Sunday, May 25, 2014

Folk Gospoda

Folk Gospoda (the Folk Inn) is one of the oldest restaurants in Warsaw. Its history goes back to the 17th century, to a time when Grzybów (part of today's district of Warsaw called Wola) was the capital of trade and beer. This district, alone, was home to 28 breweries and local markets, which were a melting pot of cultures and nations.  Restored in 2004, Folk Gospoda is now a lively restaurant, whose atmosphere and hospitality attracts both locals and guests from all over the world looking for real Polish cuisine, natural food and authentic tastes.


For our last dinner, we walked over to a different part of Warsaw, to check out his highly recommended folk restaurant.  The decor is kind of kitschy with an attempt on the old tavern feel.  They have a garden on site with Polish apples and featured a cocktail made with Zubrowka and apple juice that we tried.  It was pretty good, and I could see myself recreating this drink back home.

Keith also ordered another vodka cocktail that was served with sugar candy on the bottom.  The vodka was strong, so perhaps why they added the sugar, but as he got to the bottom of the glass and all the sugar had dissolved, it was a sugar shock.  Across the room, we saw another group with one of the large beer towers that looked fun.


For his appetizer, Keith ordered Three Styles Herring that came in a cute platter in the shape of a fish.  From left to right: herring in vinegar sauce with lemon; with oil and onion served with boiled potato; and in a sweet leek and country-style cream.  I tasted the leek version, which was my favorite, and great to spread over fresh country bread.


I started with Three Mushroom Soup - the house specialty prepared from wild mushrooms (boletus, porcini, chanterelles) served with homemade noodles and a side of sour cream.  This tasted exactly like our Grandma Olga's version, and was a large portion as a starter.


For his main, Keith chose the Baked Wild Boar Loins.  The meat was marinated in mushroom sauce and bison grass, and served with crunchy tart stuffed with goat cheese and stewed vegetables.  Keith was expecting something a little different, and felt disappointed with his choice.  He must have misread the loins part, as he thought it would be more of a pulled pork or stew presentation.  Sadly, the meat was a bit dry and overcooked, leaving it chewy and unappetizing.  The tart of vegetables was nice though.


I chose Salmon in Puff Pastry that was oven-baked with garlic and herbs, served with julienne vegetables and white leek and Chardonnay wine sauce.  I loved the white leek sauce - there is something about the sweet and crunchy vegetable that I just can't get enough of.  The salmon was tender inside and very moist.  I had filled up on the soup, which left me unable to eat all my main.  But it was pretty good and I was much happier with my chose than Keith.


I saw a bushel of apples as we walked in, so knew I wanted to try the Homemade Apple Pie with crumble and Polish garden apples served directly from the oven with an authentic vanilla ice-cream.  Our server informed us we had to wait at least 15 minutes for the fresh baked pie - which we said was no problem.  The tall and thick pie arrived piping hot.  It was not as sweet as American apple pies, but tasted great with the vanilla ice cream.


Keith wanted another shot of vodka, and I convinced him to try the Soplica vodka tasting  - which came with four flavors of 20 ml each: cherry, quince, raspberry, and hazelnut.  This vodka tasted more syrupy and cheap compared to the flavored ones we had in Krakow.  Oh well.  It was still good to try one more sampling before we left Poland.

Overall, Folk Gospoda is a welcoming restaurant for groups, but can be more on the tourist-trap side.  Had we known better, we would have chosen another restaurant for our last meal.  The food was above average, but again, not something we wanted as our last impression.

Total Rating: 3.28
Food: 3.5, Price: 3, Service: 3.5, Ambience: 2, Accessibility: 4

What I ate:
Three Mushroom Soup
house specialty prepared from wild mushrooms (boletus, porcini, chanterelles)
served with homemade noodles

Salmon in Puff Pastry
oven-baked with garlic and herbs, served with julienne vegetables
and white leek and Chardonnay wine sauce

Homemade Apple Pie
with crumble and Polish garden apples served directly from the oven
with an authentic vanilla ice-cream

Plus Keith ate:
Three Styles Herring
served in oil and onion / leek and country-style cream/ vinegar sauce, served with boiled potato

Baked Wild Boar Loins
marinated in mushroom sauce and bison grass,
served with crunchy tart stuffed with goat cheese and stewed vegetables

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