These are hard times to write about food in Warsaw. Hard times because it feels every new opening is better than the last. Yet in the case of L’enfant Terrible, you feel the curve has finally reached its limit – will there be a better opening this year? I can’t imagine it. For the full review, you’ll have to wait till our printed little baby is delivered from the factory – in the meantime, a teaser from Tuesday’s trip…
The Place: upmarket but non-threatening with its use of dark, sober colors and minimal frills. There’s nothing shouty about the design, just a calming interior that doesn’t suffocate.
The Chef: Michał Bryś whose past includes stints in the three star De Librije and the two star The Ledbury – so, great expectations. His philosophy is simple: ‘top quality products from local suppliers prepared using modern techniques. And no white tablecloths.’
The Staff: pretty much faultless. You expect staff to be polite and professional in this kind of environment, but what I didn’t expect was for them to be quite so keen to ensure the customer understands all. I’ve gone through a fair few tasting menus in the last couple of years, and every time it feels like the server is in some competition to finish their spiel in record time. By the time they finish reeling gibberish off you feel bamboozled. That didn’t happen here, which makes a nice change. For the first time I knew what I was eating in precise detail.
The Menu: ah yes, the menu. There are a la carte options, but after a spot of arithmetic comes the realization you’re better off to just get the tasting menu – five courses for zł. 170.
The Meal: first off, baby beetroot, salmon snow, trout foam and mackerel ice cream. A very good opening, though as someone who prefers fish in moderation I find perhaps a little too, well, fishy. This is particularly true of the ice cream – no fish flavors in my ice cream, please!
Part 2: fawn tartar, served in a crispy tube and with all manner of extras – there is lovage ice cream, chanterelles, sour cucumber jelly and a cooked egg sitting on burned eggplant. There is a lot going on, but you’re encouraged to linger over this, mixing and matching the various tastes. It feels like it shouldn’t work, but it does. Very well indeed.
Chapter 3: this is where Bryś really shows his ingenuity. How many things can you do with a tomato? Well, with this chef a lot. There is tomato water jelly, crispy compressed tomato, tomato ice cream, a praline with powdered tomato and a few blobs of tomato emulsion (“better known as ketchup,” smiles the waitress). It is stunning in originality and tastes – some subtle, others big. I love this.
The Main: slow-cooked veal tenderloin and a variety of sweet and sour radishes. An exceptional dish – so much so that even just looking at it and hearing how it has been prepared I take leave of my senses and forget to snap a picture.
The Dessert: simply titled milk, it’s the only dessert on the tasting menus (there’s a three course and a vegetarian tasting menu, as well) and the a la carte. What we get are cookie crumbs, a wafer of dehydrated milk, cubes of butter milk, ice cream and elderflower. It is subtle but superb.
The Prices: if you choose a la carte then it’s about 30ish for starters and dessert and 50ish for mains – that’s highly accesible. I could name 50 restaurants in Warsaw that charge more and aren’t even a fraction of the quality.
Overall: highly enjoyable. My dining partner rated it as the best ‘new’ restaurant he’s visited since his first experience of Atelier Amaro a couple of years back. Bear in mind that on our visit this restaurant had been open for little more than four days… That’s the scary thing: it could and should get even better. A pulsating start.
(Words & Photos: AW)
L’enfant Terrible ul. Sandomierska 13 (enter from Rejtana), facebook