L’Arc Varsovie continues to demonstrate its mastery of both seafood and classic French cuisine…
If you’ve spent a few years living here you might well be moved to ask two questions: first, where are the French restaurants? And next, whose hidden all the seafood? Okay, French eateries are starting to beep on the radar – albeit faintly – but seafood? Whenever a specialist seafood restaurant comes along it seems to shut within months.
But despair not, for there is one place that manages to kill two birds with one stone. Perched on the frontline of Mokotów, L’Arc’s pedigree is asserted on entry: hanging from the wall, a number of certificates and awards that tout its credentials. Walking past the live lobsters seeing out their days on Death Row, we take our seats and ponder the surrounds: if the traffic is a noisy tangle outside then L’Arc, in contrast, feels almost soft and serene – crisp tablecloths, moody music and a light color scheme that’s balanced out by the dark slate floors. It’s a smart design that, while intimate in size allows diners to maintain a sense of privacy: let the date begin…
Oysters are the logical choice, and here there’s usually five or six types to pick (Fine de Claire, Irish, Normandy, Belon, Marennes-Oleron and Regal). Our waitress is the definition of love at first sight, but it’s the cooking of chef Marcin Legat that truly steals the heart. Presenting a mix of three oysters, we find the shells cascading with mussels and cheese, squid and mushrooms – an interesting play that still retains the inimitable taste of the sea.
There’s nothing like snails thought to really capture the taste of France, and these come served with a basic mix of garlic butter and parsley: the true sign of a good chef is knowing when not to complicate a dish, and in this case Legat leaves out the tricks to simply allow his ingredients do the talking. For mains, a tranche of zander fillet comes perfectly balanced on a cod puree and a smattering of seasonal vegetables. Looking artful and precise, this is a dish of delicate excellence: something you’d return for time and time again.
ul. Puławska 16, tel. 22 465 1358, 519 000 050, larc.pl