Potent potables in Eliksir. Eliksir is potent in both drinks served there, as well as in statistic data. During my conversation with Eliksir’s co-owner, Mateusz Trzeciak, statistics played the leading role: the percentage of people who recommended this place, what percentage of visitors came back, the percentage distribution of guests’ orders, to what extent was Eliksir a restaurant, and how much there was in it from a cocktail bar.
This last question is crucial for visitors: is it a place for those who want to have a drink, or for those who want enjoy tasty food? The answer will satisfy both groups, because Eliksir is both: a cocktail bar and a restaurant. Their tasting menu is the reflection of this unique concept: dishes from five- and seven-course menus have been paired with drinks. Mateusz Trzeciak told me how Eliksir evolved to its current form.
“Originally, we placed greater emphasis on the cocktail bar with a snack menu. With time, we noticed that guests stayed longer and wanted to eat something more substantial, too. We wanted to help them choose and offered something more than snacks. For those who do not want to wonder what drink to choose, we have prepared a comprehensive tasting menu. Both our bar and restaurant faces are equally important to us. This is the way Eliksir came to be: fifty percent restaurant, and fifty percent cocktail bar. ”
It is worth noting that the price of the five-course tasting menu is 99 PLN. Tasting menu with drink pairing costs 189 PLN. If you get into the tasting menu they offer, Eliksir changes its menu every two months, letting you try something new 6 times a year, give or take. Each menu change has its theme: summer, herbs, travelling around the world, or the best of – guests’ favourite dishes from the previous year). For guests is a lot of fun, because they can try new flavours and explore chef’s new ideas. For the team at Eliksir it is a challenge. As Mateusz Trzeciak, the co-owner, admits:
“Frequent menu changes is an extremely difficult and expensive, but ambitious solution. Developing a new menu and testing it lets the team develop and grow. There is no place for copycats. On the other hand, there is the guarantee of constant development and bolstering of creativity. And for our guests, that’s always a surprise. They can re-discover Eliksir over and over again. ”
Chef of Eliksir Restaurant
Contents of the plates are meticulously supervised by Paweł Wątor, co-founder and the head chef. What he says about Eliksir’s kitchen:
“My culinary experience (nearly twenty years in the industry) encompasses working on various projects in Poland and London, from the mundane, everyday cooking to fine dining and various experiments. I have managed to strike a balance: I use simple and mostly well-known ingredients, but in a way none of our guests could re-create at home. There’s something simple in my dishes, something that makes our guests feel comfortable. At the same time, there are elements of surprise. I try to combine the two worlds, watching however that there is “form over substance” approach present. My idea is cooking that would be a different experience from having a dinner at a bistro or at home. This is why people go to restaurants. In any other case, in my opinion, restaurants lose their raison d’etre”
The chef is smiling and full of energy (a mixture of Kashubian and Highlander genes does its job), which is reflected in the food. Aside from looking great, the dishes are excellently composed and you can feel the good energy coming straight from them. And so, the smooth, green gazpacho gets a boost in the form of a dry cucumber and gin sorbet.
The mouth-melting salmon is accompanied by crispy golden balls of potato croquettes and a refreshing fennel salad.
Guinea fowl with corn is a combination of creamy mashed potatoes with sweet corn, wonderfully pronounced salsa, and a magnificent, fried polenta pillow.
I’ve tried all three dishes in Eliksir and I find it hard to tell which I found the best, because each was as promised by the chef: not overly complicated, surprising and delicious.
When I asked about his favourite dish from the menu, Paweł Wątor said: burgers, which made everyone laugh. I expected gazpacho or guinea fowl to be the answers, but I can totally relate. Excellent quality beef from Pniewy, excellent ingredients and homemade buttery burger buns (I had seen them in a photo, straight from the oven), is something that anyone would fall in love with.
Hamburger buns are just a fraction of Eliksir’s home-made ingredients. Every day, the staff bakes fresh bread, which goes great with brown salted butter, prepares marinades, squeezes juices, prepares cheese, cordials, and syrups. Even tonic water is prepared on the premises, and the home-made energy drink is a real hit
The plates are head chef Paweł’s concern, and the glasses are taken care of by bar head, Pavlo. To truly know the skills of a bartender, it’s best to go for the tasting menu, in which dishes are paired with drinks. However, if you just don’t feel like having drinks, you can go for “Starogdańskie” beer, brewed by, and according to the recipe of the former master brewer of Wrzeszcz brewery. There is also a wide selection of champagnes, whisky (and cigars), or you can compose your own spritzer with anything you want.
Last but not least, Eliksir is worth visiting for its historical brick walls of the former garrison commander villa from 1882.
I hope to come back here this summer, because the tasting menu ignited my imagination. And I hope for another chat with the head chef.
Mariana Hemara 1, Gdańsk
phone.: +48 570 191 910