I’m not usually one for trendy eateries where presentation wins over portions, but sometimes pictures on Facebook look so damn appetizing that I just can’t help myself. Plus, I really like that episode of Broad City where they go to Octavia and try to be classy, so sometimes I think it’d be good to make a bit of effort.
I suggested to two of my friends that we get together at Taszka, a Portuguese wine and tapas bar, to catch up over a nice meal and glass of wine. None of us had been, and it turns out that Taszka is the perfect place for exquisite food and wine without an overwhelming atmosphere of food snobbery. It looks impossibly cool and trendy, but it’s actually quite relaxed and the staff is very friendly.
While I’m usually a big fan of big flavors and spicy dishes, the food of the Iberian peninsula is notoriously not spicy, but still makes great use of delicate flavors and in Taszka’s case, just a bit of Polish influence to create a phenomenal meal.
My friends and I had the Menu Degustacyne II, which is their largest tasting menu, consisting of 6 courses: appetizers, 4 mains, and 2 deserts. At 145 złoty, it’s a very pricey meal for Poland, but with the current exchange rates it’s about 33 euro/37 USD, making it very affordable for a fancy eatery.
We also got a bottle of wine, because it is a Portuguese wine bar, and Portuguese wines are amazing. (At least, the ones I buy at Biedronka are. And god knows you can’t go wrong with 20 złoty bottles of wine from a discount grocery chain.) We order the Monte de Pecequina, a dry red wine (all their wines are dry, the waitress informed us) which was a bit… yeasty? (I’m not good at describing wine.) But still quite good, perfect for our current cold, rainy weather.
The appetizers included good old-fashioned bread with olive oil, popcorn shrimp with a sort of sweet and sour sauce, and tempura yellow wax beans and mustard greens with a parsley cream sauce. We were off to an awesome start, especially because I’m pretty sure popcorn chicken is the best American invention of the past 50 years. You can fight me on this, if you want.
The first course was ceviche with a splash of grapefruit in addition to the normal lemon juice, plus avocado cream sauce. Ceviche is something of a novelty in Poland; both friends I was with said they had heard of it as an exotic dish from Spain/Portugal/Latin America but had never tried it or seen it in Poland! I love, love, love ceviche since the moment I realized that I loved seafood and Mexican food, and this was a great ceviche with its own twist.
The next course was moelas, which is duck stomach! (Or is it liver? Google translate said the word means ‘stomach’ but the waitress said ‘liver’. Either way.) I have only ever had duck in Chinese restaurants, and I wasn’t a big fan because it’s quite fatty. But I have had tripe and stomach in tacos, and that’s always delicious, so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect. No worries though, because it was awesome. I’m not sure if you can describe digestive system parts as ‘tender’ or if that descriptor is exclusively for muscle meat, but the stomachs were so delicate that they practically melted in your mouth. Plus, they were served with pickled carrots, radishes, and a bit of apple for delightful, tangy contrast to their almost sweet umami flavor.
The next course was bacalhão, a Portuguese salted codfish. This was served with seared potatoes, which is always delicious because, duh, potatoes. The fish was also so tender it just fell apart, and the potatoes had a nice starchy contrast to the extremely salty fish. Honestly, I don’t know what else to say except A+, and I think I need to plan a trip to Portugal ASAP.
Then we had duck, but the actual meat this time. Again, I’ve only had duck in Chinese dishes and I wasn’t a fan, since it’s so fatty and gets very tough if even slightly overcooked. But this duck was very rare and so delicate, that I actually loved it! This was also served with some seared spring onions. The onions were slightly burnt which caramelized them a bit and made them taste a-maaa-zing. Like, seriously, I was all about these onions. I mean, the duck was quite good too, but MY LORD, THE ONIONS.
Finally, we had our deserts. OH MY GAWD, THESE DESERTS. Y’all, I can’t even. I just have to say, if you are a broke-ass Polish person, you should at least go to Taszka and get some desert. Now, I love my sweets, but I’m not usually hard to impress. Give me some chocolate and I’ll be happy. (As I write this, I’m sitting in my kitchen eating Wawel, a cheap Polish brand of chocolates.) But there are times when you eat a desert that is so divine, it makes you wonder why you are wasting calories on sweets you buy at Biedronka. Our tasting menu included two deserts: pineapple with passion fruit ice cream, and plum with custard, meringue and buttermilk. They are both out of this world. Both deserts were sweet with ingredients like lemongrass, basil, and buttermilk to balance the sweetness and add extra complexity to the flavors.
In conclusion: Just, like, damn. I can’t wait to have a mid-life crisis and become a chef so I can make this type of crazy-good food every day.
Thus ends my first foray into food criticism. Did I do a good job? If you’re in Wrocław, would I successfully persuade you into eating at Taszka? Because you should. I’ve been telling my friends and co-workers about this place all day, and how good it is. If you want to go, just hit me up, I will gladly shell out another ~100 złoty on the same meal, that’s how much I loved it.
Taszka is located at 53/55 Rynek, right in the middle of town. You can message them on Facebook if you have any questions; they are super nice and helpful!