I’ ve never wanted to be a cop (hide!), but in some ways my job is similar: each day I get well-meaning tip-offs from the public, and it’s one of my duties to check them out. The info (“found a brill restaurant, go!”) usually turns out to be a hoax, but nonetheless I’m obliged to check out the scene like some foodie Columbo. This time though, I had a hunch things would work out. My informant was a Frenchman, and when he told me he’d found Poland’s best bakery I had to take note. He was dead on.
Launched late last year, Aromat are part of a wave of artisan bakeries taking Warsaw by storm. The difference here, however, is a sense of passion for the project. “We’re not jumping onto a trend,” says Matthieu, one half of the mother/son team behind the space, “it might sound like a recent thing but Poland has always had a strong bread-making tradition. The problem was things went wild in the 90s and quality was lost – people became brainwashed by big brands and were happy to get their bread from a supermarket chain. Now it’s our job to convince these same people that what we offer is a step ahead.”
The thinking is simple. “Good bread needs good flour,” says Matthieu, “which is why we work with a small French mill. But you also need knowledge – an extra 30 seconds in the oven can make a huge difference.” For this reason, each month Aromat are visited by representative of the mill they cooperate with. “The first time they visited,” recalls Matthieu, “our own baker turned to me and said, ‘I can’t believe it, it’s like learning a new job’”.
Ultimately, this attention to detail has borne fruit. Even so, Matthieu is keen to avoid the trap of Warsaw’s other cult bakeries. “You visit some and their croissants are more expensive than Paris! But bakeries shouldn’t behave like they’re part of some luxury movement – good bread is for everyone.” And that includes you and me…
ul. Sienna 39, open Mon-Fri 7:00-19:00, Sat 8:00-16:00
Photographs by Kevin Demaria