

Finding room for breakfast in Paris is not an easy job. I would usually wake up with a slight tired (can never resist to good French wine) and full stomach after the dinner last night in one of my favourite restaurants and a plan of visiting more of them during the day. But how could you decline fresh croissants, le café and a bit of fromage frais in a little Parisian bistro with a view over the world’s best dressed people (again, sorry to all my Italian friends!). My favourite spot is L’Etoile Manquante (34 rue Vieille-du-Temple). The staff hardly speak English and ignore you in a proper Parisian way. Our main problem is to ask for strawberry jam to go with our croissants (I always insist on strawberry jam with my pastries) but somehow we usually manage using our poor French and lots of pointing. Marais, the district where the bistro is located, is where I spend most of my time while in Paris and I promise to write you more about it very soon.

 Now let’s go for a moment to the south of France and a little town in Provence called Tourrettes-sur-Loup. Hardly visible on maps, we found it by chance when got lost on a way from the coast to Vence during our first trip to Provence. We promised ourselves we would come back there one day and last year we finally did it and stayed in town’s best hotel – Auberge de Tourrettes. Fantastic place, run by Scandinavians who manage to create an atmosphere of real Provence, with everything you would like to find and not the rubbish usually found in touristic places. This was one of the best breakfast experience I have ever had! You already wake up to completely blue sky and a view over hills and Antibes, which would be enough for me even. But then you discover a table full of freshest melons, warm croissants (and yes, strawberry jam is there already!), orange juice, smoked ham, goats cheese… And you eat it all on a terrace undisturbed even by the staff (I suspect they all sneak into their beds again after preparing the breakfast).

Well, enough said that I had 3 croissants for one breakfast there ;)

 In London I like my bacon sandwich in Villandry on Saturday mornings (but for the best bacon sandwich with an egg and an odd mushroom you would need to be invited to our house!). They have free internet there so I can just stay longer writing posts for my blog.

 And if you find yourself at Heathrow Terminal 5 early in the morning don’t hesitate to try Gordon Ramsey’s Plane Food – I think I wouldn’t mind arriving a bit early for my flight for the pleasures of eating their freshly baked pastries or porridge with apples and cinnamon.

 I hope I made you hungry already ;)

 Today, as well as my usual yogurt I had scrambled eggs with fresh chives and pancetta on Swiss bread (I always bring some while I am in Switzerland) . I wanted to take a picture for you but my camera’s battery is flat… Next time!

 And this is another breakfast offer I would like to check for you soon: Sketch

Anyone would like to share their breakfast places with us? Please feel free to comment!