My trip to Poland did not only involve freezing temperatures and coffee in the mountainous scenery; after visiting Zakopane I returned to my home-town, Radom. You might remember the reviews of cafes I had posted back in April; and although there weren’t many new places that I spotted during my short, three-day stay, there were some that I really wanted to visit.
In the final years of my residency in Poland, my mum set up a pastry shop – two, to be precise, as the location of the first one proved not highly profitable. However, the second spot was perfect, and booming with people on a Sunday afternoon. We didn’t make coffee, mind; seven – eight years ago there wasn’t yet a market for a fancy latte. Instead, we sold bread, ice-cream, and cakes of course, but didn’t make them, apart from the occasional magnificent home-bake of my mum’s. Our suppliers – and people who contributed otherwise – were three growing names in the confectioners-land in the city – by now, they established themselves strongly as the best people to get your sweet indulgence from… and they decided to take one step further and to open their own cafes.
During that last visit to Radom I decided to check, whether their coffee service is as good as their baking.
Kawiarnia Cukiernia Ewelina M
We used to refer to the guy as ‘Masiarz’, that was his last name and that’s what he was known by in the family – because he was a friend of my uncle’s. He was one of the major bakers in town; he did have some cakes and pastries on offer, but for me, his strength always lay in the most crusty, fresh smelling bread. It was a surprise for me to find out, therefore, that he decided to open a coffee shop – I had to check it out.
Unfortunately, I was greeted by a note on the coffee machine saying ‘Out of order’, and there my visit ended. OK, I did get a flan-filled pie to take away with me, one that we used to sell – and it was as good as ever. A shame really that I couldn’t sit in, because the decor was modern and inviting. And it was so pleasantly warm!
Kawiarnia Cukiernia Kilian
The confectioner’s Kilian familiy had been on my mum’s eye prior to setting up her coffee shop; the wife of the business owner used to be her school friend, and they were hoping to be working together when the Kilians were planning to expand their Poznań business to eastern parts of the country. In the end, it didn’t work out, but the then competition decided to proceed with their business plan and opened their own branded store in Radom. Currently they own four in the city, if I’m not mistaken.
Having left Ewelina M unsatisfied in my need for coffee, walking down the same street I stumbled upon one of Kilian shops unexpectedly – and decidedly made my way in.
Straight away I was mesmerised by the beautiful, ample display of cakes, of different shapes, colours and sizes, but all of equally strong appeal. The coffee machine was working – unfortunately, they didn’t serve mochas, so I had to settle for a latte. Interestingly enough, one served in a glass was 2zł (aprox. 40p) more expensive than one in a cup, but I opted for that one anyway, hoping to be impressed by the skill of the barista, keeping in mind the pleasant experience I had of the Yellow Bench‘s latte. I wasn’t mistaken: the coffee looked good, and tasted good as well. I only made the mistake of choosing a small, hard, hazelnut-flavoured biscuit over something more, well, appropriate out of the stunning array of sweet sinfulness. Assuming that their recipes haven’t changed, I’m sure they’re even better than they look, though. Yes, I used to buy from the competition.
Now this man is big. And I mean it. In the end, he was the one who bought over our place when my mum decided to move abroad, and prior to that, he was the main supplier of our cakes. I’m sure there’s hardly anyone in Radom who hasn’t heard the name Wasilewski, and a huge portion of those have driven past or visited this impressive cafe. A whole building to itself with additional seating on the first floor, the establishment speaks grandeur and splendour – at least as far as a coffee shop in Radom goes.
The previous time I visited I hadn’t been a coffee drinker at all and struggled with my cinnamon and whipped cream – topped coffee whilst catching up with my girlfriends. I trusted this time it would be different, so – since I couldn’t convince the barista to attempt a mocha (it was a blow to my idealistic perception of the place to learn they also serve it), I opted for the same cinnamon brew, the Vienna Coffee. I accompanied it by two tiny eclairs – and it seemed my afternoon was sorted.
And yet, the coffee was a major disappointment: it was very sour, and the cinnamon didn’t help one bit. Even the scrumptious eclairs couldn’t make it any better. I was a bit annoyed with myself, for not choosing an Affogato, which was made with espresso, not ‘black coffee’ as the menu referred to the Viennese – at least that would give me a better idea of what the rest of their drinks might be like. I didn’t risk it again, though, during my stay – Wasilewski certainly isn’t the cheapest coffee shop out there – and I fear that with this one I’ll just stick to the cakes, thank you.