I can’t count how many times I have driven past Smak on Kirkstall Road and promised myself one day I will try it.
At my maturing age of 31 I now love trying cuisines from different cultures of the world. However, when I visited Krakow in Poland 8 years ago I’m embarrassed to say but I actually lived off pizza and pasta.
I had a family day with my nephews and daughter at Kirkstall Park so I figured today was finally the day for me to try Smak. Did you know that Smak is the polish word for taste? It’s written in large letters next to the name.
The interior inside the restaurant is really cool and has a very authentic family vibe to it. There is carved wood and lighting with old black and white family photos and some handwritten thank you letters framed on the walls. I remember the interiors of every bar and restaurant I visited being very beautiful in Krakow and they have definitely brought that same aesthetic to Kirkstall Road.
I have to own up that I was nervous about the menu: cooked, fermented cabbage just didn’t sound appealing but I challenged myself and ordered the pan fried Kapusta (braised cabbage) with rosemary. I also ordered Piroshki and the chicken burger. It was just too daring for the kids, so I had to agree to buying them chicken and chips on the way home.
The chicken burger was juicy and had a beautiful pistachio and lemon mayo on it with a pickled cucumber chilli. It was full of fillings and flavour. And I actually loved the Kapusta the most. Who would’ve thought I’d be so grown up enjoying cooked fermented cabbage by the tub? The kids tried some and described it as sour noodles. I agree with the texture but I think the sourness is very subtle. I highly recommend it. My daughter and I ate the cheesy potato Piroshki which are like little fried dumplings which, if you are greedy like me, you just swallow in one.
It was more than enough food for me to eat alone, although the kids did help.
The staff were really good at restricting access to parts of the restaurant we didn’t need to go to, and hand sanitizer was at the ready as soon as we opened the door. I can picture me visiting Smak again but probably with a few friends to enjoy the Kapusta and a nice alcoholic beverage.
Smak is open:
Wednesday to Friday from 5p.m. until 9 p.m.
Saturday 12 noon to 9 p.m.
Sunday 12 noon to 4 p.m.
Tel: 0113 278 7831
Photographs by Robyn Wilson.