When it came to choosing our ‘top talent’ of 2022, it was the name of Witek Iwański that stood out from the others…
The last time Witek Iwański found himself included in one of our Best of Warsaw’s round-ups was six-years back when he was named as our ‘One to Watch’.
Then employed at the Aruana restaurant in the out-of-town Hotel Narvil, we used the occasion to describe him as “a breathlessly exciting talent” whose cooking “embraces obscure and unusual ingredients that are fine-tuned using the latest know-how and kitchen magic.” The only problem, we concluded, was that his restaurant sat 40-kilometers north of Warsaw.
Skip forward to 2022 and the foodie press went into meltdown when, over summer, he launched his own capital city venture: hub.praga.
Occupying a discreet spot on upcoming Jagiellońska, it’s all you ever want from a top class restaurant – a stunning dining room with high ceilings, long windows and an interior that’s effortless in its understated elegance – tan, beige and white, these seemingly neutral colors are brought to life by some statement art, moon-shaped mirrors and gleaming light fittings of different shape and size.
As welcoming as the ambience might be though, it was Iwański’s kitchen miracles that made our visit one of the most pleasurable research trips we’ve had for a while (it’s a tough job, but someone’s got to do it, right?).
Purposefully offering tiny servings, this concept not only limits wastage, but also encourages diners to order three, four, or even five micro-mains – this way, you see the depth of Iwański’s skill.
Looking like miniaturized works of art, each course is a micro bomb of sophisticated goodness with the offer, of course, adjusted to suit the season.
For us, that meant an exquisite beetroot salad; a subtly refined tartar topped with crunchy perilla leaves and a pair of marinated Mirabelle plums; and veal with walloping big tastes and a side of savoy cabbage.
Harking back to that pre-covid time when chefs sought to thrill their audience rather than simply play it safe, Iwański’s project deserves every accolade it receives.
Naturally, so too does the man himself – displaying his adaptability, summer saw him take the Nocny Market by storm with a weekend pop-up whose treasures included yakitori duck donuts.
hub.praga (Jagiellońska 22)