When you think of Baltic food, you might conjure up clichéd images of boiled things, heavily fried things, things with dill. And while dill is certainly a feature on the menu, thankfully, the other stereotypes are nowhere to be found at Ognisko. The restaurant, like the cuisine, is elegant and artful. The starters alone – like the crispy Koptyka (deep-fried potato dumplings) served with a tangy, yet rounded, pepper relish – will be enough to prompt you to order as many dishes as you can. And there are plenty to choose from.
The creative, moreish menu includes dishes like spiced, gently sautéed chicken livers (with just the right hint of wobble to them) served with a piquant cherry sauce on traditional potato pancakes, steak tartar with petite raw quail eggs, marinated herrings, perfectly cooked lemon sole, and a confit of duck that just melts on the tongue. But if the epicurean element isn’t enough to tempt you, the wine list is impressive, the cocktails expertly mixed, and the wait staff are friendly, yet relaxed. All told, it’s a mesmerising combination.
While the interiors are serene, with polished wooden accents and delicate artwork on the walls, when the sun shines, the outside terrace is the place to be. Afforded privacy and quiet, thanks to its position on a leafy square that’s surrounded by some of South Kensington’s beautiful brick buildings, it’s one of the better al fresco spots in the capital. You can just kick back and enjoy the superlative dishes and the calm chatter from the surrounding tables. In fact, sitting there offers you just the moment of calm you need to peruse the menu and order another round; dumplings or cocktails, it’s your choice.