Warsaw’s wine bars have a good track record when it comes to food, though even with this in mind Ale Wino feels an extra bit special. Having originated as an online wine portal, its success spawned a bricks and mortar venue which was swiftly followed by the addition of tables and chairs along with a menu of little plates of this and little plates of that.
The public loved it, but they loved it even more when Sebastian Wełpa entered the picture. All of a sudden this was more than just a pretty little wine bar, but a bona fide restaurant blasting out some of the capital’s best food. A chef of outrageous talent, Wełpa’s seasonally adjusted menu has become one of the city’s true gastronomic glories – and neither is this a chef that’s rested on his laurels.
With the Insider upping its restaurant visits in time for our Best of Warsaw awards, Wełpa couldn’t have picked a better time to play his A game. For starters, that meant a quite remarkable herring served with burnt potato, smoked plum and onion with elderberry capers. Simply beautiful.
Mains, and that’s a tender rump of lamb with horseradish puree, marinated carrot and a pool of bison grass sauce. Within six minutes, the plate’s rendered spotless.
For dessert, the suggestion of the waitress is followed, and by God, she’s bang on the button. Enter poppy seed dumplings, porter beer sorbet and a subtle bayleaf sauce.
Desserts this well-balanced are a rarity, and it’s nothing if not a triumph of nuanced but comforting tastes. All in all, an outstanding meal from one of Poland’s best regarded chefs. Could this yet become the Insider’s Chef of the Year? If not, expect him to come somewhere damn close.
ul. Mokotowska 48, alewino.pl