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    Article in 4yoUK | 6 December 2008

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Restaurant for a rainy day

The Polish meal: Tatra

Time Out London

Toptable

Restaurant for a rainy day

Searching for somewhere new to eat in West London
– on a shopping break from Westfield – Daniel Barnes comes across Tatra Restaurant in
Shepherd’s Bush.

Finding somewhere good value with good food in London these days is tough,
but I think I have found the ticket with Tatra Restaurant on Goldhawk Road.
I have also found something with that X factor – somewhere different to meet up with mates or take a date I’m trying to impress.
Tatra Restaurant offers a warm welcome and great food. It is something new to Shepherd’s Bush: the restaurant offers great food – at a decent price.
What more do you want? Good food is what Tatra does and what chef Robert Kusy
- a burgeoning Polish Jamie Oliver - specialises in.
Tatra is also a chance to have a taste of Central European food – with a slice of class
– and a probably cheaper than in Krakow or Warsaw. Among the starters are a Polish classic – familiar and loved by anyone who has visited the country – pierogi.
The dumplings are stuffed with cottage cheese – and make a great filling lunch as well
as a starter. Barszcz is perfect for the winter. Meanwhile a personal favourite are the
gołąbki. Literally meaning little pigeons – gołąbki are parcels of cabbage leaves
stuffed with rice and minced pork – seared in the pan and served in a rich tomato sauce and a perfect balance of flavours.
Golonka – ham shank - is also worth trying for a tender experience.
And what you have is great good-looking food, which is chef Kusy’s ideology.
Kusy has been cooking in London for a decade. Starting out under Jan Woroniecki
at Wodka Restaurant in Kensington, he has gone on to appear on numerous TV shows –
including UKTV’s New British Kitchen series with Masterchef judge John Tarode and the
Celebrity Masterchef finalist Hardeep Singh Kohli.
One of his strangest roles was the food adviser for David Cronenberg’s film Eastern Promises – ensuring Viggo Mortensen, Naomi Watts and Vincent Cassel were eating authentically. Kusy looks for unpretentious food – no towers of vegetables on
top of tiny servings of meat here. Key to Tatra’s success is fresh ingredients and great taste. Kusy loves good food and is passionate about serving the best.
So what you are served with at Tatra is unpronounceable dishes cooked brilliantly.
Watch out though as Kusy has a habit of coming out the kitchen if there is anything left on the plate, which doesn’t happen too often. He explains its his perfectionist streak and he
just wants to see how to hone the dishes further – and he’s often left chatting about the food with customers at the end of thenight over a vodka.
However, the main response from diners for not clearing their plate is that they just want to leave space for the dessert.

The puddings are a joy. The apple crumble is proper Englishapple crumble. Fruity but not too sweet with a proper crumble. For something more Polish – if you have any room left – then go for naleśniki ; crepes stuffed with sweet cream cheese, raisins soaked in rum and served with caramel. Really delicious. And after the puddings, we finished off with the vodkas!

Tatra vodka – and it is home made so it is exclusively Tatra vodka – is something special. The waitress Agnieszka suggested the pear vodka. It was almost like sorbet,
it was so smooth. There didn’t seem to be a punch but from the frozen glass came a nice
warm feeling. With so many flavours on offer it was hard to choose what next, but the chilli vodka sounded like a challenge. A few eyebrows were raised as if I was opting for the vindaloo of vodka. Surprisingly it was smooth and frozen – as only the honey vodka is served hot – but the chilli started to act slowly. The bite came gently like chilli drizzling on the back of your throat, but somehow it hits your head quickly.
What I like about Tatra is it offers fantastic food – that won’t burn a hole in your pocket – and you don’t have to put up with the stiffness that you have to put with to have such great food. Kusy offers style and substance with Tatra – a cool place to hang
out, eat well and leave happy. Really Tatra Restaurant is the kind of place
Shepherd’s Bush has been calling out for years. I’m glad Tatra has answered the call.
And with the new Westfield Shopping Centre set to open it will be the perfect place to relax after shopping trip – or somewhere to gather strength before hitting the shops
again. My advice is go there, enjoy the food, relax in the atmosphere with the help of a vodka and you’ll find yourself going back for more and more. It’s a place to take your mates on a Sunday lunch, or somewhere to hide in the corner for a romantic meal on
the warm leather seats, and have the perfect Christmas party.
Amid the credit crunch, Tatra offers Kensington style and quality at decent Shepherd’s
Bush prices. The restaurant has got a stylish, modern interior while – which
could be a first for London – staff always seem to be smiling and enjoying the restaurant as much as the customers. And most importantly - the real reason for going to any restaurant – Tatra has great food.

Daniel Barnes