After a bit of a holiday hiatus the Culinary-Passport is back with a two parter from a business trip to Poznan Poland. After a couple of flights, one long and one delayed we got into Poznan, got to the hotel, checked in and unpacked we were pretty much beat. That being the case we decided to dine in the hotel bar area which got their food from the hotel’s restaurant. The restaurant was just a bit fancier than we were feeling so it was really the best of both worlds, casual atmosphere and fine dining.
The hotel we stayed in was the Andersia and their restaurant is Flavoria which also served the daily breakfast buffet which I’ll get to next. The bar had a fun sort of retro feel to it with these interesting scoop shaped stools that felt like something out of a 70’s vision of the future. The bartender who was also our server spoke pretty good English and was very friendly and helpful answering questions on the menu.
For my first meal this trip to Poland I went with duck as it was mentioned as a good local choice.
The grilled duck came on a bed of mashed sweet potatoes with pear chutney and caramelized endives in a marjoram sauce. The duck was good, it was a bit tough to cut but it was easy to chew. There was very little seasoning to the duck so the other dishes added the flavor highlights and every side was delicious. My favorite though was the pear chutney. Accompanied by a half liter of the Lech lager on draft it was a successful first meal.
Our room rate came with the breakfast buffet served in the restaurant. The buffet was outstanding and designed to offer something for everyone no matter your culture. In addition to eggs, bacon & sausage that are standard fare for us they had a salad bar with vegetables & fruit next to a cheese and cold cut section. Across from that was a pastry, waffle, bread & roll section not far from three different hot cereal options that varied each day. There were also selections of smoothies, yogurts, juices, milk, teas & coffees. If you couldn’t find something to enjoy from this buffet you had to be basically dead. For my first breakfast I went mainly protein with a slice of melon and one of bread as nods toward balance.
The eggs had such dark orange yolk I thought they had cheese in them but it was all egg. I got one of each of the sausage options. The white sausage was best described by one of my colleagues as tasting like a hot dog. The reddish brown one was like a mini kielbasa and very good. The sausage wrapped in bacon also had a light coating of cheese so while the sausage wasn’t as good as the mini kielbasa the combination was outstanding. I couldn’t pass up grabbing a deviled egg from the salad bar area because who doesn’t love a deviled egg. I didn’t toast the bread but it was a nice multigrain with some big seeds to give it texture and crunch. The cantaloupe was ok but the mango orange juice was a fruit win. Coffeewise I snagged a cup from the plastic urn because I didn’t feel like participating in the coffee dance around the fancy cappuccino / espresso machine.
The second evening after a long work day we went across the street to a mall built where an old brewery had been, Stary Browar. One of our local colleagues was our guide & interpreter and after a bit of shopping we adjourned to one of the restaurants in the mall, Weranda which was an interesting place.
We dined in a loft section of the restaurant. I’m not sure how best to describe the place as it had big pictures of tribes people of varying cultures, hanging mobiles of orbs and stars plus plants all over the place. The picture directly across from me hanging above 3 of my dinner companions was a man with 1 tooth and two circles in his nose and a piercing or two, smiling like he just won the lottery.
I chose the grilled pork loin in mushroom sauce as my entree while three others opted for the burger and another for one of their huge salads.
You can’t even see my pork loin for the mushroom sauce but trust me there was a nicely grilled hunk of tender pork hiding under all those mushrooms and they made a tasty combo. Alongside the pork I got buckwheat groats with goat cheese and a pickled cucumber salad. As good as the pork and mushrooms were I really enjoyed the novelty of the sides more. The salad consisted of sliced cucumber pickles that had just a few pieces of onion in the mix and the tart acidic taste made a great contrast to the creamier mushroom sauce. The buckwheat was ok but the addition of the soft tangy goat cheese brought it up a few notches. To wash down the meal I started with a Polish craft porter and finished with some of the fruit infused water, both of which deserve a mention.
The porter was an accident. Our local guide was a bit of a beer connoisseur and currently on a black IPA kick so she was trying to order the two of us one. After a long conversation with our server she thought we had one on the way. He showed up with two porters and that garnered him a couple of side eyes. I decided to keep mine since they didn’t really have a black IPA. It turned out to be a good pairing with meal. It had a chocolate & molasses flavor that gave it a sweetness that cut the tartness of the pickled salad and goat cheese. Towards the end of the meal I opted for water instead of another beer. The water was served in a large carafe and had raspberries, lemons, cucumbers, mist and probably some other fruit leisurely bathing in it. I definitely got the cucumber and mint tastes with undercurrents of lemon. It was refreshing but not how I’d want my water every day.
By all accounts the burgers & salads were also excellent.
Day two had to be considered a culinary success. Next week we’ll hit the last two dinners.