Day 49, Warsaw, February 27th 2012

Tea 49:  Masala Chai, Restauracja Maharaja, Warsaw.

A spectacularly sunny day today!  The weather was a little colder than on the previous days, but the sun made up for that, the sky was a great glass-blue colour, a few whispy clouds dotted about.  I got up and took the tram to central.  From there I went and bought myself a new memory card reader, another thing that has bitten the dust along with the crotch-hole jeans…

Then, after escaping the horrible shopping mall I followed Emilii Platter street south.  It’s southern end is a stark contrast to the part north of central, narrow and quiet with lovely little shops and cafes.  I wandered down as far as Wilcza then turned east, then back southwards along Marszalkowska.  The town seemed a bit sleepy today, probably the fact of it being a Monday I imagine.  Walking through Constitution Square and then down onto Plac Zbawiciela with the pretty Kościół pw Najświętszego Zbawiciela (church).  I then went down Mokotowska, still southwards.  By now my brain had begun to think about food, it was after two and I had a desire for something wholesome and nutricious.  I wandered around, looking at the various options, a thai place, a cafe, until I found Restauracja Maharaja.  This lovely little Indian restaurant is on Marszalkowska, right next door to Galerie Next.  go through the door and up to the top floor and it is tucked away there.  I guess I arrived pretty late, but the place was empty, although I did walk through at a semi-rush hour, two people literally in front of me up the stairs and a third close behind.

This little place is really great though, the food was VERY good, I ordered the veggie set lunch option, Saag Paneer.  It is a thali style lunch so rice, naan bread, poppadum, yoghurt and all sorts of other things were included.  It was a proper feast, I totally stuffed myself.  The Masala Chai I ordered alongside my meal was very good too, the right balance of sweetness and milkyness, and went really well with the food choice.  It tasted freshly made, and properly made, not just chai tea with a bit of milk in it, but properly made with milk and only milk.  The food was exquisite, the Paneer cheese perfect, the brightly coloured sauces complimenting everything perfectly.  And the addition of aniseeds (fresh and sugar-coated) to freshen the palate and breath was a lovely touch that doesn’t happen often. I must have sat there for the best part of 2 hours, eating for most of that time!  No-one else came into the restaurant after the little tidal wave I had come in on, but they should.  The lunch was only 20Zloty, the tea another 10.  If you have a different main the price changes, but not by much if you stick to the set lunch menu.  They have different lunch dishes on offer everyday of the week, so I might well go back before my time is up in Warsaw!  And I would encourage anyone else to go too!

Full and satisfied I dragged my belly back down the staircase to the street and then decided to finally venture down Mokotowska Street proper.  This street is one of the popular streets for posher shop and things, but it is also where I have found my first hammer and sickle in the ex-soviet bloc so far!  A building being held up by two figures, one holding his sickle, the other his stylized hammer.  They are posing as though they have just caught the building and are holding it there so it doesn’t fall down, infinite strength or infinite labour, you decide…  Carrying on down the street I came back to the big palm tree and the start of Nowy Swiat, which leads into the old town.  I walked down this street, weaving in and out of the crowds of tourists, students and one unicyclist.  Making it to the start of the old town, the sun getting low in the sky, reflecting off of windows and making the colours of the buildings bright and vibrant, I took a side street to get off of the main drag of the old town, the narrow street cobbled and lined with old terraced buildings.  Back into the old town I took a photo of the view out across to the stadium and then was asked by another group to take their photo.  They were visiting from Spain and were also about to head to Bucharest, seeing some friends.  Back onto the cobbled streets and I walked through the town square and down to a little viewpoint out across the river.  Then heading back north into the ‘New Town‘ part of the old town.  The buildings still coloured and higgledy-piggledy, I walked up to Fort Legionow, a round building which appears to be shut at the minute but looks as though it usually holds a museum, up onto a long double-decker bridge, the trams buzzing along on the lower level and the cars and buses rushing over the upper level.  It was quite late by now, the sun had set and I decided it was time to head home.  Luckily one tram goes all the way from there to the southern part of the city, so it was an easy journey home.

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