One of the people who is closest to me is a Polish lady by the name of Monika Lovell. For years working at GlaxoSmithKline, she has been 1/2 of a dynamic duo. I could always count on her to cover my back as much as I would do for her. She used to joke that I was an adopted Polish as there was nothing she fed me that I don’t find delicious. Visiting another good friend Valerie who lives close to Roncesvalles, knowing that they were several good Polish restaurants in the area, I selected Cafe Polonez thinking of Monika and the food that I sure do miss immensely. It was good that Valerie was in agreement and was in the mood for good comfort food.
From the outside we saw that the restaurant was almost to capacity with dinner patrons. It was surely kid-friendly and family-oriented as there were long rows of tables where all seats were filled. I found the vibe of the place comforting, reminding me how much parallel the Polish culture was with my own upbringing. Big dinners and big family gatherings were a norm on a weekend.
Even if I already knew what I wanted to eat (I decided to try the most popular ones I saw on reviews I read), I still scanned the menu if there was something I missed. I had my heart set for trying the Beet Soup with Dill and Mushroom Dumplings and Potato Pancakes, Hungarian style (potato pancake stuffed with goulash and served withside bouquet of salads) and Valerie opted for a Polish Beer and the Polish Sausage platter.
While waiting for our food, a bread basket arrived with fresh rye bread. It was good to snack on it as the bread was amply soft and nutty to the taste. In no time, the beet soup finally arrived. I remembered to take the time to enjoy the essence of the soup wafting towards me. One of the reviews I have read specifically pointed how comforting that smell was and I sure am in agreement with that review. The fresh smell of the dill was indeed a comfort and it enhanced the experience of consuming the soup. The first spoonful was delightful, the freshness of the dill enhanced the flavors of the beet soup. I was expecting it to be overly heavy and sweet but I had the treat of being trumped as the soup was light and the sweetness was not overdone. The addition of the mushroom dumplings gave the soup another layer of flavor, its earthiness further muting the sweetness of the beets. I must say I want more of this soup. I do plan on bugging Monika to give me a recipe soon enough.
When the potato pancake arrived, I was overwhelmed with its size. After eating a piece of bread, finishing the beet soup, there was no way I could have finished the platter. Valerie’s platter was equally decked with the Polish sausage and a pile of french fries. Slicing through the pancake, it was still surprisingly crispy on the top fold and the savory of the goulash complimented it well. I didn’t even try Valerie’s dish as I was full. I only managed to finish 1/3 of the plate. For a while there, I was worried that the chef might think that I didn’t like the good food that was served to me. LOL. It was a very good meal and my tummy was just not big enough to complete the experience.
I wished that Cafe Polonez was nearer to me as it sure would help the cravings I have for Polish food that I so rarely enjoy these days. I should indeed give my friend Monika a call and ask once again for blueberry pierogies to complete my Polish indulgence. :)