It’s pretty much the most soothing spot I can think of: entering, diners are cocooned in a serene white-on-white environment that feels instantly calming. There’s not much else to the design, but it doesn’t need more – the right colour is enough: smart, stylish, smooth. Without knowing why, you feel comfortable.
And then there’s the cooking. It’s true, you can come here for pizza, but doing so would be a gross injustice to the skills of Łukasz Toczek. Widely credited with hauling Gdańsk’s food scene into the 21st century during his stint at Metamorfoza, this is a chef that has taken the Italian cookbook and rewritten it on his own terms. Alone, that speaks volumes about the chef’s ambition.
And there’s talent to back it up: evidence lands with that first wave of starters. The swordfish wrapped in avocado leaves is delicate and dainty; there’s an artistic simplicity at play, nothing excessive, but enough to demonstrate a fine eye and an appreciation for detail. Then there’s an octopus, wrist-thick and served with an arc of lemon mousse and a flash of pink grapefruit. More swordfish arrives with the mains, this time with chanterelles and mushroom sauce. Nothing goes to waste.
Great dishes these are, but there is one that causes conversation to stop: beef tenderloin with foie gras served alongside a glistening pool of madeira sauce. These are big tastes, big enough to put table talk on hold and cause each of us to pause while considering the cooking. It’s simply phenomenal.
After all that, how does dessert match up? In a word, well. For us, this involves gelato al gusto di arancia con carmello: or in English, an orange ice cream served with almonds, caramel, chocolate and ginger. It’s a wonderful combination that soon merges into one big gooey brew of perky tastes that are just right for the weather.
In spite of marketing itself as an Italian restaurant, Focaccia feels like so much more. Sure there’s an Italian undercurrent, but it feels dimensions removed from Warsaw’s other Italian eateries. Pushing boundaries, and searching out new interpretations, here’s a restaurant that isn’t afraid to take on the world’s most famous cuisine and add its own extra twist.
ul. Senatorska 13/15, www.focaccia.pl