One pet hate of mine when it comes to Warsaw restaurants are the actual owners of these places. Not all owners, but the ones who sit at the bar staring at their laptop. No matter how busy it gets, there they are, refusing to budge and engrossed in bar charts and excel sheets. You feel like you’ve stepped into a staff training facility. What I want is to see the owner greeting guests, exchanging banter or simply sharing a nod and a smile. That somehow makes eating out feel more of a genuine experience. Rusiko is that place.
The great location helps, with its nice evening light and people watching opportunities, but it’s the interiors that make it: rugs hanging on the wall, classic tables and contemporary tables. You feel right at home, which I guess is what the owners, Olga and David (former chef at Gemo), had in mind from the start. Find them hopping between tables, eating, chatting and going the extra yard. However, what sold me entering their ‘home’ was the kitchen – set out in full view of the guests, you see the chefs laughing and smiling while they cook. To me that’s Georgia: full of warmth and love for food.
A great start when ordering are the fried eggplant rolls stuffed with spiced walnut paste topped with pomegranate seeds (badrijani) and the wonderful cheese-filled bread called khachapuri. And while pierogi are plentiful in Poland and probably off your radar, you can’t miss the Khinkali, a soup dumpling in the shape of a purse filled with meat. Insider tip: pull the dumpling up off the plate by the little handle on top and bite into the side to suck the juice out before cutting into it. Also, for summer, make sure to try the tarragon lemonade, a bright green mix that looks like mouthwash but turns out to be amazingly refreshing. (Text: Kevin Demaria)
Aleje Ujazdowskie 22, tel. 22 629 0628