I am currently sitting in the Canis restaurant, located on Ogarna street, in the heart of Gdańsk. The room I am sitting in is beautifully arranged, with distinct, historical columns. I peek at an old photo that is hanging on the wall. It shows the same, beautiful columns accompanied by tables arranged into neat rows. The fact that this place also used to be a restaurant before the war spices things up.
Before I delve into details of décor, I have to take a minute to talk about the façade of the building the restaurant is in. It is one of my favourite building in this part of the city. Neo-Gothic façade, combined with flower pots and a bicycle parked right next to them create a harmonious, charming combination. The townhouse was lucky enough to have survived the turmoil of World War II. Its interior, with its antique columns and a skylight, were equally lucky.
I am in awe of the modern décor of the place. More often than not, restaurant owners describe their businesses with a clichéd: “we pay attention to every detail”. However, in case of the Canis restaurant, this is 100% accurate. Every detail, starting with salt and pepper shakers, through staff aprons, to armchair upholstery are in harmony, and the antique columns are the icing on the “décor cake”.
The menu also reflects harmony and attention to detail. This is largely to the efforts of the head chef, Mateusz Janusz. He has been in charge of the kitchen since the very beginning of the restaurant in 2017. As he says:
“We do everything to ensure our dishes and wines are top-quality. We base our menu on seasonal products. We base on European cuisine, giving it an Asiatic twist by pronouncing the umami flavour. This is the ‘fifth flavour’, not yet explored by European cuisine.”
Getting the umami flavour right is, in my opinion, key to success of vegetarian dishes, which are plenty in the Canis menu. I begin my feast with a vegan appetizer, brilliant cashew quark served with crispy filo dough rolls filled with sweet cherry tomatoes.
Next, I try the vegetarian soup that stole my heart: mushroom stock with Jerusalem artichoke purée, potato cookies and smoked cream. The soup is pronounced, and the outstanding hint of the smooth Jerusalem artichoke delightfully cranks up its autumn vibe.
I also try two meat dishes: duck breast and wild boar sirloin. The duck is excellent and it almost melts in the mouth. By definition, its meat should be slightly pink and combine harmoniously with the sauce. The duck served in the Canis restaurant is perfect, even more so with smoky earl-grey demi glacé sauce, and pumpkin with orzo further emphasizes its sweetness and tenderness. The wild boar sirloin goes with prune and juniper sauce, Jerusalem artichoke purée (love it!).
There is also a side of savoy cabbage gołąbki (a type of traditional Polish cabbage rolls) with black lentils and cashew nuts. These rolls can be also ordered separately, and I highly recommend the meatless version!
If you know anything about me, you can bet your life that I wouldn’t pass on the dessert! Date toffee pudding with caramelized apples and ice-cream is a perfect autumn treat.
The menu of the Canis restaurant is consistent, engaging, and it is changed every couple of months because the head chef enjoys to play with flavours. What connects all the dishes is simplicity and attention to flavour combinations. Says the head chef: “I don’t like overcomplicated food. I try to keep my dishes simple, I also try to infuse my cooking with my childhood flavours, with a slight twist. I like to show the guests that a dish can be prepared differently. Take gnocchi, for example: tiny noodles that you may remember from your childhood. I serve them with truffle sauce and Parmesan cheese.”
Since the full name of the restaurant is: Canis. Music and Wine, we have to mention live music every evening. And when it comes to the last part of the name, let me say this: trust the waiters. They will recommend the best wine to enjoy with your food. I especially recommend trying one of the wines from the Polish Turnau vineyard. And for dessert, make sure to have a glass of sweet wine. It is really hard to believe that such smooth, balanced wine could have been made from fruit grown on Polish soil! And if you really resent wine, there is a wide range of gins waiting. Reading the menu can make your head spin, so don’t be afraid to rely on the waiter.
Oh, and make sure to take your time before eating to explore the restaurant — these antique columns really deserve taking a closer look at. There are even gilding remnants to be seen!
For obvious reasons, the Canis restaurant is currently closed. Thinking about their guests, hungry for restaurant vibe, the head chef came up with the idea of a “Party Box”. Offer includes five boxes: burger, tortilla, chicken, vegetarian, and wine box. Each is perfect for a party of four. Apart from that, the restaurant has also launched its Christmas offer, with such classics as uszka (classic Christmas dumplings), or borscht (red beet soup). There is also a delightful Jerusalem artichoke and porcini consommé, or duck leg with thyme sauce. You can find the details on the restaurant’s fan page: www.facebook.com/canisgdansk/photos/a.310839666100173/1059299747920824.