Take some Polish food (plenty of it), add some authentic music, some chilled Zywiec, and vodka, of course, and you have the perfect ingredients for a Polish Feast.
That is pretty much how my Sunday afternoon panned out as a guest of the chef patron Damian Wawrzyniak at his appropriately named House of Feasts, on the Crowland Road in Eye Green.
It is not your (or mine for that matter) usual dining out concept, ie a table for your party of two, four or whatever.
The tables had been pushed together to seat anywhere between eight and 20 - and it was a case of sitting wherever was free.
I sat with two couples I didn’t know but the conversation, drink and food soon flowed freely.
Much of the talk was about the food - I was lucky enough to be sitting with a party that included a lady from Poland, which was a bonus when it cam to the translation.
The table was set out with bowls filled with side dishes - a cured herring salad (which wasn’t my cup of tea) plus some traditional pickles and a beetroot salad, which were.
Our first dish was Rosół - a great hangover cure I was informed. A huge bowl of chicken broth, packed with egg noodles, appeared and was poured over a small heap of cooked carrot in a bowl; as tasty as it was simple.
I was familiar with what appeared next - and I am a big fan of smalec, a kind of pate/dripping made with three cuts of pork. Smooth and surprisingly light it was perfect for spreading liberally on a variety of sourdough breads cooked in-house.
I was taken with the coating on the pork schnitzel which came accompanied by a sauerkraut with a salty pork (golonka), which was an acquired taste, and bigos, or Hunter’s Stew which was the best thing I tasted all day.
The sauerkraut was nice but the real taste sensation came from the smokey pork.
A selection of pierogi, dumplings filled with sweet potato or cottage cheese followed, after a serving of Silesian dumplings, sticky, spongy things which went beautifully with a mushroom side dish.
Spread over the best part of four hours, this particular feast came to an end with a Polish cheesecake with a softer base and fruity top, and Gofry – soft Polish waffles topped with whipped cream and a chocolate sauce.
Not fine dining, and not mouthwatering to look at, but very tasty and traditional Polish food with a little added refinement from a chef - a Polish Food Ambassador - who clearly knows how to tickle and tantalise the tastebuds.