Photo © Karol Kacperski
These days the Tri-city boasts plenty to justify why it has become an attractive place for overseas visitors, with some of its celebrated charms actually dating back centuries. A more recent addition to the list is the development of the restaurant market, resulting in some very good places to eat throughout the three cities of Gdansk, Sopot and Gdynia. Polish chefs, many shaped by experiences working abroad, have markedly raised the standards across the board, and you’ll now find not just a wider range of cuisines available, but also a constant flow of new, original dishes prepared with skill and imagination as the increased choice brings greater competition and drives the whole sector forwards. The improvement is not confined to the top end of the market either, as seen in many of the recent restaurant openings looking to attract locals out of season with good food at good prices. Quite frankly if you are visiting from western Europe or Scandinavia, you are going to be delighted at the quality to price ratio you’ll find in many places. Eating out has become so good, that food lovers could actually make a case for visiting simply for that reason alone. One of the added pluses is that the attractive pricing means that it’s possible to enjoy places you might normally consider a little at the pricey or ‘special occasion’ end of the market. Factor in the special promotions that spring up during the off-season and there’s a whole bunch of places worth considering; over the next few months we intend to use this blog to make you more aware of some of those.
The first place we’re going to start is Vinoteque in Sopot. Running through the end of November, Vinoteque are holding a steak festival; combined with the impressive choice of wine, for which we know Vinoteque best of all, it’s well-worth a look.
On our visit we were lucky enough to meet the Head Chef of the Sheraton, Krystian Szidel, who gave us an insight into what goes into making a good steak. He showed us different cuts of meat ready to be cooked with a Tomahawk from Poland; sirloin from Brazil; tenderloin from Argentina and a Scottish T-bone, and explained a key technique is to let the meat warm gradually to room temperature before beginning preparation rather than taking it straight from the fridge and putting it onto the heat.
The Sheraton, of course, has a Sommelier (a chap named Andrzej Strzelecki) who, along with the Sheraton’s wine suppliers Partner Centre, has paired wines to the special menu in order to make the most of the taste and the aroma of both food and wine. These included, rather surprisingly for us not particularly expert wine connoisseurs, a Portuguese white to go with the starter of Beef Carpaccio, marinated wild mushrooms, Parmesan and rocket salad.
We would typically order red with red meat, but it has to be said that the combination of the chardonnay and the carpaccio, which arrived under a glass dome filled with rich-smelling smoke, was a surprising hit. The reds appeared with the main courses however and the special menu makes five recommendations including a delicious Georgian Mukuzani and a home-grown Rondo/Acolon from just outside of Kraków. The preparation and presentation of the steaks, which came served with steak fries and seasonal vegetables, combined with the wine recommendations made for a perfect meal. To round things off we ordered a slice of the pumpkin tart, whose simple description rather underplayed how very tasty it was.
We left extremely satisfied and with the thought that, as great a value as there is to be found in the Tri-city these days, it really is worth spending a bit extra now and again just for the opportunity to enjoy not just great food, but the all-round experience that comes from dining in a place like the Sheraton.