Warsaw politics – is there anywhere safe to eat?

Our Zosia has ballet classes on ul. Moliera in Warsaw and the weekend lesson is timed nicely for a late breakfast at our favourite place, Pędzący Królik. They are a bit hung up on their home baked bread rolls, which resemble something once shot out of a musket but we live in hope they’ll sort that out eventually. The Google translation service provides an excellent picture of the decor in this cafe:

Pushed the revolving door and went to the floor in black and white checkered. In the middle at all was something black and white. Black chairs and tables covered with white tablecloths. And all this is multiplied by a huge mirror. I remember a starched, arranged in a kind of rosette, sticking to a fully set tables napkins.

Just makes you want to rush off there and savour the atmosphere, right? All things considered, the Rushing Rabbit is a little oasis of calm amongst the busy weekly rituals. Imagine then our surprise when we read some time ago that the place was at centre of one of Warsaw’s recent political scandals, the Black Jack affair! Yes indeed, it was in this very black & white cafe that a conversation was “overheard” leading investigators to believe that certain politicians might be trousering zlots in return for lobbying on behalf of gambling industry big-shots.

Racing Rabbit

It would be nice to put this incident down to coincidence or accident and keep imagining that our Warsaw eateries are safe places to have a chat but a further article from gazeta.pl suggest this is not an isolated incident. This article lists 12 Warsaw restaurants where supposedly secret conversations have later come to light and caused no end of bother for those concerned. I have frequented at least 9 of those 12 restaurants – is this just bad luck or is every Warsaw restaurant permanently bugged?

Further investigation has revealed the sinister truth. There is a secret ‘black ops’ division of the IPN (Institute of National Remembrance) called USRN (Department of National Restaurant Spying) that has been in operation ever since the fall of communism. The head of this covert team goes by the name of “Deep Appetite” [DA] and nobody knows from where he gets his orders or to whom he reports. DA does run an envious group of professional spies though and in the interests of making eating out in Warsaw a more private experience we bring you the first ever pictures of the agents known to be operating in Warsaw today:


Rambo Kowalski

Rambo is an expert in camouflage and survival in the wild. His job is to cover all restaurants that are located close to woodland areas or parks and once he has found the perfect location he can stay there for weeks living off nothing but berries, tree sap and dead squirrels. Our advice is that if you can see trees or bushes through the restaurant window (especially ones holding long distance microphones), move to another table.

belly dancer

Magda Hari

Magda works all the Lebanese and Arabic restaurants in town. She does her most dangerous work during cocktails before and after the meal so be especially vigilant at these times. Don’t be fooled by the dancing, it’s just a way of repositioning the radio mikes in her bra. The loose clothing may look authentic but it is never removed as it is used to hide an entire ‘field ops’ situation room.

Jewish spy


This rare shot of Ezekiel taken during a short stay in the Police station for questioning shows why he is the ideal member of the team to handle Warsaw’s many Jewish themed restaurants. He blends perfectly with the coach-loads of tourists following the “Heritage” tours and is all but impossible to pick out from the crowd. If he reaches for his glasses, that’s you photographed and transmitted back to USRN HQ for processing.


Tofu & apprentice

With the number of sushi bars in Warsaw spiraling out of control, Tofu is having to take on an apprentice. USRN take their staff at a very young age, often orphans so it is easy to wipe any previous identity. Tofu may be a big guy but he fits so well into his surroundings that he’s often overlooked. Keep yourself alert for the owner of the sushi bar complaining about how many seats at the bar he’s taking up. If the owner suddenly disappears then you know it’s time for you to do the same!

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7 thoughts on “Warsaw politics – is there anywhere safe to eat?

  1. Bartek says:

    Scatts, did you invent a new English name for scrambled eggs, who’s going to get the hang of it?

    Is Google Translation service a daughter company of Tłumaczenia_z_d*py spółka z ogromną odpowiedzialnością and do they specialise in Garbage-In-Garbage-Out translations? The original text in Wyborcza is inordinately clumsy in terms of language and style.

    Magda Hari – if there was a caption competition I’d put forward one: “If you think your mother-in-law is really ugly just get a load of that!”

    And Mr Mainland2 could finally close teh caption competition, nine days have elapsed and readers are kept in suspence!

    I don’t know anything about the remaining characters, I haven’t been to Rushing rabbit, but I saw one last summer.

  2. Brad Zimmerman says:

    I think it’s just Warsaw. The solution, of course, is to move to Krakow. There’s still plenty of talk but it’s all inane student chatter and no one gives a rat’s ass about it.

    Seriously though: start looking shifty and talking in “code”:

    Ian slowly looks around the diner, peering intently at the other patrons who avoid his gaze, thinking he is completely out to lunch. After looking obviously at everyone and being satisfied that there could be upwards of three g-men in the joint, he whispers (but loud enough to be easily overheard) to his wife:

    IAN: “The fox is in the henhouse. It will eat at least [glances obviously around] …two chickens… and take [looks suspiciously at the bored waitress surfing the internet on the restaurant’s PC] SIX eggs.”

    IAN’s “WIFE” [actually his wife] says [irritably and audibly]: “I really dislike this game. Can’t we just get some scrambled eggs and sausage in peace?”

    IAN: “Sausage?! That will never satisfy the fox! You know he-err-IT wants two chickens and six eggs! The fox will strike at 8:15 on [whips around, startling the babcias sitting behind him. He has a panicked, startled look on his face (as do they). He stares at their mohair berets and 27 layers of clothing but appears to decide they really were just gossiping] …”

    IAN’s WIFE: “Dammit, Ian. Honestly, we’re not going to eat out any more if you don’t stop playing this game. You’ve got Zosia thinking there are secret agents around every corner.”

    IAN [looks at Zosia suspiciously] “Why would she think they were around every corner, unless–”

    OMNI [babcias, waitress and every other patron in the place swarms towards IAN] “GET HIM!!!”

    [Fade to black out on IAN’s frozen, panicked face]

  3. Scatts says:

    Brad, you need help.

  4. Scatts says:

    Bart, apologies but I was just editing while you were commenting and removed the whole scrambled egg part. Obviously an edit you’d agree with!

  5. Brad Zimmerman says:

    I’ve irritated the Illuminati again… haven’t I? Here’s a secret they don’t want you to know: the CIA, FSB, Illuminati, Masons, MPAA, KKK, Hell’s Angels, the leaders of the Mormon Church and Yakuza are all the same thing: Descendants of the lost island of Atlantis. They are everywhere and are far more dangerous than simple, corrupt politicians (who are usually corrupted by Atlantians’ stories of riches, promises of power and also their mind control techniques).

    Now you know. Unfortunately, knowing is only half of the battle.

  6. Brad Zimmerman says:

    Relevant Sinfest comic! SPREAD THE WORD!


  7. DeCoy says:

    Heh, looking at the picture of Rushing Rabbit, it looks like one of those places, where – at the flick of a switch – the whole interior will flip on a swivel mechanism, and the secret listening chamber will be exposed with agents recording everything that goes on.

    Not that it actually exists… cough cough…

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