One of the best things about visiting family-run restaurants, especially when they specialise in the owners’ national foreign cuisine, is that staff are usually very passionate about what they do and it comes through in the customer service.
That can definitely be said about Chata Cottage Inn, a small Polish restaurant in St Giles Street in Northampton town centre.
I went in for a light, pre-Friday-night-out dinner with a girlfriend and was pleasantly surprised to find that the little restaurant that I had walked past so often and barely noticed, turned out to be a lovely cosy spot, perfect for a sociable meal any time of the day.
We spent a good while perusing the menu, which offered a wide range of traditional Polish dishes and products, promising something for all tastes. Although we decided to skip the starter and enjoy a glass of Polish red wine instead, I had my eye on the tempting “starter for two” (£9.90), including savoury potato pancakes, bacon wrapped plums and grilled oscypek cheese – a definite choice for my next visit.
Diving straight into the mains, I went for the turkey ghoulash (£9.90); a stew of turkey breast pieces which was cooked in a sweet and sour sauce flavoured with onion and peaches.
It came beautifully presented with vegetable rice and salad and, while it wasn’t anything out of the ordinary in terms of taste, was served with a smile from our very charming waiter and was more than enjoyable.
My friend had the “angellic chicken” (£11.90), which was a whole coated and fried chicken breast stuffed with bacon and brie and served with a generous portion of sautéed potatoes and a sauerkraut, carrot and red cabbage salad.
It proved a little too much for her to finish, but she said the chicken was great and the potatoes were even better.
To finish, we had a coffee and shared a Polish-style baked cheesecake (4.90) with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce.
Different from your typical New York variety, the traditional Polish version (which I have since found out is called ‘sernik’) has a soft cakey base and is made with quark or curd cheese, giving it a less sweet flavour and a drier, more fluffy texture.
With the addition of the ice cream and sauce, I really enjoyed it and found it satisfying without being too sickly – or leaving me feeling guilty.
But, had we not gone for the cheesecake, we were also intrigued by the “surprise dessert for men or women”(£6.90), which included a “naughty” adult surprise...
Also offering a breakfast and lunch menu, including a variety of sandwiches, stews and larger hot dishes, I would recommend Chata Cottage Inn at any time of day because of its value for money, great service and warm, welcoming atmosphere.
And with the special saucy dessert, it’s absolutely on my list of Valentine’s Day options.
Chata Cafe and Restaurant
58 Saint Giles’ Street, Northampton NN1 1JW
VALUE: Very good
SERVICE: Friendly and attentive
DISABLED ACCESS: Stairs to toilet
TOTAL COST: £34.10
STAR RATING 8/10