A Polish ‘milk’ bar (‘bar mleczny’) seems ideally suited to the Elephant & Castle shopping centre. More transport caff than a haven of Polish home cooking, Mamuska! offers filling fare, fast and at bargain prices. Spacious, clean and family-friendly, it’s unsurprisingly popular with an eclectic clientele.
Sadly, the food isn’t exactly homely. We weren’t looking for frills, and happily accepted the dense dough of the pierogi, and the simple garnish of long-cooked bacon lardons, as ‘filling a gap’. If the pork filling of the meat dumplings was super-minced, and tasted recooked – well, that’s the way you economise and fill an empty stomach. Decent bottled beer (Zywiec, Zubr and the like) accompanied the starters nicely. Mains might have been more welcome were we still ravenous; as it was, kielbasa and goulash continued to fill without exciting.
Potato dishes (mash, salad and pancakes) seemed stolid, and the ‘dish of the day’, a ‘tenderised pork’ escalope, proved so dry and chewy it defeated our best efforts. A mushroom sauce had little fungi flavour, and we wondered if a packet mix had come into play; chocolate cheesecake caused similar musings. Still, there’s no arguing with the friendliness, humour, cleanliness and wallet-friendly pricing.