Wednesday, 16 March 2011

She is a Polish Girl in America...

...and this is Patio, a Polish restaurant in Shepherd's Bush.

After many, many recommendations and numerous walks past thinking "I wonder what it's like in there..." last night I finally went to Patio, a Polish restaurant located at the top of Goldhawk Road, very close to Shepherd's Bush Green.

It is not unusual for restaurants to place copies of their (positive) reviews in their windows. Patio virtually uses laminated press cuttings as wall paper both inside and out of their restaurant. However, for them to do so and with not one duplicate review in sight (I checked) I believe this suggests nothing more than an honest pride in their achievements. I have always liked how restaurants do this, as long as they can back up any grand claims of course.

Patio lived up to my (high) expectations and then some. I walked (or rather waddled as I was very, very full) away feeling like I'd discovered another secret Bush gem. This clearly is not the case as so many other Bush dwellers are regular, happy Patio regulars already, however, this doesn't detract from my own experience.

I was accompanied by my very good friend Bella. We were overdue a big catch up and unlike the chain restaurants of Westfield which we did consider (for ease and comfortable predictability) we were afforded time, comfortable privacy, delicious food and najlepszy ze wszystkich (please someone correct me) charmingly entertaining service by the most glamorous Polish woman and her less glamorous but equally warm colleague who, FYI, wore a tabard ever so well.

When you walk into Patio you feel like you are entering somebody's front room and I am convinced that this is precisely how you are meant to feel. The tables are snug and covered in mis-match table mats and crockery. There is an upright piano with lush green plants collected on top and an elegant dresser in one corner of the room.

We were the first in the restaurant and were offered the choice of any table. How impersonal and overly ordered restaurants are these days when even in a quiet restaurant you are made to wait for a table that is chosen for you. Lovely Polish woman in a tabard presented us with hand written menus including a set menu option (£12.50 for 2 courses, £15.99 for 3 courses - a price that hasn't changed in over 4 years - and a complimentary shot of vodka with each 3 course meal).

Both Bella and I um-ed and ah-ed over all the menus in between gossiping. I finally chose to have the Potato Pancake served with sour cream to start with and the Beef Stroganoff with dumplings. Bella ordered the King Prawns cooked in garlic and herb butter and then the Pork in apple sauce.

To keep us going and the conversation flowing we were brought bread and pork butter, or rather, pork fat. Once upon a time I did a ski season in Austria and it was very common to see my Austrian colleagues and guests use fat as butter. On first sight I remember my cholesterol were shocked but grew to love it. After reassuring Bella and her cholesterol we both tucked in.

We didn't have to wait long for the food. Our starters were the perfect size and both were eaten enthusiastically. Bella's King Prawns were awesomely regal and I personally tried not to think about the fat content of what was effectively a very tasty deep fried hash brown.

The mains were generous in portion size and were accompanied with three side dishes; cooked pickled beetroot in honey, a traditional Polish pea and sweetcorn salad and (more) fried potato. I am happy to report the beef was well cooked and the stroganoff sauce had a real spicey kick to it. The dumplings were dense and sticky. Perfect. Bella's pork was equally well cooked and the apple sauce honestly homemade. A little unsure about the beetroot at first she was game enough and we both were unable to empty our plates (though I gave the potatoes a good go). Despite this Mother Poland insisted on bringing us pudding. This was after the complimentary small coconut cakes and fruit she brought us immediately after our mains were cleared. If all Polish mothers are like this it must break the hearts all the Polish residents of Shepherd's Bush to leave their families behind.

We negotiated with Mother Poland and instead of the heavenly sounding Polish pancakes, we were each presented with a small bowl of raspberries, blueberries and vanilla ice cream. It was a very fitting, simple and unaffected end to the meal.

The total cost was just over £50.00 which yes, is a lot for a weekday meal in Shepherd's Bush but I left feeling like we'd got more than our money's worth (and just to reiterate I was very, very, very full).

As I am sure you've already gathered I thoroughly recommend Patio. It's been a Shepherd's Bush favourite for over twenty years, pre-dating the most recent flood of Polish migrants seeking their fortunes in Shepherd's Bush after Poland joined the EU. I wish I could have seen how Patio was received then in the days when Delikatesy Polskie were words rarely seen. I wonder if Patio was immediately so well-received and loved. I hope so. But looking to the future, after my meal last night, I am confident they will remain a Shepherd's Bush favourite for the next twenty years. Smacznego!

1 comment:

  1. Yo yo yo! Bella in the house :) Firstly it must be said, tip top blogging from my girl Birdie, some fine accounts of nights out and other bush related activities!

    So about the grub,seriously people of the bush, go try it out, i'm still full, so you'll definitely get your moneys worth. Friendly staff, like super friendly (the main lady trying to get me pis*ed on vodka was a definite highlight for me)!

    Bella out xx