Polish(ed) in Warsaw
We arrived in Warsaw at 10pm on the 30th of May. Warsaw is our first stop on this 2.5 Months long trip through Eastern Europe to Kazakhstan.
After this 5h train ride from Berlin to Warsaw we both needed something to eat quiet badly, despite already having had some Pierogi (polish dumplings) on the train coming here.
Since it was already quiet late we only encountered restaurants about to close. Fortunately we then decided to have a snack anywhere (we were even considering McDonald's...) when Bobby's Burger opened the doors for us for a late night snack before they closed. The Burgers were quiet good for a fast food chain and if you are every hungry and in need of some quick decent food, we can only recommend grabbing a snack here.
The next morning we took our time. We wandered through Warsaw discovering the Central Area and checking out the smallest Modern Art Museum we have ever seen. There we purchased a Guide for Warsaw called 'Lost in Warsaw'. We sat down for a bit to analyse the Guide and decided to stop by some Galleries in the area. Trying to visit the 'Kasia Michalsky' Gallery we picked up an invite for the Vernissage 'Seven Sisters' on June 1st, which resulted in a chain of events that I will explain in a bit.
We grabbed some lunch at the restaurant next to the gallery called 'Prodiz Warszawski', which was our first real polish cuisine experience. We had a cold beetroot soup (surprisingly delicious), pierogies (again, but obviously better than the ones on the train), a filet of some white fish with a tomato onion sauce (also surprisingly interesting and very delicious) and an Entrecote steak with green asparagus (which was very neutral and boring to be honest). If you decide to ever go to this restaurant definitely go for the polish dishes from the menu!
In the evening we checked out a restaurant from our 'Lost in Warsaw' guide called Solec 44 (Coincidental many others recommended it to us later). In a small house squeezed in between a road and a train track the atmosphere was nevertheless very welcoming and cosy. We sat outside and had some 'snack' like polish dishes. Check out the photos below. We realised here that the polish cuisine apparently really likes green asparagus in every form.
Next day: We started our day by checking out the Polin Museum, which is a museum solely dedicated to the history of Jews in Poland. We mainly went to the museum to check out it's architecture, but ended up being very emotional about the presentation of the history of the jews. Definitely worth a visit!
After this we needed a little break and had a quick lunch at a cute Cafe close to the museum. From here we took the bus (public transport in Warsaw is super affordable btw) to Poland's biggest contemporary art gallery 'Zacheta'. There we saw an exhibition about 'Affection', which certainly had an effect on us. Also worth a visit when in Warsaw!
In the evening we checked out the 'Seven Sisters' Vernissage. Here we met a performance artist called 'Dragana Bulut'. She invited us to join her for her performance piece the next evening, which turned out to be in a very grungy location in Praga (area on the left bank of Warsaw).
We had a wonderful dinner at Signature, where we were most impressed by the Cheese Cake, which literally looked like a Stone on the plate (see images below). If you go here definitely check out the deserts!
Last day in Warsaw: We got a table for lunch at a Restaurant we found in the Michelin Guide called Tamka 43. As the only guests we got the undivided attention of a really nice waiter, who was so kind (thanks to Fee's big pleading eyes) to put together a sort of tasting menu despite it being lunch. Six courses; each of us got a half portion + half a glass of wine per dish. Even after having only half a portions, we were both a little drunk (there was also a alcohol heavy aperitif involved) and happily rolling out of the restaurant by the end.
The food was some of the best we had in Warsaw, most remarkable being the Deer Tartar (or after a few wines called a 'Dear TaTaa') and the Five Variations of Rhubarb as dessert (Neither Fee or I used to be big on desserts but Poland has really been a eye(mouth)opener): a paste, jelly, in bits with anise, sorbet and dried - the best. From left to right feast your eyes on; Amuse Gueule, with some rabbit sattle and an amazing cucumber soup; Dear Tataa with hazelnut flakes, onion Balsamico, mustard grains, chanterelle; Fried Foie Gras on Hokkaido and Apple Chutney; Veal on greenery (according to Fee there is no differentiation to be made, it's all salat...) and Ébly; The awesome desert + there was a jummy soup only both of us were too obsessed with the wine so no picture.
After this episode of gluttony our entertainment for the evening did not become less frivolous: We went to an auction and Fee bought a women. For real.
Remember Dragana the performance artist to whose show we were invited? Arriving at the address we found ourselves at the entrance to a fairly rundown industrial complex wondering, with nobody else around, where the hell we were (later we found out that it's the most dodgy bit of Warsaw. Ignorance is bliss). After the guarding lady snapped at Fee for taking a picture of the entrance we still managed to convince her to help us. She brought us to her supervisor (he was fishing at a rain water reservoir) who as well had no clue of any art performance (or english for that matter). After explaining us many different things, he motioned towards the largest building of the complex, which we interpreted as an invitation to explore.
A little further down the dirt road we run into two very fancy guys, Alex and Leandro. Alex is the owner of the art space, looks like a typical Kreutzberg/Neukölln inhabitant (where he used to live '10 years ago when it was not cool yet'...) and welcomed us to come in.
The art performance was in form of an auction during which different objects but also ideas were peddled. Some 30 people, students, friends and families with children were present and created a great atmosphere. All articles were procured by a collective of artistes that had worked together for 6 months developing different performances and ideas around Affect, both psychological and philosophical.
Some of the things for sale were even immaterial, or like number 12 a secret, which was to be revealed to everyone if bought (A courageous woman bought it for 20€ only to delight at its revelation, she would be given 50€ by the artist….). Fee and I bought a jar in which a just performed moment was captured, and the script to a performance. And a woman. For the last bid, Dragana put her self up for sale (Possession of 24h, free choice of usage, must be returned in the same manner as when received). Fee was excited at the prospect of this, and after a little hesitation she went for it. With 650 Zloty she was the only bidder.
When we collected our plunder and had the chance to chat to Dragon a little more she told us that, she as well lives in Berlin! We will stage a performance with her sometime later this year. EVERYONE IS INVITED.
After the auction we got to talk with a french photographer who was there with his family (Wife and most adorable 3yo son - who had a total crush on Fee). Through them we ended up joining a lustrous dinner with some of the other performance artists, Dragana, a lovely curator from LA (the photographers sister and link to the group of artists).
The next day, Saturday we moved on to Poznan (half way between Berlin and Warsaw) to meet some acquaintances from Paris.
All in all both we enjoyed Warsaw tremendously, with its Berlin vibe plus (more) Soviet architecture, great restaurants and overall a surprising diversity. Polish people were more often than not a bit cold and extended little hospitality towards us but the few exceptions make us still feel very happy to have started our trip here. And certainly this won’t be our last time to the city.
Bis zum nächsten Mal,
Fee & Lars