Sliced gherkins and Eastern Europe

I’ve mentioned before that I like Eastern European (particularly Polish) bars that serve traditional vodka (kept in the freezer) served with good accompanying nibbles. Sliced pickled gherkins are a very simple but traditional example. They’re quick, crunchy and healthier than crisps or Bombay mix or any of the other things I like to eat with a martini.

They are very easy to do at home, so I always have a large jar in the fridge in case of unexpected guests – the same reason I always keep my gin, vodka and martini glasses in the freezer.

However, you can also spot this sort of fare at some of my favourite Eastern European bars and eateries in London:

Mamuśka – cheap, authentic Polish comfort food in Elephant and Castle shopping centre. Mamuśka means ‘mummy’ in Polish (the mother kind, not the ancient Egyptian variety). As they say on their website: we don’t want to replace Polish mothers, we just want to take care of their kids while they are away from home. So sweet. And it’s worth scurrying through the occasionally alarming interior of the Elephant and Castle shopping centre to visit.

Bar Polskie – an unusual but relaxed and very good night out, with a fantastic vodka selection and good accompanying bites, hidden down an interesting alleyway in Holborn. My personal favourite is the Dębova (oak) vodka but they have dozens of interesting flavours that you will definitely never be able to get through in one sitting.

Baltic – a beautiful Eastern European restaurant with fantastic blini, wonderful food, gorgeous lighting, passionate, highly professional staff and a good vodka selection. Located near Southwark tube station.

Na zdrowie!

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