Marriage of South and North
My objective: to locate all places, or as many as possible, that serve good food in Gdynia. My first stop: Północ-Południe (North-South) restaurant. The spacious and interestingly decorated interior is where I meet Kamil Kowalski, a migrant to Gdynia from the Małopolska region and, as head chef and co-owner here, the man responsible for this restaurant’s delicious food.
After skimming through a neat, seasonal menu I get an idea of where the restaurant’s name came from. I’d rather not pretend I’m Sherlock Holmes, though, and ask the head chef himself. The name of the restaurant comes indeed from the fact that it combines the flavours of a part of southern Poland, namely the Podhale region, with the northern flavours of Pomorskie. A few years ago Kamil came here with his wife from southern Poland and worked in a restaurant in Sopot. For several months now he has had his current roles in Północ-Południe. And so, the menu comprises both his beloved sauerkraut soup, as well as roasted mackerel or Kashubian-style roach.
Of course roach aren’t the only fish available, and you can also enjoy roasted mackerel with celery and salsify puree (salsify is another forgotten ingredient, which used to be referred to as asparagus for the poor) with bell pepper and coriander salsa, zander with creamy buckwheat risotto, or stone bass with coconut risotto, crayfish necks and caramelised sunflower. The last item on the menu is the apple in the chef’s eye. It helped him get to the finals of the prestigious Martell L’art de la cuisine competition.
At this point I have to reassure any carnivores: do not be afraid! The menu also includes many meat delicacies, such as beef steaks, pork shank, duck (together with beets in balsamic vinegar, honey and gooseberries!), and corn chicken. Game meat comes from local suppliers. The current menu offers deer roulades served with delicious buckwheat, demi-glace and parsley olive oil, which refreshes the dish.
There is a special place for goose meat in the kitchen.
“I try to put goose meat, which I love, in every dish that I prepare,” explains Kamil. “Fat for buckwheat in the roulade dish comes from goose meat. We currently also serve also goose stomachs, caramelised in mead, and sauerkraut soup is prepared with stock of smoked goose neck.”
To conclude the topic of meat (after all, there are also desserts that I have to tell you about!) I will add that I was particularly surprised by the... traditional, local pork chop. Served on the bone it looks and tastes different to the Polish classic because its preparation is different from what we know from home cuisine. The meat is not pounded, so it resembles steak, and before being fried, the meat is slowly cooked for seven hours so that is delicate and creamy.
Now something about those desserts: creme brulee with sea buckthorn mousse, a French classic with a regional twist, immediately caught my attention. Sea buckthorn, our regional superfood (it’s a real vitamin C bomb) delightfully breaks the vanilla sweetness of the cream.
For those craving more sweetness, there is also a meringue cake with strawberry mousse, and chocolate soufflé.
And - last but not least - a round of applause to the restaurant for stripping the kids menu of french fries and chicken nuggets. The youngest guests have their own corner here, and in it turkey with traditional Polish dumplings, peas and carrots, strawberry dumplings (traditional, Polish pierogi), and dumplings with seasonal fruit.
In conclusion: if you are looking for delicious food, set your GPS to Północ-Południe restaurant.
The author of text and photo: Anna Włodarczyk
Aficionado of good food, regional products and flavours. Author of the best-selling cook book, “Retro kuchnia” (“Retro kitchen”), in which she re-discovers forgotten, pre-war recipes. Author of www.strawberriesfrompoland.pl blog, photographer, and culinary journalist.