by Kristofer Jäntti
Tucked away in one of the ugliest buildings in London, the Elephant Castle Shopping Centre, Mamuśka offers Polish home-cooking at affordable prices. The restaurant seeks to be a focal point for London’s Polish community, offering not only authentically Polish cuisine and television, but also a décor slightly reminiscent of Poland’s Communist Milkbars’ – though without the poor service nor the inevitable stomach flu.
As such this means that you order and pay at the counter, sit down where you choose, wait for your order number to be called, collect your meal from the front counter, eat, and finally, when you’re finished, bring your tray in to the rack in front of the shop.
Food-wise Mamuśka offers a tasty selection of Polish classics with a few takes on cuisine from the surrounding area. The most popular item is the kotlet schabowy, essentially the Polish take on the Wiener-Schnitzel, topped off with excellent Polish cabbage.
Another good recommendation are the different varieties of pierogi - polish potato dumplings. Most noteworthy are the ruskie (Russian) pierogi, which contain a delicious blend of onions and white cheese.
Mamuśka does not aspire to fancy fine-dining and so does not offer a selection of vintage French (or Polish – not that you would want to try them) wines. However, you do get a selection of the most popular Polish beers, freshly squeezed orange juice, and even the Polish staple – kompot – a Polish fruit juice.
If you’re looking for Polish fine-dining, Mamuśka, is not for you. Its emulation of the best aspects of Polish milkbars, offering wholesome Polish meals, makes it a good place for those seeking a ‘good bang for the buck’ – not necessarily a place to impress your date.
Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre
London, SE1 6TE
Kristofer Jäntti has recently graduated with an MSc in Comparative Politics from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a founding member of Crossing the Baltic and previously he has written about Finnish politics.