Looking at it from above, it’s easy to divide Zbawiciela into six segments: you’ve got the slice that houses the church; the vibey bit with Plan B and Charlotte; the office block; the café curve; and the bit no-one hangs around on. Finally, there’s the portion with Veganda.
Being kind, it’s the grubbiest of the lot with its braindead graffiti tags and then the grotty remains of the abandoned Corso bar. Sunlight makes it better, but on a grey and dismal day you might wonder why you’ve bothered. Instead, visit in the evening when a string of outdoor lights and Veganda’s green neon add much-needed element of beckoning warmth.
Surely, they could have done a little more? Looking bare and undressed in design, décor details are limited to original PRL era floor tiles, a wall of spiky cacti, and the kind of chairs you’ll remember from high school. Illuminated by hanging steel spotlights, the naked nature of the place is emphasized by an exposed wall unit filled with glasses and refrigerators – basically, all the stuff that’s usually hidden behind a counter.
But does it actually need any extra bells and whistles? Maybe not. Giant windows afford commanding views of Zbawiciela’s passing daily intrigues, whilst Veganda’s customers provide added visual texture.
Veganda’s menu gives comfort food a welcome plant-based reassessment. For that alone, it’s no surprise to learn that many of Warsaw’s younger vegans now use it as their hangover solution. Saying you should as well though would be to detract from the quality – this is more than just a place that’ll restore and replenish, it’s a place that tastes good at other times as well.
The fun fries merit their description and come with a garlic glaze and buried under a mass of sriracha mayo, pickled red onion, cashew parmesan and a hint of kaffir. Moving to Hawaii, the poke bowl is a well-assembled dish with ponzu sauce and chipotle mayo streaked across rice, edamame, seagrass, sesame, nori and fukujinzuke.
And a shout, too, to the quesadilla. Though missing the companionship of a vigorous salsa, it still scores well for gooey goodness born from mixing white beans, spinach, pickled onion, veggie cheese and baked sweet potatoes with a dose of chili oil. In an area where the vegan competition is cutthroat, Veganda do a good job on the kind of dishes you actually want to order. Yep, a good job indeed.
Pl. Zbawiciela 5, facebook