22 St James Street
Phone: 01273 622770
Website Under construction
Eva and I visited Nasza (pronounced Nasha), the very newly opened (less than a week) Polish restaurant on the site of what used to be the the St James restaurant, last Saturday.
Nasza is decorated in the style of a rustic Polish bar/eatery. Diners can sit in the front (cafe style) area, at the bar or in the main part of the restaurant towards the back of the premises. Owing to a large skylight, the main area was a little drafty.
Inexplicably there was no salt on the tables, we had to request some. We also had to ask for our candle to be lit, a small issue but indicative of a lack of attention by staff.
Nasza serves a selection of traditional Polish dishes including; marinated herring, sausage platter, cabbage parcels, Polish dumplings, Polish stew, beef Goulash and pork knuckles.
Unfortunately, owing to some problems with the wine supplier, there was no wine menu and the only wine on offer was Paul Masson the over hyped Californian paint stripper.
The service was friendly, if a little erratic as the staff were still finding their feet. The main course took a little while to arrive, probably due to the restaurant only being open for less than a week.
I opted for the sausage platter to start with. This consisted of a generous selection of Polish sausages and charcuterie served with two slices of bread and butter. A very good starter.
I chose the Golonka for my main course. This was a slow cooked pork knuckle (similar to the German eisbein) served in a rich vegetable and beer sauce with mashed potatoes.
This was an excellent dish, hearty and tasty. The pork had been properly cooked, and the meat fell off the bone with little effort from my knife.
Eva started with the vegetable and white bean soup. This was tasty and of a decently thick consistency, an ideal comfort food.
She chose the Golabki for her main course. These were cabbage parcels stuffed with meat and rice, accompanied by mashed potatoes and a mushroom sauce.
This was a good quality dish in terms of portion size and taste. The cabbage parcels were delightful, and the sauce provided and excellent accompaniment.
We finished off with a number of chilled vodkas.
Inexplicably, despite having several vodkas available which were properly chilled, Nasza does not advertise the fact by having as vodka list. I regard this as a missed opportunity for building the brand and reputation of what could be a very decent local Polish restaurant. My advice is for Nasza to add to their variety of vodkas, and to publish a vodka menu.
Regarding the truly awful Paul Masson wine, we managed to drink a glass each then gave up as it was quite awful. I opted for a Polish beer instead. I recommend that Nasza ensure that their wine cellars are stocked with wine that is drinkable, and that they provide a wine list.
The meal, which included the undrinkable wine, came to £57 before service. Seemingly Nasza was also having teething problems with the credit card companies, and had not yet installed a system for accepting credit card payments; ie "cash only" was the policy of the restaurant. Clearly this issue needs to be addressed with urgency, as it will deter customers.
As a piece of general advice to all those wanting to open a restaurant, it is essential that issues such as this are addressed before opening (even if that means the opening has to be delayed); a bad impression created in the first few weeks is difficult to erase.
Nasza, once it has addressed the teething problems identified in this review, may well be worth visiting in the future. I wish them well, and hope they take on board my recommendations.
Opinion Now updated after another visit.