Kres, an interesting Ukranian themed bar and restaurant that organises film screenings, is doing its level best to blend in with Ofiar Oświęcimskich's other coolcat hangouts.
Even so, there are limits to how far a trendy image can actually get you. Despite the place appearing to have potential, my visit turned out to be a rather indifferent experience and the lack of footfall suggests I'm not the only one.
On first look, Kres' interior appears to be a hybrid of the ecological and industrial decor styles that are all the rage right now – the rough and abrasive industrial like walls are contrasted with plenty of wood fittings and a creaky wooden floor. This is all brought to life with the aid of some contemporary art displayed on the walls, giving the interior a lively boost of colour and warmth. Above the bar there is a neat folding projector screen that allows the venue to host numerous arthouse film nights, which no doubt add to Ofiar Oświęcimskich street's cultural vibe.
The trouble is though, despite Kres looking like a place that could be buzzing with activity, you rarely see it like so.
On arrival to a completely empty Kres on Thursday lunchtime, the staff appeared somewhat surprised to see a customer stroll in. Nevertheless, they were ready in a flash to take my order. The menu, which is printed out in a trendy old school font, contains a short but reasonably tempting selection of Ukranian main courses. However, the drinks menu doesn't contain all the prices of the beer or soft drinks, meaning you have to ask how much they all cost depending on what they've got in stock – not the most comfortable solution if you like to make your choices up front.
My main meal arrived nice and warm after 20 minutes waiting time. This classic meat and vegetable fare was freshly cooked, with the meat nice and tender. Still, the presentation left a lot to be desired. Indeed, it resembled something you'd expect to recieve in the 1930's. Perhaps that's all purposely part of Kres' retro look, yet at 20zl for the dish, you can't help but ask yourself if you're simply eating milk bar food at double the price. To be fair, it both looked and tasted like that was the case.
Given that there are two other Ukranian restaurants in town, Kres also seem to have their work cut out if they want to be the best in that category. Having not been to Ukraine myself, I'm obviously not the most qualified person to comment – but Kres just didn't look and feel Ukranian at all. It could literally be 'Rotterdam or anywhere'.
Still, despite a few shortcomings it would be a tad harsh to rule out this relatively new venue just yet. Kres does have a great location, a cool interior, regular film nights and a desire to host cultural events. Should they ever sharpen up their act, Kres could harness its potential and become a thriving Ofiar Oświęcimskich street bar and restaurant. On the flip side, given how competitve the market is in Wroclaw at the moment, it would not be a surprise to see Kres drop off the map if they don't polish up their act.
Kres, Ofiar Oświęcimskich 19
Phone: 732 74 98 33, website