Le Chef, an ambitious new bistro on Więzienna Street, is looking to up the ante in Wroclaw's food porn stakes. Despite sporting an open kitchen and an intriguing menu however, this trendy but overpriced venue hasn't quite found the magic formula yet.
The dynamic bistro is housed inside failed hipster hangout Monsieur & Madame Cafe, which has been completely revamped to create a modern gastronomic venue with a lively open kitchen.
For outdoor seating Le Chef have gone for the typical wooden palette based furniture that's all the rage at the moment, which blends in nicely with Burger Love's beer garden next door. The classic signs hanging from the wall are one of a few items to have survived the renovation, with the new venue's similarly French name replacing the old one.
Le Chef's menu features a modest mixture of snacks, salads, sandwiches, soups, main meals and breakfast options. Not feeling anything more than peckish on our impromptu evening visit, we casually chose two of the dishes from the snacks menu, which both cost a rather hefty 14zl each.
First up was the grilled halloumi cheese, which was served with crispy flatbread and what appeared to be a dollop of both traditional and barscz flavoured hummus. This latter unexpected twist showed real invention, and went down a treat when combined with the other ingredients. Having said that however, the modern presentation did look a little bizarre, particularly due to this rather petit dish being served on a sizeabale wooden chopboard. On balance it has to be said that despite this snack being prepared carefully and containing expensive cheese, it just didn't do enough to merit its 14zl price tag.
The same was unfortunately true of the roasted chicken drumsticks. While the chicken was juicy, tender and looked appetizing too, you couldn't exactly say it was great value for money. The dish also came with Tzatziki sauce as opposed to the Teriyaki that was listed on the menu.
Despite those shortcomings however, we felt there was better value to be had elsewhere on the menu and didn't hesitate to pay a second visit. This time round we ordered the homemade flatbread with grilled vegetables and goats cheese, the soup of the day, plus the halloumi salad.
Much like the snacks we sampled on our first visit, the 8zl flatbread came on another huge chopping board, only this time with the addition of some rocket leaves nonchalantly tossed on the side. There was no doubting the quality of this snack though, which was clearly made from scratch in the kitchen with fresh ingredients. The flavour packed tomato soup (10zl) was equally good.
The 26zl halloumi salad turned out to be a whimpering let down however. While admittedly looking the part and containing quality, fresh produce, the lack of any dressing whatsoever meant it failed to have enough zing to bind everything together. With nothing more than a few pieces of aubergine, a tossing of chick peas and a couple of tomato slices to compliment the grilled cheese, this uninspiring salad failed to hit the same high notes as the equivalent offering at KRVN.
What we have here then is yet another venue with genuine promise – albeit one that isn't currently being fulfilled. Given a few minor tweaks here and there, particularly when it comes to pricing, Le Chef is a place capable of becoming a real hit. The area around the bar is alive with constant activity, giving the bistro a classy yet lively and sociable atmosphere. Nevertheless, If Wroclawians don't feel they are getting a fair deal here, Le Chef could end up repeating the same mistakes that sealed the fate of the cafe it replaced.
Le Chef, Więzienna 31
Tel: 667458509, Facebook Page