I nearly walked past Ryż, mistaking it for a modern hipster café, but, once I opened the door and the smells wafted out, I had no doubt that I was in the right place!
At first sight, Ryż looks like a café with modern interiors, contemporary lighting and plants, and paintings on the wall, but then the kitchen door opens and the aromas transport you to one of the better night markets in Thailand! We wanted to take photos of the restaurant, but it filled up while we spoke to the chef, so we hope that it will surprise you as it did us.
We were warmly greeted by Chef Piotr and his partner Magdalena who were very friendly and took time out to talk to us in between kitchen and service duties. They are a fun couple that works really great together. Magda takes care of the front-of-house and is responsible for the look and feel of Ryż, while Piotr works his magic in the kitchen
Our discussion about food and our favorite places to eat in various parts of Thailand lasted for well over 45 mins. During this time, Chef Piotr told me that when he had first opened in Gdańsk, people would come to him and complain that his food was too hot. He said that over the last year of running Ryż’s kitchen, he had learned to tone down the spice without letting go of the flavors, but that he missed the fiery flavors of traditional Thai cooking. At that point, I had to tell him how much I missed good spicy food in the Tricity. It was a joy to see his face light up as I told him that he needn’t worry about the level of spice with me!
My friend and I started the evening with Thai Iced Tea and fresh coconut water, both of which I have really missed ever since I moved to Poland.
Betel Leaves with Jurassic Salmon, Galangal and Palm Sugar
Our first course was Betel leaves with Jurassic Salmon, Galangal and Palm Sugar. It was all the traditional flavors of the Miang Kham with the surprising twist of the Salmon. As much as I loved the dish, it was the look of surprise and delight on my friend’s face as she tried it for the first time that made me love it even more.
Chiang Mai Chicken and Curry Noodle Soup
For our mains, my friend ordered a Pad Thai, while I told Chef Piotr to surprise me, and boy oh boy, surprise me he did! He served me a hearty bowl of Chiang Mai Chicken and Curry Noodle Soup with pickled ginger and chilies topped with crunchy fried noodles. The bowl was packed with flavors, freshness and a fieriness that woke up my palette and made me want more even after I had slurped the last noodles and scraped the bottom of the bowl.
Thai Green Curry
Chef Piotr also served us his signature Green Curry with Tofu. Normally, Green Curry is the last thing I order in a Thai restaurant, as it always lets me down. But, this Green Curry was redolent with the aroma of kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, green chilies, and herbs, while the tofu was crunchy on the outside but melted in your mouth once you bit into it.
Mango Sticky Rice
By this time, our tummies were begging us to stop eating, but our soul demanded more and of course, the soul won! For dessert, we had the traditional Mango Sticky Rice (with brown rice instead of white) with fresh coconut ice cream. When the dessert came to the table, my friend was a bit disconcerted as she had never eaten rice for dessert, but one spoon in, she was hooked and so was I!
Chef Piotr & Magdalena
Piotr, originally from Warsaw comes to Gdańsk via Australia, South Korea, and Thailand! He moved to study and work in Australia in 2002 and has worked as an apprentice in the renowned Bambini Trust&Wine restaurant. After that, he completed his training at Billsons with Tony Bilson, at Bathers Pavilion with Serge Dansereau, then at Longrain with Martin Boetz and finally at Quay (26th on the San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants) with Peter Gilmore. He then traveled and worked in South Korea and Thailand (where thankfully for us he fell in love with Thai cuisine) and came to Poland for a short break before he nearly moved to Shanghai. Here, he did some hospitality work, met Magda who claims full responsibility for making him give up his plans for Shanghai and opened a restaurant in Gdańsk.
To us, Ryż was a welcome change from the other Thai restaurants in the Tricity, with its modern interiors and almost street food like food. The restaurant is also available for small get-togethers. I for one, have already semi-organized our next hen’s night out there already!
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