You know from my last post that my email request to Atelier Amaro was unsuccessful in securing a reservation. Ed called them the same day I sent my email. They put him on a waiting list and said they would let him know by 3 PM on the day we’d requested. My train arrived at 3:05, and as we were exiting main train station in Warsaw at 3:15, his phone rang. They would be able to fit us in.
The matre d’ told us that they liked to keep a small table open in case someone important, such as ourselves, called. I guess that was his way of saying that since big names such as Foreign Minister Sikorski and Anne Applebaum, Wills and Kate, or Brangelina, hadn’t called, we got to be their important people that evening because that’s the way they make everyone feel once you step in the door.
We arrived early. Ed had read online that many people have had trouble finding the restaurant. It’s in a park, but not where google maps puts it. It’s a small, red brick building that used to be public restrooms. Thanks to Ed’s map study, we found it more quickly than we had anticipated.
Atelier Amaro earned its first Michelin star earlier this year. They are the first restaurant in Poland to do so. Part of the Slow Food movement, their focus on local and seasonal means that the menu changes weekly – that’s right, 52 times a year. How do the waiters remember all of the complex dish descriptions? The most surprising element that week? Hay ash.
That’s right, hay burned to an ash, and processed to get just the right texture. Our waiter told us that took months of experimentation. It was baked into a black bread, made into little decorative stems placed on some courses that looked like fruit, and used as a plate garnish on some courses. Very surprising with an interesting taste. I can’t say the ash was delicious, but at the same time, I’m really glad that I can say I’ve had it and I would gladly eat these dishes again. The hay ash added to dishes that I can, without a doubt, describe as delicious. See, Mom, you were onto something with things that were “nice and brown” you just needed to take it to the next level!
Many of the ingredients struck me as traditionally Polish; they were just prepared in a modern way. The most impressive presentation for the night would have to go to the herring and preserved cucumber presented on a huge, two-inch thick, platter-sized slab of pink Himalayan salt with chive ice cream and some sort of berry jam.
|I love the serving piece and the salty flavor it imparted. I guess the salt platter gets a little smaller every time it’s washed.|
We both had their 8 course tasting menu. That sounds like a lot but each course consisted of about four small bites. Even though we had seen the menu with three words describing each course, there were still plenty of surprises. There were three amuse-bouches, seven courses, a pre-dessert, our final course, and then a couple of house-made truffles with our coffee and tea. You can see and read more about it on my food blog very soon.
Dining at such a restaurant is a real splurge for us – akin to seeing a Broadway play in NYC. It’s not something we would do regularly, but it was a marvelously memorable and entertaining evening.