Chmielna by Grzegorz Labuda – more than food
If you manage to get past the crowded Long Market (Długi Targ) and the Green Bridge (Zielony Most) in the peak of the tourist season, you’re up for a reward! A dinner in the restaurant Chmielna by Grzegorz Labuda. As the name suggests, the seasoned head chef has taken over this place and brought with him almost 30 years worth of experience.
„I have always been loyal to Polish cuisine. At some point, I started to explore the cuisine of Pomorskie region. I have always thought that living in Poland, growing up here, made it more difficult to prepare food from other parts of the world in a true, professional manner. I think it’s easier to get the grasp of the cuisine of the place you’re growing up in ” , says Grzegorz Labuda.
Indeed, the menu of the restaurant offers a wide range of Polish flavours, blended in an intriguing and uncanny way. Take the dessert section, for instance: white chocolate ice-cream with celery root, served with orange sorbet with parsley; or blackcurrant and banana sorbet with vanilla cream and bay leaf. Intrigued yet? Rightly so, as the entire menu is a clever mix of flavours.
So, I have decided to order the blackcurrant and banana sorbet, having in mind the intriguing mix of chocolate and bay leaf. And boy does it taste good! But before I got to get a taste of the ice-cream, a delightful starter appeared in front of me. Cod steak tartare with pickles, red onions and wild mustard seeds. The main dish is the complete opposite of the delicate fish: a tender venison shank with bison grass sauce and delicate puree of beets and horseradish, served with caramelised pear. A true symphony of flavours.
Grzegorz Labuda speaks of his passion to our region’s cuisine: “I am very fond of the cuisine of Pomorskie region. One of the reasons is the abundance of ingredients. Other regions of Poland don’t have it. There is game meat, freshwater fish, saltwater fish, fruit, geese, ducks, pork – everything we need is here”. It’s impossible to disagree!
Since he likes to experiment with flavours, the head chef changes the menu several times a year. “I replace ingredients all the time. You might say that it comes from my constant need to create new things”. His inspirations come from old cook books, among other things. His favourite one is the nineteenth-century „The Cook Book of Gdańsk” (“Gdańska książka kucharska”) by Marie Rosnack.
Grzegorz Labuda tells beautiful and wise stories about the art of composing dishes (it’s no coincidence that the famous “Physiology of Taste” by A.Brillat-Savarin is on his shelf). A visit to Chmielna restaurant is so much more than just filling up your stomach. It’s a much broader experience.
“I assume that people visit restaurants to experience things they wouldn’t prepare on their own at home. To catch flavours impossible to create at home without prior experience. Truly, restaurants are mostly about emotions ” , sums up the head chef.
tel. 58 582 02 11
Chmielna 26 80-748 Gdańsk