Some time ago I heard this story about a place in Warsaw where you could get proper fish & chips. It has been going around in my head ever since and to be honest I started to think it was all just a dream, a hallucination brought on by so many years separated from my national delicacy a bit like the mirage of an oasis in the desert. Well, the outstanding news is that not only does the place actually exist but also that the food tastes very authentic and what’s more you can order stuff (like bacon & sausages) to be brought over from the UK so you can wind-up your Polish friends by giving them a sausage and pretending it’s better than a kiełbasa. It’s like Christmas, birthday and majówka all rolled into one!!
Traditional British FAST (not like our footballers!)
You can find it by going to Plac Konstytucji and then walking down Koszykowa. The restaurant is a short distance down on the left hand side. It’s a very small shop unit, used to be either a computer accessories shop or a photo place, I forget now. I suppose as a way of limiting rental and fit-out costs on this experiment they kept it small and there are therefore no tables to sit and eat apart from a couple of stools at the counter and tiny tables outside in good weather. Take away is the main focus and they also deliver.
Unfortunately, we came across the place in the middle of a long walk after having already eaten a full meal at Qchnia Artystyczna (more later), so we were not up for the full fish & chip extravaganza. The opportunity to test it out though was too much to pass by so we ordered chips and mushy peas with very English drinks of Ribena and Kenco coffee.
I was impressed with the effort made to achieve authentic taste and experience. Even down to the salt and vinegar used as well as the dispensers. The chips are “double fried” and they use potatoes imported from Holland. In pretty much every respect they have uprooted a chippy from the UK and planted it in Warsaw – the only way to really make sure the experience is true. The staff have also been properly trained and seemed very enthusiastic about the whole thing.
I enquired about business and whilst I didn’t get any figures, nor did I ask for any, I got the impression that business is just about sufficient to have kept it open for 6 months and it is slowly building. They were as surprised as I was that the authentic bacon butties are not going down as well as expected. I think a lot of this is the location, not the best, off the beaten track and the need for better marketing as well as just the time it takes for people to start using it as a habit, which can be a year or more.
We were very impressed and I for one will be going back again and possibly taking advantage of the bacon/sausage import opportunity. They said in fact they can bring in “anything” as they have regular deliveries so if you’re really stuck for how to get something over here from the UK then it might be worth giving them a try. If you’re a Marmite freak then you can buy it in there as well as a few other British things.
Fish & Chips
Ul. Koszykowa 30, Warszaw
Tel: 022 692 240804
On Qchnia Artystyczna – It is still in the same great location has the same large terrace the same view but they’ve changed the menu and increased the prices and I’m not happy with either. There were items on the old menu that were one of the reasons we went out of our way to go there – the potato and salmon soup, the kaszanka, for example. These have been removed and the place has moved away from small and medium sized dishes and now offers more main courses with large prices to go with it. I’d say it is now at the higher end of cost for the town and having eaten there twice in recent weeks the menu is really not that appealing. It is good food and reasonable service in a good location but if you used to love the old restaurant you need to be warned that it’s not the same place it used to be. Can we please have the old one back, Pani Gessler?