Hearty Polish fare – with a little twist – awaits you at Platzki
Review by Catherine Ferguson
As any self-respecting Irishwoman will tell you, few things in life are more comforting than a great big steaming bowl of stew, a wee drop of local ale and plenty of dumplings to boot. So just imagine my delight when the Platzki boys brought their unique brand of modern Polish cuisine to Manchester.
Having made a name for themselves in their Pop-up at The Kitchen in Spinningfields, business partners Lukasz Maurek and Przemek Marcinkowski have taken everything you thought you knew about Polish food and flipped it on its head. Their tiny little restaurant is festooned with seasonal plants and shrubs and the scent of bundles of drying herbs hangs heavy in the air. There are retro cut-glass goblets and quirky knick-knacks tucked in every corner.
Open from Wednesday – Sunday, midweek is dedicated to the discerning office-dwelling lunch-hunter, serving soups, dumplings and pancakes, while at the weekend, the doors are thrown open to the evening crowd with a slightly fancier affair and a new menu every Friday.
Everything on the menu was traditionally Eastern European, but with a pretty little twist. Chunky vegetable borsch and pork loin stuffed with prunes topped the bill, but I plumped for the pierogi filled with duck, served with orange and ginger jus. Pierogi are traditional Polish dumplings: delightfully fluffy with a delicate sauce and tiny little edible flowers, they wouldn’t have been out of place in South East Asia as the gyoza’s long lost cousin.
The main courses were equally simple but satisfying, whether it was the venison roast with rosemary potato dumplings and wild mushroom sauce, steamed cabbage leaves with bulgar and roast vegetables or my favourite, ox cheeks cooked in red wine and thyme with roasted purple potatoes and pickles salad. Damn those pickles were good. This time last week, I’m not sure I even knew that the pint-sized pumpkin-style patty pan squash existed: now it’s my favourite new thing, as long as it’s pickled in sweet Polish vinegar.
So that brings us to pudding… a selection of Polish cakes and fresh fruit and these guys don’t half know how to make a cheesecake. They’ve got a sideboard positively heaving under the weight of freshly made cakes and dishes full of berries. While some of the options were fairly traditional, the yoghurt cherry cheesecake was light as a feather with a delicate chocolate sponge base – and the obligatory cherry vodka shot, of course.
With Platzki rapidly becoming known as one of the best hidden gems in town and space at a premium, weekend bookings are essential and if you arrive a little early, there’s a ping pong table just across the courtyard to work up an appetite. What better way to spend a Friday night?
*Enjoy your meal
Enquiries: Platzki, Unit F, Deansgate Mews, 255 Deansgate Upstairs, Manchester M3 4EN /www.platzki.com