Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews

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Fed up with celebrity chefs drizzling sauces over undercooked pieces of meat? I am!

I regularly dine out and am happy to share my restaurant experiences, and views on food, with you.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

Restaurant

The Polka
20a Lower Addiscombe Road
Croydon
CR0 6AA

Phone:- 0208 686 2633

Overview

The Polka was established in the eighties; but was taken over in the last few months by a new owner, Guy Ngu, who aims to enhance the traditional Polish menu by offering a fusion of Far Eastern and European dishes. It comprises a restaurant on the ground floor, and a function room on the first floor.

Eva and I have visited it on several occasions over the past few years, and more recently since Guy took over. We are pleased to note that the decline that we witnessed in the quality of the food, that was evident in the final months of the old management, has been reversed. Guy takes a “hands on” approach with the menus and quality of food selected for serving. I particularly like the website, which gives a very detailed overview of the restaurant together with pictures and menus. You can visit it on:

http://www.polkas.co.uk

Ambience

The restaurant is bijou, but not cramped, decorated with Polish artefacts and “bric a brac”. In the far left corner is a small bar which boasts an extensive array of speciality vodkas. My particular favourites being Bison grass (quite potent!) and a vodka I haven’t seen since visiting Berlin some years ago, Danzig Goldwasser (a unique vodka that contains flecks of gold leaf; which are very good for the digestion - take my word for it!).

The restaurant is cosy and welcoming; ideal for a family gathering or romantic dinner for two. I would recommend booking, as all the tables were occupied when we dined there the other evening.

Under the previous owners Eva and I often found that the restaurant was a little chilly; we were pleased to note that this problem has now been addressed, and the ambient temperature was just right.

Menu

As noted above, the restaurant offers a variety of European and Far Eastern dishes; ranging from crispy butterfly prawns, steak tartar, pork dumplings to the house speciality (smoked sausage, dumplings and stuffed cabbage).

The wine list is complemented by a lengthy vodka list (both flavoured and plain, of various strengths); I personally recommend trying a “shot” before dinner. Unfortunately, owing to the limited size of the bar fridge, only a few types are ice cold.


Service

When we arrived we were warmly greeted by Guy who showed us to our table. The service is attentive and friendly, and should you want to try a main course as a starter there is no fuss or raising of eyebrows.

Whilst ordering, a selection of bread was brought to us; one of which, a cumin flavoured rye, was particularly pleasant.

Food

I started with the pate and toast, I would say (all due apologies to the chef) that although the portion was a good size the taste was a little bland; maybe a few drops of brandy would add a little zest to this dish. My forthcoming recipe book has quite a decent recipe for pate, samples of my favourite recipes can be found on my website:

http://www.kenfrost.com

I followed on with a good sized fillet of veal cooked in breadcrumbs with, at my own request, two fried eggs on top (the technical name for this dish is Holstein Schnitzel). I am very pleased to say that the veal was tender and succulent, not overcooked and dry as some restaurants are prone to serve.

Feeling suitably replete I could not manage a dessert; but rounded off the meal with an Irish coffee, which was hot and well presented.

Eva had meat stuffed dumplings with bacon lardons for her starter; they were excellent and I highly recommend them. Eva then had the pork loin stuffed with prunes in sauce. Although the portion was generous, the meat was a little tough.

As is the tradition of the Polka, we were offered a complimentary vodka each at the end of our meal.

The overall meal, which included two vodkas as apĆ©ritifs and a good bottle of Chablis, came to a reasonable £53 before tip.

Suggestions

I present below a few, well intentioned, suggestions; which I hope are taken by the management in the spirit in which they are intended:

 Install a good sized fridge to accommodate all the vodkas. Vodka should be served ice cold, not at room temperature.

 Take up a discussion with the butcher who supplied the pork to ensure that future cuts are tender.

 Change the pate recipe.

Overall Opinion

We both agree that we enjoyed our evening, and are happy to recommend it to others.


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