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Restaurant la Rôtisserie
The gourmet restaurant at the Hotel Le Régina in Warsaw, Poland
Article added on May 2, 2006
The Polish capital Warsaw is - as most Eastern European cities - no culinary destination. However, here and there, you can find a gourmet temple. La Rôtisserie at the Hotel Le Régina is clearly the best restaurant we have tested so far in Warsaw.

Since the opening of Hotel Le Régina in May 2004, executive head chef Pawel Oszczyk has dedicated himself to a kitchen which reflects a mix of his past experiences. He uses French cooking techniques and the French way of presentation. His cuisine is mostly French, but he also offers Polish dishes. The menu also shows an Italian and oriental influence. However, fusion is not part of the concept.

Pawel Oszczyk's dishes are either well-balanced or emphasize contrasts, influenced by what he learned from the French chef Bernard Lusianna, with whom he worked at Hotel Bristol in Warsaw in the 1990s and with whom he co-authored the well-received cookbook Polish Culinary Landscape (Polski pejzaz kulinarny). "Do not imitate, innovate, create something", is the motto of Lusianna and Oszczyk.

The menu at La Rôtisserie changes three times a year.  Oszczyk puts emphasis on the quality of the produce. Because local producers cannot always live up to his standards, he relies on Fish imported from France and Norway and meat often imported from Germany and France. Vegetarian dishes are available on request. In general, the chef is open to special demands that go beyond the à la carte menu. L.G.

A vegetarian dinner at La Rôtisserie

Tested by Louis Gerber in March 2006

At my request of short notice, head chef Pawel Oszczyk created a four-course vegetarian dinner for me. After a Kir Royal, as a starter, I was served a water melon with balsamic cream, a simple but successful union. My first dish consisted of a Mizuna salad with Brillat Savarin cheese and walnuts with a raspberry dressing. The combination was refined and exciting.

My next course was a black tomato "borsch" with bruschetta. The soup consisted of cherry tomatoes, carrots, celery and fennel, with garlic and marjoram as major spices. The result was not revolutionary, but still pleasing.

Before my main course, a breath of spring was served in cold Warsaw with a cucumber and pineapple juice, served with a hint of ginger, a favorite of regular guests at La Rôtisserie. My main course, boletus and goat cheese pielmieni (dumplings), came with a lot of froth from the well-whipped goat cheese and cumin nage. Wallnuts, spinach and cress were the other main ingredients of this gourmet-level dish.

I could not resist to several desserts which included
dark chocolate cannelloni with nougat mousse and physalis sherbet and a tender lime and cottage mousse with a Campari and ginger sherbet. The desserts were accompanied by Old Krupnik, a Polish honey liqueur with vodka (38%). It was served warm, in a glass with mint petals.

The entire meal was on a promising gourmet level, which leaves open the possibility that
La Rôtisserie may become the first Michelin-star restaurant in Poland in one or two years time, especially taking into consideration that the dinner was entirely prepared by sous-chef Marek Burkacki, with whom Pawel Oszczyk had already worked with previously at the Polish Business Roundtable Club.

A dinner at La Rôtisserie
Tested by Nicolas Descoeudres in March 2006

The evening began with a truly mouth-watering appetizer, a water melon with balsamic cream. My first course was a t
una fish carpaccio coated with cumin on a fennel and sunflower sprouts salad with passion fruit and kaffir lime leaves essence. The tuna fish was wonderfully smooth and fresh. The thick slices of fish were adequately salted, peppered and spiced with cumin. It tasted superbly together with the sprouts and the chick pea mousse on which it lay. The fruit juice preparation was served in a passion fruit half and, used as a dip, was a delicious contrast with the fish. An outstanding gourmet dish.

A warm salad of St. Jacques with boletus and bacon "zurek" and fresh marjoram emulsion came next. The sea scallops (St. Jacques) were wrapped in bacon and together with vegetable cubes lay in a not too big serving of Polish sour soup (zurek). While the contrasts were pleasant and not too strong, the entire dish was a touch too salty. It was followed by a refreshing combination of cucumber and Pineapple juice, with a little ginger.

The suckling pig was outstanding. It consisted of cheeks and rack of baby pork stewed with morels and salsefy, ciboulette and bacon salad. The tender, small pieces of pork with ciboulettes, morels, bison grass, rosemary and other herbs were beautifully arranged one on top of the other. It had an excellent taste which was brought about with the help of the fine herbs and a delicious dark, brown sauce. The heavy wine which was suggested to us (Chile, Ventisquero, Gran Riserva Syrah, 2003, 14.5%) proved to be a good choice.

For dessert, I chose the green pepper and vanilla Crème Brûlée with coffee granité. The crème brûlée with green pepper on its top fully convinced me. The pepper was not very hot. Frozen coffee was served in a glass. The dessert was garnished with three grids of sugar and chocolate, a truly amazing construction.

Biography of Pawel Oszczyk

Pawel Oszczyk was born in Nowy Dwór Mazowiecki near Warsaw on December 26, 1971. From 1986 to 1990, he studied at the Culinary Institute of Warsaw and graduated successfully to Technik Procesow Zysienia. He holds a bachelor degree as a technician in nutrition and gastronomy. His professional experience started at the Italian gastronomic restaurant Miramonti l'Altro in Brescia, Italy. In this 1*Michelin restaurant (today 2*Michelin), he worked as commis tournant with Roberto Grandi from September 1990 to August 1992. As one of three Polish commis, he was responsible for the cold kitchen and the pastry. From November 1992 to July 1993, Oszczyk held the position of chef de partie at the Italian restaurant Marconi in the Hotel Bristol in Warsaw, one of the best Italian restaurants in Poland. From August 1993 to February 1997, he served as sous-chef at the Malinowa restaurant at Hotel Bristol, a gastronomic restaurant which seats 60 guests. The menu offered a combination of Polish and French cuisine. From the French executive chef of the time, Bernard Lusianna, he learned to present either well-balanced dishes or to emphasize contrasts as well as which products combine best with each other and which spices to use with a specific product. Until today, Oszczyk uses Lusianna's black board concept: arrows between the different products and spices available help him create new dishes. At the time of Lusianna, Malinowa was rated as Poland's best restaurant. From March 1997 to December 1999, Oszczyk was head chef at restaurant Malinowa. From January 2000 to April 2001, he was head chef in charge at le Royal Méridien Bristol, including the hotel's two restaurants, the Viennese café, the bar de Luxe and the room service. From Le Meridien he learned the dedication to excellence, to make the guest feel at home and the three keywords: "training, surprise and delight". From May 2001 to November 2003, Oszczyk was executive head chef at the Polish Business Roundtable Club in the Palac Soba
ńskich in Warsaw, where he was in charge of two restaurants as well as five conference and dining rooms. At this members only club, the chef had carte blanche. His menu was more Polish oriented, with some Italian and oriental influence. Since the pre-opening phase in February 2004, Pawel Oszczyk holds the position of executive head chef at the Hotel Le Régina in Warsaw. Oszczyk is married and has a child. L.G.

View of La Rôtisserie. Photo © Hotel Le Régina, Warsaw.

A dessert at La Rôtisserie. Photo © Hotel Le Régina, Warsaw.

Pawel Oszczyk, executive head chef at the gourmet restaurant La Rôtisserie.
Photo © Hotel Le Régina, Warsaw, Poland.