With its candlelit interior – smart in a retro 1980s way – and its marvellous flavoured vodkas, Tatra has proved a popular bolt-hole for Polish expats and west London locals. However, good service and consistency in the kitchen are key for neighbourhood restaurants, and recent reports have been critical of both. Service on our last visit verged on the chaotic.
A lone waitress seemed rushed off her feet while an éminence grise fussed around the bar, ignoring attempts to catch her eye. After an hour the waitress admitted our order was lost. Apparently there was no manager to deal with complaints; we’d better just start all over again: a cursory apology and no offer even of a compensatory drink. Quick-to-prepare starters seemed the best option: yeasty, pleasantly puffy blinis with smoked salmon, vibrant roasted beetroot, mushroom caviar and a slightly over-pickled herring. A dull side salad (no better than one from a supermarket packet) was unreasonably small.
No complaints, though, about gently fried mushroom and sauerkraut-stuffed pierogis with just the right combination of caramelised crunchiness and silky-soft pasta-like dough. Eventually a manager showed up to apologise with a complimentary dessert and delicious frozen pear vodka, but it was too little too late.