Happily, sufficient outrage combined with spirited manoeuvres prevented this occurrence and a most positive result is Jan Woroniecki taking on the bar and restaurant and also functions — the Hearth Club and its ballroom being much favoured by impecunious publishers for boisterous book launches.
Woroniecki, whose father Krzysztof was a soldier in the Polish forces who stayed in Britain after the war, started life as a restaurateur with that idiosyncratic Kensington restaurant Wodka, which did exactly what it said on the bottle.
Chocolate mousse with vodka-marinated sour cherries and cream is served as three separate entities in glass bowls, the mousse crowned by slices of candied orange. Some more unfamiliar names are unravelled at lunch.Flaki, a soup based on beef tripe, is revealed as husky sustenance, with strips of offal that have valiantly given their all to the peppery, vegetable-mined stock bolstered by quarters of hard-boiled egg.Ognisko Polskie (The Polish Hearth Club) founded in 1940 as a sanctuary for Polish nationals became, after the Second World War, the centre of social and cultural life for the Polish community in exile.Housed in a stately late 19th-century stuccoed terrace — now one of the beneficiaries of the “shared space” momentum of Exhibition Road — the club was recently threatened when some of its committee decided that selling the valuable building might benefit them handsomely.After 20 years he opened cool and cacophonous Baltic in Blackfriars Road but with Wodka existing no more, I sense that Ognisko is now closest to his heart.
He says he is keen to attract a younger generation of Poles into the fold.