After my third disappointing experience of Portuguese cuisine last month, I had slightly higher hopes for Polish food. Overall it wasn’t too bad – certainly not as bad as Portugal, but with none of the complexities of flavour that characterise my favourite cuisines either.
I’ll probably be offending millions of Poles (and Russians and Ukrainians too), but our experience of the national soup (Borscht) wasn’t exactly great. Sour (through fermentation) is not really my cup of tea at the best of times, but when the fat in the soup starts congealing in front of you in the cold November air, it’s really offputting.
My main expectation before going was that the food would be pretty hearty and stodgy. Our experience with dumplings and Pierogy (stuffed ravioli-like dumplings) confirmed that. Nice enough, but I think we were unlucky with them, I think in the right place and the right sauce they’d be a lot nicer.
The best thing about large-scale Polish immigration to London has been the availability of a wide range of Polish sausages in local shops. Food-wise there’s not much more I love than a bit of spicey cured pork, so getting to try the local varieties was always going to be a hit. Fresh Kabanosy were even nicer than back home. Just a shame we didn’t see more of them in the restaurants, and that I didn’t get time to try more.
Even better was discovering the Polish version of the one thing I love more than cured meat: Pizza. Called Zapiekanki, they’re basically a half baguette topped with cheese and other toppings. The perfect way to warm up and fill up after a cold day pounding the streets…or rather if it would have been if the one I ordered hadn’t had the devil’s food itself – mushrooms – sneakily hiding underneath the cheese and Polish salami. I could have cried.