The word ‘karczma’ is Polish for inn or tavern, and this unique restaurant sets out to recreate the hearty rustic feeling of a Polish country cottage inn. Its ‘discovery’ by Guardian food critic Jay Rayner in 2012 brought a wave of new interest to the quirky old favourite.
Conveniently, the restaurant is just a few minutes walk from the main shopping centres and train stations in the centre of Birmingham. It’s perched on the edge of the Digbeth area, housed in a building belonging to the Polish Social Club.
The decoration is really something – you almost feel as if you’ve walked onto the set of a TV program. With its hefty wooden benches, shaggy sheepskins and even a thatched ceiling, The Karczma’s mountain chalet interior does a great job of transporting you to another world.
Once you’ve taken all this in and sat down, you’re more than ready for the hearty Polish foods on offer. Bring on the yummy stuffed dumplings (£7.50), creamy pickled herrings, beef stew on potato pancake (£14.70) and beetroot soups (£6.20), all of which are best accompanied by Polish beer or even zubrowka – a rye vodka served with apple juice. Another authentic tipple on the bar is wisniowka, a cherry liqueur that's administered as a post-meal shot.