I have been a huge fan of Plate culture ever since my friend invited me to Alexandra’s floating kitchen, a private kitchen on a boat docked in Aberdeen marina that serves authentic French food in the comfort of the chef’s home. What could be better? Oh yes, no corkage! I was hooked!
Ever since this experience, I think I have become a bit of a Plateculture addict as I scroll through the website at least once a week checking what gorgeous, authentic cuisine is on offer.
This week’s Plateculture journey was to take us to the home of Piotr, in an unassuming 6th floor walk up in Tin Hau. Piotr comes from a small town in the South of Poland close to Krakow. Taking inspiration from his mother and grandmother’s cooking and using local and seasonal produce from the wet market (even using a bit of Cantonese while doing so) Piotr tries to get a good balance of traditional Polish cooking with an Asian influence.
Piotr offers 5 different menus of which special vegan and vegetarian menus are available, Polish cuisine clearly doesn’t have to be all meat! While booking, I did notify Piotr that we do have someone in our party who doesn’t like chocolate (yes, absolutely mad!), he was very flexible and changed this dessert for her.
Luckily for me, I have tried Polish food before when I visited Warsaw during Easter time when everyone stays at home and indulges in pierogi, goulash, eggs and soup. To accompany us on our culinary adventure, I contributed a bottle of classic Polish bison grass vodka, Żubrówka that we managed to finish! This is excellent vodka if you like your spirits, make sure to mix it with apple juice to make a Polish ‘apple pie’.
Piotr warmly greeted us into his cosy and warm studio flat. He explained that pickle is always served during meals in Poland and he makes his own. We couldn’t wait to try his version!
The appetizer was a homemade pumpernickel bread with a Jewish eggplant dip (pasta z baklazana po zydowsku). Such breads you buy in the supermarket are usually hard as a rock and extremely dry, Piotr’s version was the opposite. The bread was so soft, almost the consistency of cake and the aubergine dip reminded me of baba ganoush. Delicious start!
Our second starter was the famous Russian dumplings as Poles say, which is cheese and potato Pierogi with a dolloping of fresh cream on top, cod fish with horseradish (ryba po Grecku) accompanied by spicy beet pickle (cwikla). Pierogis by nature have very subtle flavours and when mixed with the pickle, were divine. The horseradish certainly gave the fish a big kick and you could taste the freshness of the ingredients here.
For our main course, Piotr joined us in eating the Polish sausage and bean stew in bread (Fasolka po bretonsku). I have had a similar version in Poland but with a creamy soup. This is definitely a winter comfort food, so hearty. Piotr’s version really hit the spot, unfortunately you can’t find Polish sausages in Hong Kong, but it was tasty nevertheless. The best part was getting to the stew soaked bread at the end, although this was quite a challenge as we were already full.
Our dessert, was a baked apple with a chocolate center topped with banana and nut ice cream (pieczone jablko z lodami o smaku halwy). I personally prefer apples to be softer in texture so I would have liked these baked for a bit longer. However, the halwa ice cream really went well with the citrus-ness of the apple and was naturally sweetened by the banana, a guilt free dessert!
Verdict: This hearty meal is well suited to a winter night with some close friends. Piotr was very welcoming. Sitting and sharing stories with the chef really enhances your culinary experience, which was something we really enjoyed from the night. 420 HKD is certainly not a cheap dinner, but for an intimate evening with authentic cuisine where you can interact with the chef, bring as much booze as you like and feel at home, it is worth it for some special occasions. The only suggestion I would make is a bit of Polish music to really set the mood.