In Polish, kokietować (“to flirt”) means to try to attract someone by showing sex appeal, and so it also happens at the Kokieteria Restaurant in the Hanza Hotel in Gdańsk. The restaurant is located on the Motława River, right at the centre of the “culinary mall” that starts with Beer Inn Gdański Bowke and ends with the 1918 Kubicki Restaurant.
While relishing the exquisite dishes served by Head Chef Daniel Chrzanowski, you can look out through the windows and admire Gdańsk’s tourist highlights such as the Motława, the Maritime Museum, or the museum ship Sołdek – the first one built in the Gdańsk Shipyard after World War II. The friendly toned-down colours of the interior make a perfect background for large-format black-and-white photos from the life of the city. One of the rooms is decorated with charming fashion photos, exuding sex appeal, which only adds credibility to the restaurant’s name.
The menu contains dishes of European cuisine as well as many native Polish dainties, such as little pierogi stuffed with venison and topped with smoked plum sauce, sour barley soup in bread loaf, or baked cod fillet in tomato coating. What is particularly noteworthy is the courtesy towards people on a gluten-free diet in the form of gluten-free pasta accompanied by broccoli with a flavour of goat cheese. The Chef assured us that one gluten-free item on the menu was a standard that the Kokieteria could always be relied on to follow.
We began our visit to the Kokieteria from Brussels sprout salad served with toasts, parsley mousse, and goat cheese. Tender Brussels sprouts went well with creamy goat cheese and refreshing parsley sauce while walnuts gave it a distinct character. All in all, this is a dish that can also be treated as the main course – especially by ladies and guests with a smaller appetite.
Another typically Polish dish, rather hard to find in restaurants, was Polish black pudding served on a bed of caramelized apples. Flavours in this dish were distinct and intense. The dominant ones were those of spicy black pudding, sour apple, and the sweet and spicy sauce generously seasoned with cinnamon. The black pudding, melting in the mouth, was pleasantly supplemented by a crunchy apple. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? And it tastes even better. The ingredients are simple and typically Polish, but prepared in an intriguing way. What is interesting, in old Polish cuisine cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, and other spices were extremely important and frequently used. Does this mean we are in for a return to medieval inspirations in Polish cuisine?
Next, we had an opportunity to taste one of Poland’s best fish – zander. In this case, the fist was placed on a bed of creamy pearl barley and accompanied by forest mushrooms. The flavour was complemented by remarkable marjoram pesto and topinambour – one of the forgotten vegetables currently returning to favour. What we found interesting was the combination of fish and aromatic mushrooms – a truly excellent duo. In addition to that, there was groats – healthy and typically Polish. A splendidly balanced dish with a rich flavour.
Still, by far the number one of our feast was fried goose breast on a bed of dumplings, served with apple mousse and blackcurrant sauce. The goose breast of a substantial size, cut in half, perfectly seasoned and topped with blackcurrant sauce, will satisfy the most discerning palates. The delicious tiny dumplings stuffed with raisins and topped with spice sauce plus the velvety apple mousse made a perfect set. With caramelized almonds added to that, the dish with a powerful taste of Polish tradition was ready. It was here that the artistry of the Kokieteria’s cooking manifested itself most evidently to us. The combination of the sour taste of blackcurrant sauce with the sweetness of almond and the refinement of goose meat is the best mark of Polish cuisine.
The conclusion and culmination of our visit to the Kokieteria was wholemeal apple pie topped with sweet date sauce, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Sweet creamy ice cream was a good match for the dry taste and crispy structure of the pastry.
Summing up – the culinary experience at the Kokieteria was truly unforgettable. It is certainly worth visiting Hanza Hotel’s restaurant to find out for yourself that the Kokieteria can indeed seduce you with its flavours. We will be returning here all the more gladly as Chef Chrzanowski changes the menu four times a year.
Brussels sprout salad served with toasts, parsley mousse, and goat cheese – 17 PLN
Polish black pudding on a bed of caramelized apples – 19 PLN
Fried goose breast on a bed of dumplings, served with apple mousseand blackcurrant sauce – 48 PLN
Zander served on a bed of creamy pearl barley, accompanied by forest mushrooms – 48 PLN
Wholemeal apple pie topped with sweet date sauce, served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – 18 PLN
Text and photos: Iwona Kowalska
Tokarska 6, 80-888 Gdańsk
phone: 661 511 811
Restaurant is open every day from 12:00 till the last guest.
[mapa]Tokarska 6, 80-888 Gdańsk[/mapa]