In the heart of South Kensington is Ognisko restaurant specialising in dishes of eastern and central Europe with an emphasis on Polish cuisine. There is a la carte menu, daily set lunch and theatre menu all on offer. This beautiful converted town house once a Polish private members club it has been transformed into a glorious grand open restaurant with a terrace.
From the minute you walk through giant (almost secret) black door you are transported in a world of grandeur, class and elegance. Crisp white walls and spiraling staircase was like being in the Bank’s family home in Mary Poppins, I was in complete ore of the place. Greeted immediately by the friendly and chicly dressed staff we were ushered into the high ceiling dining room.
Fully stocked bar is reminisce of a 5-star hotel bar, dark mysterious and glazed over with bottles of something for every taste and tipple.
Glancing over the menu I am taken back by the mid level prices and varied menu.
We began with a starter of Steak Tartar served casually on a wooden board, the raw beef steak was chopped coarsely and shaped into a meat patty. A raw quail’s egg (still in it’s adorable shell) was delicately placed on top of the tartar for richness and elegance. Accompanied with toasted bread, finely chopped gherkins, shallots and capers for saltiness and texture with a tangy strong mustard for extra zing. Excellent steak tartare but quite large for a starter but the meat was fresh and of fantastic quality.
My blogging contributor had the marinated quail, which was beautifully cooked with a smokey, salty paprika marinade that worked incredibly well with the gamey meat and the slices of apple underneath, followed by Zrazy Wolowe, which was strips of bacon wrapped in beef and served over a vegetable stew and a potato pancake. It felt like an incredibly high quality but hearty meal, with a great balance of flavours and textures. The sweet braised red cabbage side came with chunks of plum and a punch of cinnamon that was a delicious accompaniment to the main, though a little sweet for my taste.
I made way for Poland’s famous Pierogi filled with Sauerkraut, Mushrooms and Pork served with Sour Cream. Large savoury dumplings like Italian ravioli although fried remained light, thin pastry (not soggy) and stuffed full of well seasoned minced pork and mushrooms.
For my main I chose Choucroute of Golonka; barbecued pork, ribs & Polish Sausage with a sauerkraut salad. A complete meat feast, pork 3 ways each had it’s own personality the ribs charred and sticky from its marinade, the BBQ pork oozed smokiness, with a sweet glaze like Chinese Peking duck. Succulent and slowed cooked for extra fall off the bone texture. The Polish sausage puffed up thick smoked and peppered banger. A fantastic winter dish; hearty, humble and comforting
The chocolate mousse desert was incredible; smooth, rich and silky with vodka infused cherries on the side that added a kick that worked perfectly with the smoothness of the mousse. A rich, sour, creamy, indulgent, seductive dessert.
Ognisko truly is a touch of class and style. Hearty, wholesome dishes that are steeped in tradition make up a very impressive menu. The staff were all from Polish background adding extra authenticity to the restaurant. A gem of a restaurant a complete change from where I usually dine, a definite must try if looking for somewhere a little bit special or a little taste of Poland.