Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Warsaw's city centre: a Deli-free zone

Here I am, in the very centre of Warsaw and I can't get a lime or pot of fresh mint anywhere! Right now, with the sun back out in a clear blue sky, I am suffering from a strong craving for a mint tea with lime [one spearmint tea teabag, a few leaves of fresh mint and two slices of lime, pour boiling water and leave to brew and cool to room temperature] - a stunningly refreshing drink].

While Warsaw's suburbs are full of Reals, Almas, Piotr i Pawełs, Auchans where these essential ingredients (as well as items such as fresh tuna, fillet beef steaks, fresh coriander, cous-cous, extra virgin olive oil, sun-dried tomatoes, Roquefort cheese) are readily available.

Not so the city centre. Indeed, there are dozens of shops within short walking distance of our office on ul. Nowogrodzka calling themselves "delicatessens", but venture in and you find they sell little more than bread, tomatoes, apples, crisps, chocolate bars, packaged ham and rubbery cheese. Even the Carrefour in Złote Tarasy disappoints (but then all Carrefours in Poland disappoint, I find). Kuchnie Świata is great for sauces and groceries, but not so hot for fresh produce. There's a little supermarket in the underground passage by Dworzec Centralny that offers a slightly wider choice of products, but that's now two tram-stops away and I'm not going all that way on the off-chance of a lime and some fresh mint.

Throughout Lent, seeking alternatives to meat and dairy products, I found the shops around our office woefully lacking compared to the excellent fare offered by the Mini-Europa on ul. Górnośląska, round the corner from our old office on Fabryczna.

I watched Jonathan Meades' three-part series on France (thank you Marek!); a point he makes about Paris is that because the French elite lives in the city centre, its parks are well tended and it remains beautiful. No doubt Poland's elite, living in Konstancin, Magdalenka or Izabelin, is well catered for with edge-of-town delis. But the Warsaw's city centre is a gastro-shopper's wasteland.

Can anyone with a good knowledge of central Warsaw suggest to me a real delicatessen that sells a wide variety of fresh produce? If there isn't one - surely this is a golden opportunity for deli chain or entrepreneur to open one in the centre of the capital city of the EU's sixth-largest member state (and the world's 20th largest economy)?

This time last year:
Patching up the holes

This time two years ago:
In search of the sublime aesthetic

This time last year:
Flying in from the Faroes


AndrzejK said...

I am waiting for the first enterprising Indian from the UK to open a corner shop. Alternatively talk to the guy who runs the Nasze Delikatesy on Wilanowska (formerly Rema 1000) to open in the city centre.The choice is amazing and although somewhat more expensive shopping is a pleasure as it only takes 15 minutes.

Paulina Wawrzyńczyk said...

Hala Mirowska ;) A w Biedronce są dobre ananasy teraz :)

Anonymous said...

visit the British Shop on Emilli Platter

Michael Dembinski said...

@ All:

The more I look, the more dismal it gets. Today I walked into Delikatesy Berenika on Al. Ujazdowskie. The fresh fruit on display consisted of four shrivelled lemons and five blackening bananas. A village spożywczak has far better fare. These so-called 'delis' should be forced to re-name themselves sklepy spożywcze and real deli operators should be encouraged to set up shop in Warsaw.