Despite being such a staple of the Polish diet – not to mention one of the country’s most famous culinary exports – dumpling restaurants have traditionally been low-impact affairs aimed more at oldies and traditionalists rather than any other demographic (e.g. people below fifty).
True, in many ways that reflects the humble nature of the food. In a nation that spends half the years shivering under brittle blankets of frost, there are few dishes that lend more pleasure to life than a great big plate heaped with pierogi. But come on, sometimes you want even the most basic of foods elevated another level.
Syrena Irena does that – firstly, by serving them inside an interior you actually want to stick around in. Designed by Projekt Praga, the retro-minded interior is awash with ceramic mosaics, spherical sconces, funky neon, terrazzo tabletops and bold blue colors.
A witty homage to the classic eateries of old, it’s fun just to look at.
Ordering at the counter, the food is equally enjoyable with pierogi filling including delicious white sausage or sauerkraut and mushroom.
Classics such as cheese and potato Ukrainian pierogi (formerly known as Russian pierogi until the invasion) are something of a default choice, but do also look for their more maverick suggestions: for instance, sweet cheese and orange peel.
Lovingly made by hand inside a white-tiled kitchen which you can peer right into, the food goes well beyond the mediocre standards that this tourist strip is famed for.
In fact, for an updated taste of traditional Poland, this could become a culinary stalwart. Top it out with a nip of vodka or a slab of wuzetka cake and you have a very good evening all but guaranteed.
Krakowskie Przedmieście 4/6, facebook