Kriss Wonjnick opened Zapiecek on Greyhound Road in Streatham five months ago.
He cooks great value, wonderfully flavoured, traditional polish food.
I am willing to hedge my bets that a meal here is probably the best value food you can find anywhere with an SW postcode and probably the whole of London.
Kriss is both the owner and chef and casts his eye over every detail, the decor is simple but attractive, but it serves as the perfect backdrop to the wonderful food.
Portions here are huge so to experience the full range I will have to go back again and try some different dishes.
To start we shared a traditional polish rye soup (£4), with polish sausage and boiled egg. The soup was warm and hearty, the kind of soup that would cure any illness. It was thick, salty and luxurious with a generous helping of meat and the bonus of finding a boiled egg bobbing about in there adding a new dimension and texture.
For the main course I went for beef stew with potato pancakes (£6.50) and my other half went for the biggest most expensive thing on the menu – pork knuckle (£9.20). My stew arrived and it was massive; a bin lid sized pancake folded in half and topped with a beef stew.
The pancake was delicious, you’d think it would be overly heavy and dense but the key here is that the food is big and hearty but cooked with a lightness of touch so it doesn’t overwhelm.
The beef stew had a generous serving of meat and was complex in flavour – I am not going to pretend I could pick out the ingredients, but to be honest I don’t care it tasted so good that was all that mattered.
The pork knuckle put the stew to shame in portion size; a whole knuckle was served up, covered in the most delicious crackling you can imagine. It was crunchy like it should be, but not so hard it broke your teeth, I tried to discover the secret but it remained closely guarded.
The knuckle came with mustard and horseradish sauce a side of your choice – we had dill potatoes. The meat on the knuckle was tender and juicy and tore off the bone, there was so much of it we took the remainder away and it has managed 2 days of lunches.
In case you hadn’t gathered, I loved Zapiecek.
We spent £23 for 2 including drinks, sharing a starter and ordering the most expensive things on the menu.
You could spend less than £15 for 2 people and be full to the brim and I recommend you do just that.
You can also get a taste of Zapiecek at the Streatham Food Festival which runs from 24th-31st March.
Zapiecek | 114 Greyhound Road, London, SW16 5RN |
www.zapiecek.vpweb.co.uk Mark Bixter is a food writer who runs the blog http://michelinmicrowave.wordpress.com/