I find good food can be harder to find when you’re in a top touristy area; they know people are coming and going and it is often so busy that the quality of the food isn’t as good as it could be.This is why I was so impressed when I visited Kraków with Polish friends and they recommended their favourite restaurant Zazie; it’s a French Bistro in the Jewish Quarters in the beautiful city and I haven’t been this impressed by a restaurant in a long time.
Firstly, they offered English and Polish menus; a small thing you might think, but many of the places we had visited didn’t have an English menu and much of my food choices involved recommendations and guess work – lucky I’m not a fussy eater, eh? There was so much to choose from and the specials on the board also sounded amazing. Each of us decided to go for something different so that we could try a bit of everything.
For my starter, I chose the pork belly with a scallop served with mashed swede, leeks, caramelised apple and black pudding (see pictured). Oh. My. God. Not only was the food presented beautifully, but they gave decent portions, something I find that nicer restaurants slack on at times. The pork melted in your mouth and the mashed swede and leeks was more of a sauce, but still fantastic. The black pudding had a smoky flavour, whilst the scallop was cooked to perfection. I wasn’t sure if the main could even live up to the starter.
My friends ordered one of the specials which included beef tongue and a sour cream ice cream – who knew ice cream could work so well with a starter? The other starter was a goat’s cheese and onion marmalade wrapped in Filo pastry and served with a pear and hazelnut salad. I’m not a huge fan of goat’s cheese, but she said it was fantastic. With a lot to live up to, I was unsure how the mains would even begin to compete with the charm and flavour of our entrees; we were not disappointed.
The Bavette Steak (see pictured) I ordered looked wonderfully pink as it arrived on a bed of crispy roasted potatoes and Roquefort butter (there was a choice of pepper sauce too) and a side of romaine lettuce and onion. Again, the steak melted in my mouth and was perfectly seasoned, flawlessly accompanied with the tang from the flavour of the Roquefort cheese.
Maciek ordered the lamb shank which fell off the bone and the chocolate and apple sauce it was served with had a wonderful rosemary flavour to it, while Anna’s Zander was as meaty as any good piece of fish could be and the mashed roasted cauliflower it was served over was one of the most exquisite things I have ever tried.
You will find in many of the bars and restaurants in Poland that they make their own lemonades and iced teas and Zazie’s was no exception; granted it took a lot longer for it to arrive, partially because the waitress initially forgot about it, but it was apparently extremely tasty when it arrived. Us girls ordered a Kir Royal, a sparkling wine with Crème de Cassis – a blackcurrant liqueur from Dijon; it was refreshing and slightly sweeter than a standard white wine. The champagne flute helped make us feel extremely classy too – it’s okay to pretend, right?
Dessert would have been wonderful, but I can’t lie to you and say that I could have eaten it. We were all suffering very badly from a food baby and didn’t want to risk ruining the deliciousness that we had eaten.
Maciek and Anna had kindly hosted me for a few days whilst I was visiting Poland and so I took them for dinner as a thank you. One of the things I can tell you is that this country is wonderfully cheap, even in the touristy areas like Kraków. I was pleasantly surprised to find that a two course dinner with wine, for three people, cost me no more than £38 – and that was the tip included. This place does fresh, beautifully cooked food which is presented well and still fills you up; if you find yourself in Kraków, you really must visit this wonderful Bistro – it gets a five out of five rating from me!