“ Address: Jana Pawla II No. 82/ Warsaw / Poland „
Finding a quick bite to eat in Warsaw isn't easy. I know it should be living in a capital city but I seem to struggle. When I am out and about taking photos I sometimes get very hungry and thirsty. Really, all I am looking for is a sandwich and a cup of coffee. You can buy sandwiches from kiosks but they weigh a ton and once eaten your stomach feels like a lead weight - all bread and very few ingredients. Of course we have McDonalds and Kentucky Fried Chicken and thousands of kebab joints but I am not a fan of any of these. I usually end up coming home at around 4pm and making my own sandwich which throws my eating habits right out of the window making evening dinner very late.
The other day when I was out with my granddaughter I spotted a new cafe in Arkadia. It has probably been there a while but I have only just noticed it. I was feeling quite peckish, liked the look of the sandwiches on offer underneath the glass counter and also the look of the retro 60s decor. I just love those hanging bright orange lampshades.
Before going to the counter to order I found an empty table which was near to the serving counter and parked my granddaughter on a seat where I could see her. The young lady asked me what I would like to drink. Coffee - but which one? I am really old fashioned when it comes to ordering coffee - I either like an Espresso or just an ordinary cup of coffee with milk. All these fancy Italian names like Cafe Mocha Grande and Doppio Espresso Macchiato are lost on me even though I can understand and speak Italian. All I want is a cup of coffee - nothing fancy. On the wooden board above the counter all beverages are listed in a nice fancy script. There are over 15 different varieties of coffee but only one variety of tea (Dilmah) which I thought was odd but that's by the way. Prices start at 5 zloty (just over a £1) which isn't bad to say the restaurant is situated in one of the fanciest shopping centres in Warsaw. I chose a Caffe Latte priced 6 zloty (£1.20). Soft drinks, smoothies, beer, mineral water, Red Bull, Fresh juices are also on offer and I did notice on top of the counter a selection of wine bottles. Mostly French and Italian wines. A couple had been opened so that suggests that you can buy wine by the glass but not a good idea as you never know how long the bottle has been opened.
Moving over to the chilled cabinet where the sandwiches were placed I spotted a selection of fresh fruit nicely displayed in rattan baskets but thought I would pass on a banana or piece of melon as I was dying for a sandwich. On offer that day there were 4 different Ciabattas. The fillings were as follows: Palma Ham, Mozzarella and Pesto, Smoked Salmon and Grilled Chicken. I chose the Palm Ham variety. Having paid for the coffee and sandwich I then went to the table. My granddaughter had her own food and drink which I had prepared earlier at home but that didn't stop her eating part of my sandwich!
While I was sat waiting for my coffee to be served I had a look round at the decor. It was funky with bright orange and green everywhere. The tables were square made from teak and the chairs were made from the same material with aluminium frames. On the walls were a selection of photographs of people enjoying themselves whilst eating at this cafe. Again, very bright colours. A glass vase sat on each table with one single flower inside and the menu card which was large, orange and green. In a way it reminded me of my college cafe - bright, practical and pretty funky. I liked the decor and I also liked the fact that it was quiet with only a couple of other people sat down reading newspapers.
My Caffe Latte was served very quickly. It came in a long glass with a spoon, served on a saucer. Sugar came separately in sachets - one white granulated, the other Demerara. I don't take sugar so didn't use either. As soon as the saucer hit the table I had a sip - I was a bit disappointed. Too much frothy milk and it wasn't hot enough. Then along came the Ciabatta. This was much better. Very long in size and wholemeal. I could have chosen a granary version but thought this would be hard work with my delicate teeth - all those seeds. Yes, it was fresh and soft inside and full of ingredients. As well as 4 or 5 pieces of Palma Ham there were 4 splodges of Mozzarella Cheese which my granddaughter spotted and asked if she could have some and quite a few sun dried tomatoes sat on a thin bed of lettuce. I wasn't expecting the cheese or tomatoes so was quite pleased. I gave my grandaughter some pieces of ham which she enjoyed but she wasn't keen on the sun dried tomatoes. As I was slowly chewing my sandwich I saw a middle aged couple enter the cafe, order coffee and and sit in front of us. On their table they placed two plastic containers filled with cakes from Carrefour which is next door. What's strange about that? Nothing except they opened the containers and started tucking into the cakes. I was surprised to see that allowed in Warsaw as they are still very rule bound but the assistant didn't seem to bother and let them get on with eating their mid morning snack. I wish I had done that now. I'll remember for next time.
Apart from sandwiches there are salads and quiche on offer and also desserts if you still feel hungry after a savoury snack. I was tempted to try a piece of quiche as the filling looked deep set and the pastry quite thin which is the way I prefer quiche but passed on this occasion. The desserts looked top as well with a variety of yummy flavours to choose from like apple pie, cheesecake, carrot cake, muffins, chocolate torte and lots of coloured, fruity ice creams.
I paid 16 zloty(£3.22) for my sandwich and coffee which is good value because I know that a cup of coffee will knock you back at least 10 zloty (£2.00) in other cafes in Arkadia and sandwiches are much more expensive. If you want a quick bite to eat without any fuss then I recommend the W Biegu Cafe which is owned by Jacobs Kronung (coffee makers) who have a network of cafes throughout Poland. There is a Wi-Fi connection so you can sit and check your e-mails or just read your morning paper if you want to. Location wise it is great - in the centre of the Arkadia Shopping Mall. Easy to get to by tram (Nos 1,17, 22, 33). Please note that the cafe doesn't have any toilet/bathroom facilities but there are plenty in the shopping complex which are spotlessly clean and suitable for mothers and babies and people with disabilities.
Even though my Caffe Latte wasn't very hot I would still recommend this cafe. It's much better to sit down and eat a freshly prepared sandwich than a piece of dried rubble from a kiosk. Next time I will order one of those fancy Italian coffees - it might be hotter.