A modern pâtisserie with long family traditions, currently run by Albert Judycki and Jacek Malarski. It was founded in 1946 by Albert’s grandfather – Jan Dynowski – in Praga, Warsaw. The owners are known for their perfectionism and good taste, not only when it comes to pastry. They take care of every detail of the interior, packaging, or window displays.
Does Warsaw have a rich pastry tradition?
Albert: – Yes, it does. There are stories of foreigners who came to Warsaw in the 20s, 30s and were amazed at the quality of pâtisseries which were, literally, on every corner. The pastry boom started in the 19th century with the flow of emigrants from Switzerland. The most famous was Lourse at the Europejski Hotel. His cafe was later taken over by another renowned Swiss pastry chef – Semadeni. Another famous one was Fruziński. Not to mention Blikle and Wedel – these were the famous names of that time.
Jacek: – Warsaw’s pastry chefs have always worked with a flourish. They took care of the quality of products and spared no energy, efforts, and money on the projects of the best interior architects or graphic designers. Signs, advertisements, and boxes were designed by the most prominent artists, for example, Zofia Stryjeńska. Interiors were made with taste and often were quite modern.
You studied in Paris – the mecca of international pastry. What have you brought here and what Polish traditions do you incorporate?
Jacek: – In Paris, we learnt modern know-how, professional knowledge and skills at the highest level. We regularly visit Paris: we keep up with the recent trends, visit new pâtisseries, buy books and professional magazines, we try out novelties in our favourite places.
Albert: – However, the majority of what we offer and our vision on pastry is linked to Polish traditions. We draw inspiration from Ćwierczakiewiczowa, Monatowa, Disslowa. The dessert section at Lukullus – tarts, cream cakes, cream puffs are cosmopolitan, but the baked part is definitely more local. We make a poppy seed brioche or strudel according to the recipe of Lucyna Ćwierczakiewiczowa but we also have a quite modern flan from Mori Yoshida.
What is our national pride in the pastry field?
Albert: – Cheesecake. You won’t find such delicious ones anywhere else in the whole world. Our national pride is also yeast cake like poppy seed brioche, Easter baba, and donuts. Thanks to our friends from Paris, we have learnt to value these traditional and simple flavours. When they are created with the use of the best ingredients, and according to the old-fashioned recipes, they can stimulate many more emotions than elaborated colourful velvet confections and glitter glazes.
Jacek: – Baked cakes smell, crunch and remind us of our childhood. We are admirers of simple tastes. What can be better than a buttery, aromatic sweet roll straight from the oven, strawberries with whipped cream and vanilla or roasted caramel apples?
And which Polish products would a French pastry chef buy at any price?
Albert: – Curd for a cheesecake. Whortleberry, which they lack in France as people don’t pick them in the woods. But above all, pure butter from Grajewo which has no equal in the world. We have tried to add the most expensive butter from Holland, France, and Ireland to puff pastry, but that specific aroma was only to be found in the one from the Grajewo dairy.
Are you planning to open any new places in different cities?
Jacek: – Lukullus has been associated with Warsaw for 70 years and it will stay that way. We won’t open any new places outside the capital. The quality of our products is of paramount importance to us. We wouldn’t like to micromanage. We are aware that in the case of pâtisserie, too vast an expansion could mean losing control over the quality and we just can’t allow it to happen.
The best compliment, you can hear from a client?
Albert: – One of our guests when asked about his favourite cake once said: “Passion fruit choux. Because it is filled with happiness.”
Chmielna St. 32, Mokotowska St. 52a, Walecznych St. 29; www.cukiernialukullus.pl
Interview: Agnieszka Kowalska
Photos: Aga Bilska & Lukullus