It’s true that the concept of “Polish cuisine” might dissuade people rather than entice them, but Ognisko certainly has a thing or two to say about that! Shrouded in classical South Ken opulence, the restaurant feeds upon its general members-only club to present an atmosphere of near James Bond vibe.
I admit – I actually hate the “Michelin star” restaurant kind of layout for the room, and I say this because both the Ledbury and Gordon Ramsay has it. There is too much space, there are too many tables next to each other, but all in all I think Ognisko makes it work. Dim the lights, put on your best tablecloths, pour some champagne and the mood sets in.
The menu might seem a bit foreign – not because the dishes don’t have an explanation, they do, but simply because this cuisine is really not one that most Londoners are exposed to. I enjoyed how all the appetizers came with a salad of sorts on the side. Even though it was literally the same one, I think that part of our diet is often neglected and it made sure that all the dishes had a component which was light and refreshing.
Notable starters included the pierogi (dumplings with cheese, 6.5£), the smoked salmon blinis (8£) and the Sledz po Kaszubsku (8.5£) – the fact that this restaurant could serve me herring and for me to actually enjoy it is a big thing. The tomato relish that came with it was absolutely fantastic. I would bathe in it.
The mains – very meat heavy, as should be expected from an Eastern European related cuisine – were equally good. The Poached Salt Beef with Beetroot Terrine and Horseradish Sauce (17£) was tender, with the horseradish sauce giving it a great kick and taste (Even if I felt the sauce was somewhat too strong and killed off any other flavour – but in that sense it is typically Eastern European).
Also the restaurant seems to have a terrace outside that probably looks stunning in the summer!