I think this post represents two firsts for me – the first time I’ve written a recap within 24 hours, and the first time I’ve done so with photos taken and edited on my iphone. All edits were done with VSCOcam and the side-by-side shots are done with TwinCollage.
Everyone else in my family is sleeping in today (we are still in Poland), and since I was up at 5am I’ve had plenty of time to process photos and put this post together. I’m hoping I can keep this early morning momentum going because I love feeling like I’ve accomplished so much before 8am.
I wanted to write up a post about our dinner last night for a few reasons. I’ve been doing lots of Europe trip planning lately and the English-language blog posts I find about things I’m researching are really handy. TH and I also fell in love with Wodna Wieza and when we like a restaurant that much we start to worry it might go out of business. This happened to our favorite Dallas restaurant, Aurora. I know odds are slim that any of my readers will be heading to Krakow anytime soon, but if you ever do visit the southwestern area of Poland I think it would be worth a trip.
Wodna Wieza calls itself a Steampunk Cafe, though I think the use of the term cafe makes it sound a lot simpler than it actually is. It’s nouvelle cusine with a touch of molecular gastronomy in a setting that has attention to detail unmatched by any restaurant I’ve ever been to.
Is there a Steampunk Restaurant Supply catalog somewhere? My iphone couldn’t do this place justice.
The wine cellar.
It wasn’t just the decor that wowed us, with each course of our 5 course tasting menu they brought us unique silverware unlike anything any of us had ever seen before.
The restaurant is on the top floor of an old water tower, so the views are stunning as well!
Our dining group for the evening.
The first course was a grouping of individual mushrooms, in a very unique serving dish, made 10x cooler when the server “watered” the largest mushroom and revealed the presence of dry ice nested underneath. Throughout the meal I was really impressed by how far they were able to take things without it feeling cheesy or trite. We ooohed and aaaahed with each new thing brought to the table. Even the bread and butter! (Honey and lemon infused butter, delicious.)
Tuna tartare in a sauce with a slight bite, accompanied by an edible flower and pea shoot. Pea shoots were used throughout the meal and now I’m thinking I need to figure out where to get them in the Bay Area.
By the time we got to this dish I thought we were on our third course, turns out the first two were amuse-bouches and this foie gras, brioche, and shallot sorbet assortment was our first of five. I had a foie gras popsicle in Italy and thought I didn’t like it, but this dish made me a believer.
Smoked trout soup with another one of those delicious pea shoots. I saved mine until the very last bite.
Halibut, lightly dressed chard, asparagus.
Palata cleanser. The kind of sorbet that tastes as good as the fruit it’s made from. Maybe even better.
When I lifted up the bowl my sorbet was sitting in and blew on the fog I found a little heart in the bottom of my bowl! Very apt for a meal filled with so much whimsy.
Duck [my initial guess was pork, but my FIL corrected me in the comments below] with steamed cabbage stuff with cranberries and seasoned with what I thought was a little bit of nutmeg. The orange sauce had a bit of a citrus kick, but the real start of the plate was the silkiest-ever cauliflower puree with a touch of white chocolate. Oh my Heavens-to-Betsy.
I asked for a cocktail, thinking that they would be able to bring me something interesting with a taste profile other than “sweet.” When the waitress asked me if I wanted something savory or sweet I knew it would be something great, and it was.
Dessert was creme brulee (probably my favorite dessert, after cheesecake) with prosecco foam, fresh strawberries, dried strawberries, powdered strawberries, and strawberry sorbet.
I’ve been to a few restaurants where they bring out a small sweet at the very end of the meal, after dessert. It probably has a name, anyone know what it is? The crunchy brown stuff was some sort of very sweet peanut mixture. When I ate the one on the left with the crunchy bits it was like the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich I’ve ever had. On the right was a divine truffle ball that made me think of the nutella and peanut butter sandwiches that I sometimes make for the kids.
I think the plethora of photos combined with my quick turnaround on this post (we ate there less than 18 hours ago as I finish typing this up) is probably enough of a sell who anyone who plans to be in the vicinity. I will add that the total bill for five courses for four people, three pots of tea, two espressos, two glass of wine, and one cocktail was $50/person. TH and I, with our current San Francisco pricing sensibilities, were/are shocked and immediately started doing the math to try to figure out how this could be possible.
Most of all I feel grateful that I was able to visit my inlaws and have an experience like this! Without them odds are slim I would ever have visited this portion of the US and I’m not sure my research would have helped me discover this unique restaurant between Krakow and Katowice. A big thank you to my SIL for finding Wodna Wieza and to my FIL for treating us to dinner.
My vacations are always all about the food. Do you have any unique restaurants you’ve visited whether at home or abroad that I should add to my “someday” list?