And maybe a pastry.
Or an incredible sandwich.
Or all of the above.
When we visited colleagues in Poland a few months ago, I did my usual coffee research and read up on several locations. But the one that I found the most info on was Relaks. So of course we had to scope it out.
So as I walked in, I was initially puzzled. Was this the place for which I had read so many enthusiastic reviews? I really wasn’t quite sure what to make of it. The decor was eclectic. At first glance it seemed everything was mismatched. And while that isn’t a new concept for coffee bars, something just felt odd to me.* At first.
That was my initial reaction. But once we had placed our order and settled at a table, my opinion began to change.
It was quickly obvious that this is a place with many regulars. Some were settled in with a friend, and others with a MacBook or some reading material. There were frequent greetings from one patron to the next. And everyone appeared quite comfortable in this hodge-podge of vinyl and upholstered chairs and worn tables. The hodge-podge that was actually beginning to grow on me.
The baristas at Relaks know their stuff. Our experience in Poland was that it was a bit harder to communicate in English than in many European countries we’ve visited. However, we had no communications issues here. Great English, and great service with good equipment and very good coffee – and plenty of help if you aren’t sure what you might want to order!
It seems like coffee selections can vary depending on when you visit (Relaks does not roast their own beans). But what they serve up is top notch. Selection is apparently always different, but they’ve been known to offer roasts from well-respected beaneries like Solde Kaffebar (Sweden), The Barn (Berlin), Koppi (Sweden), Coffee Zone (Poland), and Coffee Company (Amsterdam).
We ordered a Finca Tamana from The Barn, as well as El Porvenir (also from The Barn, and both Columbian). They were prepared using a V60. Each was quite good, but we both preferred the Finca.
And the tapenade baguette on its own was worth the walk from the underground!
|Our table reminded me a bit of the backgrounds out of a
Batman comic. Pow! Sploosh! Bang!
The boys were extremely pleased with their hot chocolate. And their table: a nice little platform table at the window – a perfect perch for two antsy pants fellas to do a bit of chatting and people watching.
They were not as enthusiastic about the almond danish they ordered – but Zack and I thought it was incredible!
Good equipment. Quality coffee. Lots of interesting people. A 1960’s vibe. All in all, a pretty cool spot. A bit off the beaten path, but definitely worth checking out if you find yourself in Warsaw!
*I did find out later that most of the furniture at Relaks is purchased used, restored, and available for re-sale. And apparently their poster collection is a rotating exhibition that is also available for purchase. Pretty cool.
And FYI – even if you aren’t all that into coffee, Relaks offers a wide variety of baked goods and sandwiches, and a number of unusual/novelty sodas as well.