Thursday, 12 January 2012


Happily ensconced in my new office on ul. Nowogrodzka, I am delighting in being so close to so many good places for an inexpensive and tasty lunch. Today for example, we popped round the corner to the Fire'n'Ice Lounge on ul. Parkingowa, a Bollywood bar with a very reasonable lunch menu. For 19 złotys (£3.60), a salad starter with lassi and poppadum, a curry (vegetarian, chicken/meat or fish) and rice or naan. Reasonable quantities, very tasty, nice price.

More often, however, there's the Grill Bar Egipt(open 24h) on the corner of Parkingowa and Nowogrodzka (opposite the Novotel). My dish of choice here is kebab z baraniny na cienkim, podwójne mięso, na ostro (mutton kebab on thin bread with double meat and hot sauce). This kebabsko costs 13 złotys or £2.50 (i.e. UK prices from a quarter of a century ago) and fills you right up; the meat is good and there's plenty of surówka (raw salady things) stuffed in there with the meat to ensure at least one of your five portions of fresh veg. The Egypt gives you a complementary glass of strong tea too. And if you're not too hungry, the standard kebab costs 9 złotys (£1.75).

Given the scandal concerning the kebab meat factory under Dworzec Centralny (long gone!), I'm surprised to find a) myself regularly eating kebab and b) thousands of other Varsovians queuing up for kebab, in preference to American or Vietnamese fast-food. Today, for example, after open day at Eddie's school, I popped into the Amrit Kebab on Pl. Wilsona, for a large mutton kebab. Huge crowds, seven-thirty in the evening. (I notice that Scatts mentions the place in a comment about Żoliborz's answer to Piccadilly Circus.)

To date, I've not had any adverse tummy scenarios after eating kebab in Warsaw. Indeed, I've not had any adverse tummy scenarios after eating anything in Warsaw - which is more than I can say for London (where I lived and worked for 16 years).

Differences between a British and Polish kebab? Mainly the bread. In the UK, you'll get meat and salad stuffed into a smallish pitta pocket. In Poland, a huge circular flat bread (cienkie ciasto) is spread out and filled with grilled meat and salad, the hot sauce added, then the whole thing is carefully folded to avoid drips in a take-away eating-on-the-street situation.

If there's one adverse effect, it's the smell of grilled mutton, which hangs on one's clothing for days after a visit. Or the risk of hearing cheesy Ukrainian pop that plays alternately with far better modern Egyptian music.

Have any of my readers had any bad experiences from kebabs? Any known health risks associated with regular kebab consumption? Recommendations for good ones? (there's a good one on Marszałkowska by Teatr Bajka...)

This time last year:
The day I found a million zlotys

This time two years ago:
Making the most of winter

This time three years ago:
Progress along Ballay Street

This time four years ago:
Shortest, mildest, winter?


Kolin S. Murray said...

Never had a bad experience. I love 'Efes' and visit regularly (once a month?) on Francuska 1, or on Niepodległości 80. I do (probably irrationaly) fear most other kebab establishments. It's not cheap by any means - 26 zł for my choice 'kebab na talerzu z ryżem i surówka.' Tea (strong and good) is extra. In the summertime, 'podwójne lawasz' from the Efes window on Francuska makes life worth living.

Ewa z Krakowa said...

I don't want to spoil your fun, but you might want to reconsider your kebab-eating frequency after reading this article:

or at least choose establishments where they prepare their own meat...

Andrzej K said...

Trust the Grauniad to try to stop people enjoying themselves.

Michal's mother in laws sister never listened to the elf and safety advocates and has just celebrated her 90th birthday!!!

Andrzej K said...

Having tries the Grill Egipt kebab yesterday I can also commend this "greasy spoon". The mutton was the right consistency (well grilled just on the point of turing hard)and almost as good as Andy's Kebab emprorium next to Turnham Green Station in Chiswick. The coleslaw and other veggies good at Egipt but I do miss the raw onions, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumber and Greek style green pepper you get in the UK. The kebab is properly fashioned so that you do not end up with sauce dribbling down your sleeve like elswhere in Poland. No after effects at all and the tea is a pleasant surprise particularly as it is NOT pre sweetened.

Michael Dembinski said...

Worthy of note - the Sahara on ul. Krucza (just north of Al. Jerozolimskie); interesting décor, Turkish music; cardamon flavoured tea does come free though is pre-sweetened. Kebab too messy for take-away; a fork is provided to help you with the surówka that drips out.