“ Address: Al. Jana Pawla 11, 41a lok. / Telephone: +48 669 537 188 „
I was amazed a few of weeks ago to find a small restaurant on al. Jana Pawla called Pan Ziemniak, (Mr Potato) selling baked potatoes. I know potatoes play a big part in the Polish diet but Poles generally don't like to eat the cooked skin of a potato so I was a bit concerned about how popular this new restaurant would be. As well as being amazed I was quite excited, I love jacket potatoes and looking at the blackboard at the back of the restaurant I could see there was a good list of appetising and inventive fillings.
The restaurant is small and at a push can probably fit about 20 people in, that's if you include the stools around the serving counter. The decor is simple and attractive with contemporary black tables and chairs. It was early evening when I called in and most of the tables were filled so my worries about this particular business venture vanished. A young girl stood behind the counter, she could speak English very well and was very helpful explaining the different fillings and the prices of potatoes. As I was on my way to my son's flat who lives just around the corner, I decided to order a take away rather than sit at a table on my own. After scrutinising the board, I ordered two baked potatoes with two different fillings; Indian curry and zucchini with mascarpone. I paid the young lady 16 zloty and then a gentleman came along, reached up to a high shelf where the special baked potato oven was, took 2 potatoes out and started to create his bit of magic. I went to the front of the restaurant to sit down while this was happening.
I didn't find out what the magic was until I reached my son's flat and opened the polystyrene carton. Inside were two large jacket potatoes that had been sliced in half. The potato inside both skins was very soft and creamy. Before I placed any of the fillings on top of the potatoes, I tried a forkful of the buttery potato and it was absolutely mouth watering. The texture was wonderful and the taste of melted butter perfectly mashed with a fork was out of this world.
Once that ecstatic moment had passed I poured the Indian curry filling into one potato and the zucchini and mascarpone filling into the other. My granddaughter's eyes lit up. I asked her which filling she wanted to try and she said that she wanted to try both. I could see from her face that she preferred the curry mixture as I did. It was hot but not over the top and I could taste lots of nice spices like cumin, chilli, ginger, and cinnamon. The mascarpone mixture was good with plenty of chopped zucchini in the mixture but a little too creamy for my taste. I didn't eat all of this mixture as it was a bit too sickly. The fillings came separately in two round polystyrene containers and were still hot by the time I poured each one into the potato skins. The amounts of filling were more than adequate - too much really. We didn't finish both potatoes as we were both full.
On leaving the restaurant I took a publicity leaflet so I could study the prices. You can have 2 potatoes with flavoured butter or cottage cheese for 6 zloty. Flavoured butters include garlic, onion, chilli and herb. Chives and paprika can be added to cottage cheese for extra flavour, also.
For 6 zloty you can also choose from delicious fillings like herring in Greek yoghurt, salmon with dill and capers, egg and bacon, Russian stuffing, Feta and olives.
Moving up to the 8 zloty price bracket - there is a choice between meat bolognese sauce and turkey cooked in a sweet and sour sauce.
There is also a special lunch menu available for a super price of 16 zloty. Two choices are: Menu 1 consists of 2 jacket potatoes,with a choice of fillings, salad and a drink. Menu 2 consists of 1 jacket potato with filling, soup, salad and a drink.
What is my verdict on Pan Ziemniak? I am really thrilled that this small restaurant has opened up in this location, a busy thoroughfare with lots of other restaurants and take away kiosks selling allsorts of foods. As far as I know this is the first baked potato restaurant to open in this area of Warsaw. I can't fault the jacket potatoes, they were cooked perfectly. The curry filling was delicious and the mascarpone and zucchini was good if a bit too rich. I couldn't have created a better baked potato myself. I think the prices are excellent and for just over £3 you can order enough food to fill the hungriest of bellies.
You can find Pan Ziemniak in Pasaż Muranow on al. Jana Pawla II 41a, Warszawa
Tel: +48 669 537 188
Opening Times: Mon-Sat 11am-9pm, Sunday closed.
Bus/Tram Stop - Kino Femina
Today's (6 November) rate is: 1 PLN = 0.194372 GBP 1 GBP = 5.14478 PLN