Pinola, a Polish run Italian restaurant housed inside Ferio Gaj shopping centre, fails to excite despite all its promise.
Shopping centre restaurants are normally something we steer well clear of, as they more often than not tend to be characterless fast food joints with poor produce and an altogether depressing atmosphere. Pinola did appear to be a potential exception to this rule however, and given our desire to hunt down local venues worth going to, this place was well worth checking out.
The restaurant's interior attempts to show off its passion for home cooked food, with pretty jars of antipasti and olive oil lining the bar alongside various peppermills and little containers full of herbs and spices. These little touches, along with the open kitchen, present a strong message that this is a place that cares about its food.
Sadly however, the end product turns out to be merely a little better than average. Our pasta photographed above was cooked al dente, elegantly presented and brought to our table within a relatively short amount of time. While that was all good, the dish was disappointingly bland and seemed a bit overpriced at 18zl considering the petit portion.
What about the Pizza then? If it's proper thin based Italian Pizza you're after, you can usually be sure you won't get it if the waiter asks you "Jaki sos?" when you order. That was exactly what happened here, and the hypothesis rather predictably turned out to be true when our pizza arrived on the table. This was somewhere between an Italian and American interpretation, with large crusts and a medium pan base. For Italian pizza purists then, Pinola's offering doesn't come anywhere close to the likes of Pizza Love Pane and Piec Na Szewskiej. As far as Polish pizza goes however, Pinola does a better job than most. Each one is made from scratch by hand using buffalo mozzarella and other quality ingredients, and if you are just in need of some comfort food, Pinola's pizzas do just nicely.
That said, the look of Pinola's interior and the prices on their menu suggest they are capable of producing something more authentic. Pinola does sport a giant 'authentic' stamp on one of the walls, but this is a venue that ultimately needs to tell itself it's the real deal rather than actually let its cooking do the talking. While Pinola does remain a pleasant place in which to have a meal in the local area, it is not exactly the kind of place worth shouting about.
Tel: 71 336 53 50, Facebook Page