Arriving to a very cold and already very dark Warsaw mid afternoon I was tired, due to a mix of small episodes of sleep between work shifts and that exhaustion tiredness various modes of transportation in a reasonably short amount of time causes. Honestly, all I wanted to do was find my hostel and get into bed and watch Netflix. However, Netflix is not an option in Poland and I knew better. So once connected to the wifi and having ignored work and real life emails which came through with a continuious buzz, I did a quick Google search for somewhere to eat nearby. The first dozen results were either Italian or Indian, so I may have been forgiven for almost missing a Yugoslavian restaurant in the mad scroll from my finger rapidly flicking the screen upwards. However my eyes did catch something different in between the pizza and tandoori pattern, and after a quick look at the reviews and the four minute walk away, I knew what my night would entail…after a quick nap.
The restaurant may look small on arrival, however a staircase leads upstairs to additional seating. The white washed wooden funiture, plus decorations of gas lamp style candle holders and branches tied together with canvas rags seem to fit perfectly into a Sydney beachside suburb cafe, but what pulls the place together and gives it that comfortable atmosphere is the mismatched photo frames covering one of the four walls. As hipster as it sounds, it is pulled off perfectly and with a edge of class. The frames display old, personal, portraits of Polish military men, photographs of women playing with children, men sitting outside cafes smoking and chatting, and families going on vacation next to 50’s and 60’s styled cars.
The staff are friendly, and though they aren’t the highest level of professionalism, they do try by being polite, with excellent English and making sure everything is going well without being pesty. Who wants a uptight, snooty waiter anyway?
Wanting a glass of wine, the wine list offers several varieties, though only one type of red and one type of white are available by the glass. Easy decision then with a glass of red, which was very enjoyable and smooth.
I started with a fish soup, though a couple of years ago this was a disgusting thought to me, my mind was changed after a delicious fish soup I had in The Basque region of Spain. Although a particular toad and fish soup in a Peruvian market could have turned me off fish in general, my Spainish experience won over and I was happy I made the right decision. Consisting of a cut of flaky fish, possibly cod, a cloudy broth, carrots, capsicums (peppers), parsley, a mild chilli oil which made to top of the soup a red oily consistency, perfectly seasoned and with a squeeze of lemon to tie it all together perfectly, I could have walked down to the kitchen and stood over the pot with a spoon all night.
As a main I went for the lamb cutlets, won over by the choice between polenta and potatoes, I was craving a good soft polenta. Yet of course I forgot to specify my order and was presented with fried potatoes instead. A brief moment of regret was quickly forgotten when I tried the potatoes which had the exact right amount of salt and rosemary coating them, and sat upon several excellently grilled vegetables. The winner of the dish of course though were the cutlets. Again, seasoned and marinated perfectly, those bad boys weren’t on my plate for long. The first bite was an overwhelming surprise and the rest just seemed to dissappear. When all the meat which I was able to pull off the bone with a knife and fork was devoured I was tempted to rip the small amount of remaining meat off using my hands and teeth, like I would do at my grandmothers house whenever she would treat me with lamb cutlets. However my mother had taught me manners, and this wasn’t was grandmother’s house, so I pushed the almost clean bones to the side and savoured my last few sips of wine.
Montenegro Restaurant and Bar
Natolinska 3, Warsaw, Poland