Talk of Praga’s revival feels a bit more serious now that Bistro Pod Sowami is up and running. From the outside, this corner tenement is a study in neo-gothic indulgence. On the inside, the muted elegance is perfectly partnered by the cooking of Damian Wajda.
Having first dabbled with a quite overwhelming 15-course tasting menu, Wajda’s since reduced that to a more manageable six-courses (PLN 90), with the ultimate beneficiary being you, the diner – after all, not even the most audacious foodie can truly comprehend the complexities of fifteen competing courses.
Largely brilliant, this pared-down approach scores numerous successes, with even the amuse bouche (a beef tataki seared at the table with a blow torch) sticking in the memory.
Missteps happen – for instance, there’s a feeling that some of the drinks are ill matched, whilst the star dish, lamb, the doesn’t scale the peaks that it otherwise promises. Even, you suspect, that some of the presentation could do with a little more thought: dessert is an example. But these are not complaints, rather background bleeps on a vibrant radar. This is, have no doubt, a bloody good restaurant, and Wajda one of the big, bright talents you’d do well to make a note of.
Highlights are many, and in fact so frequent that they become lost in the ether. The beetroot gnocchi with a dab of rose cream is made for stardom. And whilst the dessert looks a little like a Master Chef disaster, it passes the taste test with flying colors: described as mandarin with gingerbread sauce and orange cream, it’s an absolute pleasure to digest.
Making it even better, are price tags that undercut other restaurants of this caliber by practically half. It’s unlikely you’ll find better value for money anywhere in Warsaw.
Brilliantly atmospheric and casually stylish, find the experience topped out nicely by service that feels utterly at one with the customers they serve. Exciting things are happening here, exciting things indeed – leaving, it’s with the sincere promise to return rather soon.
Bistro Pod Sowami
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