Warsaw has a serious problem: it likes Spanish food, but it can’t bloody make it. Think about it: how many Spanish restaurants have launched over the years? How many have promised much but then failed to deliver? Offhand I can think of a dozen that opened then folded, but the true number might be higher.
Things changed when Casa Pablo arrived a few years ago and all of a sudden we had a place that was, well, authentic – Spanish-owned, a Spanish chef, etc. It was great. In fact, it is great. Even so, ropey little tapas bars continued to open, undoing the good work that was happening at Pablo’s.
That was till now, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s the team behind Casa Pablo that have engineered the turnaround launching a little tapas bar to complement their restaurant. Actually, little is the wrong word. It’s narrow as a tightrope, but it’s long. Very long. But the size is such that it instantly engages.
The design helps: scuffed timber tables supported by rescued factory metal, open ductwork and elaborate floor tiles of Iberian persuasion. But this is not some dark, heavy bolt hole, and the floor-to-ceiling windows lend light and modernity.
Enough of that though, the food. The gazpacho is first class, prepared onsite then served in a bottle. Full of refreshing summer zing, my only complaint is the serving’s so small. But at zł. 12, if you order another it’s still a good deal.
Next, patatas bravas and beef cheek with parmentier. The melty tenderness of the latter is magnificent, but it is the former that steals the show: perfectly fried potatoes in a ballsy tomato sauce that’s luxurious in aftertaste. And we have dessert, ‘catalan cream’ served in a skillet. Like the rest of the meal, it is perfect. Did I say Warsaw can’t do Spanish food? It’s bloody well learnt. (AW)