Polish Delicacies Make For Delicious Dining

A vegetarian, a coeliac and a weight watcher try out The Knaypa

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The Knaypa
268 King Street
London W6 0SP

Opening Hours:
Sunday – Thursday 12 noon – 10:30 pm
Friday & Saturday 12 noon – 11 pm

Reservations 0208 563 2887
E-mail: info@mmil.co.uk


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It’s Wednesday morning and we’re having breakfast which I decide it’s the best time to broach babysitting issues.

“I’ve got a table booked at Knaypa this evening,” I announce to which my husband enthusiastically responded “Great!”

Genuinely concerned about making him feel unwanted I say gently, “Well actually I was planning on going with someone else.”

“Well I’m not going anywhere, the football’s on and now I don’t have to worry about having to entertain you,” he says as he leaves for work with the air of a man who’s just cracked world peace.

The reason I felt bad - got over that one quickly - about going to Knaypa without him was that he had wanted to go to the King Street restaurant ever since one of his colleagues had raved about it. I admit I was surprised as, let's be honest, Polish food doesn’t immediately spring to mind when thinking about fine dining.

My two fellow football refugees and I discovered an eclectically styled restaurant with a large wooden sign displaying a large glass of beer on the exterior which gave no clue to the décor within. Black wallpaper, a curvaceous purple ceiling and high back red leather chairs give the restaurant almost a ‘night-clubby’ feel (not going to make any jokes about pole dancing!) but that could have been the too-loud music. ‘Annie’s after dark’ is perhaps the best way of describing it.

The menu is confusing but certainly authentic. Our very sweet waitress was again authentic but spent most of the evening confused with language proving a tricky hurdle. We did struggle with the menu, which was perhaps not ideal for a vegetarian, a coeliac and a weight watcher, but that was where the frustration ended.

To start we ordered Borscht - a cold beetroot soup with mushroom ravioli (£4.59), Pierogi – small parcels of (we think) pasta with sauerkraut and mushrooms (£4.49) and herrings with sour cream and onions (£4.29).

An amuse bouche, of what we guessed was a Polish style pate, arrived with bread to keep us going while we waited for our starters. It smelt delicious and the tiny bit I ate was not bad but, forgive me, that was all I could do with something that advertised the fact that it contained double fried lard. Like the restaurant’s exterior, this dish gave no hint at the delight that was to come.

All three starters arrived well presented; especially the Pierogi which we decided was the prettiest plate we’d seen in a while. What struck all three of us was the quality of the ingredients. Much to many people’s disgust, I’m a great fan of herrings and these were easily the best I’d had in memory. Again with the Pierogi from the filling to the sauce it was very good as was the beetroot soup.

The mains again were a great treat. I was drawn to the veal rump with fried cabbage (£11.99) because of its simplicity and very happy I was. Again it was not just the preparation and presentation of the dish but the quality of the meat that made it what it delicious.

The slow cooked pork shank with pureed potatoes (£9.99) was sublime as was the stack of cheese and spinach potato cakes (£7.49) so vast they went unfinished. I’ve just realised they didn’t make it into the doggy bag my petite friend usually takes home to her husband. A real shame, he would have loved them as much as she did.

We really didn’t need to, certainly had no space for, but went ahead and ordered a baked traditional cheesecake (£3.99) and crepes with whipped cream and berries (£3.99) to share for dessert. Again quality of ingredients and presentation made both very enjoyable and did much to detract from the guilt of gorging on such richness.

Two bottles of Pino Grigio (£16.50) brought the final bill to £86.82.

Knaypa has a website www.theknaypa.co.uk which I feel doesn’t do the restaurant great service but gives an idea of what’s on offer.

Well worth a visit.

Emma Brophy

June 1, 2009