Located in Wrocław's Nadodrze district, Wincentego 21 is looking to play its part in the area's new found art boom. Boasting a creative menu and stylish, contemporary decor made from recycled material, Wincentego 21 looks like the kind of place Wrocław Uncut should be shouting about. Due to some calamitously inattentive service however, we are regrettably left with no option but to give this modern venue a massive thumbs down.
Our first impressions of Wincentego 21 couldn't have been much better. A cool, alternatively minded restaurant that's located outside the city centre – the type of venue we love to promote. The trendy decor is very eco-friendly looking, and clearly there's been a novel attempt to make something different here. Despite most the furniture being made from recycled wood (chipboard or second-hand pallets) the tables themselves have a clean, polished feel and certainly look the part.
Having got over the fact the restaurant has no alcohol licence, we ordered a couple of bottles and Club-Mate and prepared to start waxing lyrical about this new eatery. Sadly though, it was all downhill from this point.
As we cast our eyes over the numerous diverse dishes on offer (which vary from 15-40zl for a main meal) we opted for the soup of the day, plus a starter each. The wide ranging menu had a number of intriguing dishes to choose from – certainly enough for anyone to contemplate another visit should their first experience be a positive one. Unfortunately for the owner of this establishment, our's wasn't – and we weren't the only ones who left disappointed.
It was around 15 minutes before our first dish arrived; a simple starter involving some grilled aubergine and parmesan cheese. The combination of the flavours works well, and although the Ryvita on the side looked a bit lost and out of place, we were content with the dish. Nevertheless, a toasted slice of ciabatta would have complimented the vegetables and cheese wonderfully, and one has to wonder if the crackerbread is aimed more at increasing their profit margin than reducing your wasteline.
Next up came our beetroot served with garlic Twarog (Polish cottage cheese). The dish might have been small, but it was certainly tasty, containing a good mix of Polish flavours. That said, for a starter that couldn't have taken any longer than two minutes to prepare, we had to endure another 15 minutes wait. On its arrival the waiter fleetingly apologized, and appeared shocked when we queried him about our soup. "Of course I remember" he said in Polish, before casually strutting back into the kitchen.
It took another 20-25 agonizing minutes before our cream of mushroom soup arrived – each in chipped bowls. Keen to avoid a scene and get out as soon as possible, we ate up and paid up quickly. The soup itself was decent enough, if a little on the lukewarm side.
On a unseasonably cold spring day, the restaurant must have known a warm plate of soup would have been a popular choice. Yet this didn't seem to register at all with Wincentego 21's staff. Just how long can it take to ladle a couple of plates of warm soup? The two gentlemen to our right where equally baffled by their wait, and made light of the situation by chuckling away at the stopwatches on their smartphones. Things then got worse when only one of them was served their soup, which appeared a total botch-job, unrecognizable to the one we had gobbled up minutes earlier. At the same time, an unimpressed family of four looked on with sober faces, no doubt wondering how long they'd have to wait for their meal.
Clearly, even the best of restaurants have their off day, and it would be rather shortsighted to assume things are this bad at Wincentego 21 on a regular basis. Curious to see what others think, we had a look at the reviews on gastronauci.pl, where we found a number of satisfied customers. Nevertheless, even among the ten posts listed there were too many cases similar to ours. Three of these posts mentioned high waiting times and a worrying lack of staff attentiveness, with one review saying the waiter ignored clients and spent several minutes on his phone. Given how lax and absent minded the waiter was on our visit, comments like these are pefectly believable.
With Wincentego 21 part of the artistic Nadodrze project, it is a crying shame to see this place giving the scheme a bad name. Other venues in the area such as Cafe Rozrusznik, Cafe Bema and Cafe Pestka are streets ahead in terms of customer service. Wrocław Uncut are completely behind all the work going on in Nadodrze, but if venues such as Wincentego 21 continue to arrogantly strut about and fail to get the basics right, the project may never get off the ground. Let's hope they spruce up their act.
Wincentego 21 Good Food Restaurant
Tel: 504980030, wincentego21.pl