ul. Górnośląska 24, tel. 22 628 923, brasseriewarszawska.pl
Unless you’re caught in one of the annual trade union street ‘disputes’, Warsaw’s diplomatic district has the still, silent air of a sleepy little snoozefest – it’s an area of quiet parks and solemn statues, art nouveau architecture and tinted-out cars. While all manner of political intrigues are played out behind closed doors, on the streets there’s a sedate lazy vibe that’s emphasized by the strolling oldies and bird-feeding toddlers.
Yet for all that, the area has something of a rich culinary choice. When they’re not hatching villainous plots, diplomats like to eat, so it’s no coincidence some of Warsaw’s best restaurants are in this part of town: Amber Room, Flaming, Atelier (swoon), etc. And, in that number, you can now add the Brasserie. Sharing the same family tree as Butchery & Wine, we know from experience that this younger sibling is a place of some merit.
Long and narrow, there’s a classic styling to this venue – red leather seats, zinc mirrors and monochrome floors. You imagine the designers being requested to form something ‘smart casual’, and this they’ve achieved. But the talking point is the menu – Brasserie have something of a more rounded offer than Butchery, and while steak appears prominently so do delicacies such as Atlantic cod and Dover sole meuniere. As an ex-pat, however, it’s the subtle British accents that I like the best.
Co-owner Daniel once bossed The Grill in The Dorchester – something of an anglophile, he’s imported some of the tastes of Britain back to PL. Friday, for instance, sees fish & chips available from noon up till five. But it’s Sunday that should be marked in the diary, for that’s the day they serve Sunday Roast.
Now, as any Brit will tell you, this is a dish that’s notoriously impossible to accurately replicate: put simply, it’ll never be as good as your mum’s. How does the Brasserie version play out against mine then? Well, first reaction may involve comments such as, “where is the rest?” And indeed, on first glance you may be underwhelmed. This is not the cliché carvery pile of meat, veg and gravy. On the contrary, it looks artful and modest and, by their own admission, the gravy has been swapped for red wine sauce.
No gravy! For some, the absence of that alone is an act of grand negligence. But no gravy is better than bad gravy, and herein lies Brasserie’s talent – they stick to what they can do, and they do it very well. The roast beef is a pink and tender sirloin, a delicate cut that all but melts in the mouth. Immediately, you’re moved to announce it as top ladder stuff.
So the meat wins an honor – but what is Sunday Roast without the trimmings? Here, that means a scattering of crunchy roast potatoes, not to mention caramelized carrots and a sprinkling of parsnips. And then, the piece de resistance: the Yorkshire Pudding. Flamboyantly puffed up, this little monster is exactly as it should be: crisp on the outside, and fluffy on the in. If I was to nitpick, I’d say it just needs that bit of extra sauce to make it less dry.
This though, is a minor trifle. For their Sunday Roast Brasserie deserve some sort of medal. They’ve taken a British classic, modernized it a little, and then tailored it to suit the best ingredients they can possibly get. The result is a resounding success – and one that’s worth every single groszik of the 55 price. I’ll be back this Sunday and next, and I imagine every week for the next year to come. Gravy aside, all that’s missing is a pile of Sunday papers and hungover faces.
(Words: Alex Webber; Photos: Brasserie Warszawaska & Alex Webber)