“ Address: Saska Kępa / ul. Zwycięzców 46 / 03-938 Warsaw „
Since I began teaching in the trendy Saska Kepa part of Warsaw, I've been asking people for their opinions on local restaurants. One that appeared to be popular was Il Caminetto (The Chimney), an Italian restaurant located at the end of Zwyciecow street, the opposite end of it's more fashionable Francuska side and near a small market. Located on the top floor of what looks a bit like a warehouse, it doesn't exactly jump out at you. Undeterred by the lack of plush surroundings, I took my student's word for it and booked a table for my wife and I on our anniversary this year. I was immediately seen to by the friendly and helpful staff and went back to work, looking forward to a scrumptious evening meal.
The owner and chefs are actually Italian, a bit of a rarity in Poland's capital. The inside is kitsch but warm, made of brickwork and guarded over by the Umbrian owner who sat in his tracksuit by a fridge filled with Italian soft drinks, only popping out for the occasional cigarette. It is said that if you want a traditional Umbrian dish, he's ready to don his apron and burst into action.
Despite a fantastically tempting menu of meat, fish, pasta and gnocci dishes, it was the pizza we wanted to go for. Really traditional thin base pizza is ny on impossible to come about and I wanted to put it to the test. The varied wine menu is said to be good value but we stuck with Pilsner Urquell, in favour of the other brands of Italian lager on offer like Peroni.
After a small wait, we were served two large pizzas that arrived hanging off their plates, we were also given various bottles of olive oil, as well as the correct cutlery to knife our way through the pizza without it shooting off the table! They were not only cooked to perfection but the ingredients also tasted much better than so many of their competitors who clearly like to scrimp on the quality. We ordered a Quattro Formaggi and Pepperoni, the latter really was quite spicy and would think twice about ordering it, if you are not into hot food.
The restaurant is quite large and they play Italian music, it's quite well lit but as customers are gently spread through the restaurant rather than being crammed next to each other, it makes for a rather romantic experience. At about 27zl (£5.50) for a pizza, it won't exactly break the bank and when the bill comes it's accompanied by a lovely shot of limoncello for each diner. Smooth and citrus, it's perfect to wash the meal down. I'll definitely be coming back here to test out some of their other delicacies!