Our Zosia has ballet classes on ul. Moliera in Warsaw and the weekend lesson is timed nicely for a late breakfast at our favourite place, Pędzący Królik. They are a bit hung up on their home baked bread rolls, which resemble something once shot out of a musket but we live in hope they’ll sort that out eventually. The Google translation service provides an excellent picture of the decor in this cafe:
Pushed the revolving door and went to the floor in black and white checkered. In the middle at all was something black and white. Black chairs and tables covered with white tablecloths. And all this is multiplied by a huge mirror. I remember a starched, arranged in a kind of rosette, sticking to a fully set tables napkins.
Just makes you want to rush off there and savour the atmosphere, right? All things considered, the Rushing Rabbit is a little oasis of calm amongst the busy weekly rituals. Imagine then our surprise when we read some time ago that the place was at centre of one of Warsaw’s recent political scandals, the Black Jack affair! Yes indeed, it was in this very black & white cafe that a conversation was “overheard” leading investigators to believe that certain politicians might be trousering zlots in return for lobbying on behalf of gambling industry big-shots.
It would be nice to put this incident down to coincidence or accident and keep imagining that our Warsaw eateries are safe places to have a chat but a further article from gazeta.pl suggest this is not an isolated incident. This article lists 12 Warsaw restaurants where supposedly secret conversations have later come to light and caused no end of bother for those concerned. I have frequented at least 9 of those 12 restaurants – is this just bad luck or is every Warsaw restaurant permanently bugged?
Further investigation has revealed the sinister truth. There is a secret ‘black ops’ division of the IPN (Institute of National Remembrance) called USRN (Department of National Restaurant Spying) that has been in operation ever since the fall of communism. The head of this covert team goes by the name of “Deep Appetite” [DA] and nobody knows from where he gets his orders or to whom he reports. DA does run an envious group of professional spies though and in the interests of making eating out in Warsaw a more private experience we bring you the first ever pictures of the agents known to be operating in Warsaw today:
Rambo is an expert in camouflage and survival in the wild. His job is to cover all restaurants that are located close to woodland areas or parks and once he has found the perfect location he can stay there for weeks living off nothing but berries, tree sap and dead squirrels. Our advice is that if you can see trees or bushes through the restaurant window (especially ones holding long distance microphones), move to another table.
Magda works all the Lebanese and Arabic restaurants in town. She does her most dangerous work during cocktails before and after the meal so be especially vigilant at these times. Don’t be fooled by the dancing, it’s just a way of repositioning the radio mikes in her bra. The loose clothing may look authentic but it is never removed as it is used to hide an entire ‘field ops’ situation room.
This rare shot of Ezekiel taken during a short stay in the Police station for questioning shows why he is the ideal member of the team to handle Warsaw’s many Jewish themed restaurants. He blends perfectly with the coach-loads of tourists following the “Heritage” tours and is all but impossible to pick out from the crowd. If he reaches for his glasses, that’s you photographed and transmitted back to USRN HQ for processing.
Tofu & apprentice
With the number of sushi bars in Warsaw spiraling out of control, Tofu is having to take on an apprentice. USRN take their staff at a very young age, often orphans so it is easy to wipe any previous identity. Tofu may be a big guy but he fits so well into his surroundings that he’s often overlooked. Keep yourself alert for the owner of the sushi bar complaining about how many seats at the bar he’s taking up. If the owner suddenly disappears then you know it’s time for you to do the same!