I have a half-arsed theory about why, despite there being getting on for a million Poles living in these isles (Polish is now, having overtaken Indian, the most common non-UK nation of birth for people living in Blighty) our streets are heaving with skleps, but you see scarcely any Polish restaurants about. Polish cooking is, according to my limited but not insignificant experience, best suited to the home; its canonical dishes are full of comfort and slow-cooked warmth. If one of the attractions of eating out is getting to try stuff you wouldn't bother to do yourself, there's not much sense in going out for the same food your babcia taught you to make.
That said, for those of you for whom the delights of bigos and gołębie are unfamiliar, Newcastle does have one Polish restaurant, and I'm here to tell you it's a cracker. It's also just a short stagger up the hill from our house, and by some distance the best - the only? - restaurant within a walk from our front door worth sitting down at. We've been a bunch of times and tried a good deal of the menu, so let me tell you what some of their best dishes are in order that, if you aren't already, you can get properly acquainted with this most hearty of cuisines.
|Boiled and fried pierogi|
We've managed dessert once and it wasn't that flash, some sort of pancake with sweetened quark. If you get to the end of two courses here and feel like you need more food then you should probs see your GP because something ain't right with you.
Baba Yaga means "Old Witch" in Polish and Slavic folklore, hence a liberal smattering of Halloween-type vibe around the place. Mostly, though, it's a rather choice set-up of vintage furniture, dark wood, exposed brick and flea-market knick-knacks. I'm not completely sure why they've hung a bunch of chairs from the roof. Maybe they just had too many.
This is a cracking restaurant run by lovely people. The food is ridiculously good value - we've never managed to spend more than about £15-20 per head, including booze - and the type of thing that sticks perfectly to the ribs in these dark days. If you're familiar with Polish food, you'll recognise a lot of the menu and I reckon you'll love it. If you're not, but appreciated hearty portions of homely cooking, even when it's not your own home, you'll love it too.
70 Adelaide Terrace
Newcastle upon Tyne