Radom

A taste of Nostalgia

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

A  small part of the pastry display at Kilian's

A small part of the pastry display at Kilian’s

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.

Latte at Kilian's

Latte at Kilian’s

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.

http://www.ciasto.pl/

Cukiernia Wasilewski

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.

Vienna Coffee at Wasilewski

Vienna Coffee at Wasilewski

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.

http://www.cukierniawasilewski.pl/o-cukierni

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Categories: Cafes, Poland, Radom | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cafes in Radom

I don’t believe many visitors to Poland would end up in my home town; there’s no sea or mountains, or lakes, or theme parks. There’s only sentiment of those who used to live here, to come back and reminisce. And for someone who knows the city from back in the days, it can also be a shock to realise how much it has changed over the last few years – for the better.

Radom is surely a cheaper option food and drink-wise compared to some more acclaimed touristic destinations in the country; especially if you arrive with British pounds in your pocket. However, I still find that dinning out is a commodity for the better-off, although recently there has been a considerable boom in restaurants and cafes, putting much effort into creating a varied menu and a magical ambiance through original decor. This is a trend in Poland, I’ve noted, to devote a coffee shop’s existence to a specific theme that makes it stand out from the rest. Just a shame that their focus is not on coffee.

Here’s a run down of the few cafes I visited on my last trip to Radom.

CAFE MARCUS

One of the first quality coffee shops in Radom, last year it underwent a refurb, which, however, didn’t rob it of the magic it always held within. The eclectic decor creates pleasant surroundings to relax on a weekday afternoon (mind not going too early, as it sure does attract elderly ladies). The menu is cram packed with various beverages, from flavoured hot and cold coffees to milkshakes and fruit cocktails. They also offer a bite to eat, like toasties with cheese and pineapple,

Mocha at Cafe Marcus

together with a selection of home-made cakes.

It has always been my favourite, long before I started drinking coffee on daily (or even hourly) basis. Maybe that’s why I used to think it was great; although back then I was using sugar for my coffee also, so that couldn’t count as a reliable viewpoint. My last visit was therefore rather disappointing.

Because my partner had a mocha, I decided to try something else, and opted for After Eight: coffee with mint syrup and chocolate shavings on top of foamy milk. The presentation was gorgeous, and both drinks looked very appetising; but both were

After Eight at Cafe Marcus

also very, very sweet; and not very coffee-ish. Apart from the sweetness of the syrups, there wasn’t much flavour in either, not even of mint or cocoa (apart from the chocolate shavings, that is). We both found it hard to drink up; but at least the tasty toastie, the pleasant, non-intrusive waitress and free WiFi were a bit of a consolation.

After Eight: 10zł

Mocha: 12zł

Cafe Marcus, ul. Żeromskiego 39, Radom, +4848362 34 05

VANILIA CAFE

This place is virtually vis-a-vis another cafe, that used to sell the best pastries in town – until the refurb and the change of name to Siódme Niebo (Seventh Heaven – review bellow). Opened just a week before my visit, it did look like it still had some

Mocha at Vanilia Cafe

decorations missing, as the high ceiling echoed our voices as we stormed in, all the seven of us plus a baby (a family afternoon). The staff looked a bit dazzled at first, but quickly prepared us a table and equipped us  in romantic-style menus (wooden covers, with delicate drawings of angels on the front).

The mocha I got was much better than the Marcus’s number; funny enough because the old Marcus belonged to the same owners, so maybe I was right to think the coffee there used to be tastier than it is now. Vanilia‘s offering was stronger and more chocolatey; but still lacked a bit of a punch to be called a proper coffee.

The apple pie, however, was amazing. Just make sure you hadn’t eaten much before tucking into it – it is a generous portion!

Mocha: tbc

https://www.facebook.com/VaniliaCafe

Apple Pie at Vanilia Cafe

SIÓDME NIEBO

Mocha with added whipped cream (thanks to my companion...) at Siódme Niebo

As mentioned earlier, Seventh Heaven is a partly-new establishment; it appeared in the place of a pastry shop, Florynka if I remember correctly, which sold the tastiest French pastries in town. It wasn’t the cheapest, so I didn’t visit too often; and then, it was gone. Seeing the beautiful decor of the new place, however, I had hopes that it stepped up to the excellence of its predecessor. How bitterly disappointed I was to encounter cookies and tortes in place of my beloved pastries, and to make it worse, all wrapped up in cellophane as if they were there only for display or take-away (which was not the case, as I observed a customer sitting in with a coffee and being served a slice of one of those wrapped-up tortes). Although the indoors set seventh heaven expectations, the “cake display” certainly brought me stumbling down to Earth.

Thankfully, the coffee was better than expected; the mocha was made with dark, thick chocolate, that still remained on the bottom of the cup when I finished drinking. The espresso wasn’t bitter as I had experienced in other places around town and it blended well with the chocolate. It was a short, strong number, and I figure very little milk was used to make it. Overall, a good beverage, although for my taste, a bit too intense as it left me begging for water (which in this country does not come free from the tap, mind you). Then again, I observed a preparation of a latte, and cringed when I saw that the espresso shot was left there for ages in a small jug before being incorporated with the milk.

It’s a 50-50 chance of an enjoyable afternoon, by the looks of it; although the food they serve certainly looks and smells amazing… Let me know if you pay them a visit.

Mocha: 8zł (served with cream)

http://www.7nieboradom.pl/

Note: At the time of writing £1=5zł aprox

Categories: Cafes, Local, Poland, Radom, Travel Log | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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