Five London Restaurants for Homesick Poles
This week’s blog post focuses on the best Polish eateries in the UK’s capital. There’s a pretty big Polish community here in London – or you might say communities – and it’s hard to pick a favorite restaurant because there are quite a few to choose from. London’s the sort of place where there’s a polski sklep (Polish shop) on practically every corner, and you’re never far from the prosodic sound of the language. Without further ado, here’s my guide to five of the best places to grab a bowlful of barszcz or plate of pierogi, for homesick Poles and inquisitive Brits alike.
268 King Street, Hammersmith, London W6 0SP
Located in the Polish heartlands of Hammersmith, this long-running establishment has great decor and atmosphere. Just make sure you’re feeling hungry as the portions are huge. £10.00 to £15.00 will buy you a main course so it’s not bad value, and their zurek (sour rye soup) served in a crusty bread roll is second to none.
The Knaypa. Source: Kake Pugh, Flickr
Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre, Elephant & Castle, London SE1 6TE
This is sort of place reminds me of a classic Polish bar mleczny (an affordable government-subsidised canteen, for those not in the know). In true Communist style, they operate a fixed-price policy of £5.00 for all main courses, which is excellent value for kotlet schabowy z ziemniakami (breaded pork chop and mashed potatoes) but a little pricey for pierogi ruskie (cheese and potato dumplings). All in all the food’s pretty good though, and it’s well worth a visit for the atmosphere, Polish TV channels and friendly staff.
74 Blackfriars Road, London SE1 8HA
This fairly swanky restaurant near Waterloo serves dishes from Hungary and Georgia as well as from Poland. Its minimalist, modern decor makes it a good place for a date, and their pierogi with spiced beef, bacon and onion is pretty yummy. Vodka lovers will be delighted to hear that they have a menu of over 60 varieties (many of them Polish and some homemade) served straight from the deep freeze.
5 Goldhawk Road, London W12 8QQ
Popular with Polish expats, Patio has been running since the 1980s when the second wave of immigrants arrived in the city. At around £15.00 for three courses, it’s not bad value compared to most London establishments, and generous portions are guaranteed. I really enjoyed their barszcz (beetroot soup) followed by golabki (rice and meat wrapped in cabbage leaves) and thought that the complimentary vodka shot on the house was a nice touch. Well worth a trip to West London for.
55 Exhibition Road, London SW7 2PN
Ognisko makes it onto the list mostly for historical reasons as it’s the oldest Polish restaurant in the capital. This building was given to the Polish Resistance to say ‘thank you’ after World War II and soon became the number one meeting place for the Polish government in exile. These guys continue to serve a mean pierogi ruskie alongside British staples like roast dinners. There’s talk of it closing down, though, so get there soon. It’s close to many of the best London hotels and offers an intriguing atmosphere that’s somewhere between old school Warsaw and tatty seaside B&B (in the best possible way, of course!).
Author Bio: Matt is a London-based blogger and English teacher with a passion for Polish food and culture. He moved to Wroclaw in 2007 for six months – and ended up staying three years!
Author/Source: Matt Lindley