Krakow is definitely a city with a burgeoning foodie scene but it has a long way to go before it is friendly to allergy sufferers and plant based diets. Nova Krova is one of a tiny number of venues so far offering organic, vegetarian or vegan and gluten free all together.
The gluten free offering is not extensive and there is cross-contamination risk but despite both these things I felt safe to eat here and enjoyed the food, service and venue enough that I would return again. Hopefully Nova Krova will extend its gluten free offering in future to enhance both the safety and options available.
Venue and Menu
Nova Krova sits looking into the popular Wolnica square within the Kazimierz district. It is in view of an insanely popular Good Lood ice cream parlour. I walked past this parlour four times in the space of a week and not once was there less than a 30 person long queue waiting to be served. Unfortunately I do not know whether the ice cream is gluten free!
So onto Nova Krova. The venue offers both bench seating for groups and smaller tables for singles and couples and has an earthy, funky vibe that appears to match its apparent food values. The menu features four vegan and gluten free burgers, meaning burger patties that are gluten-free available within gluten free buns. All the available sauces are also gluten free along with most of the toppings and each burger is accompanied by a recommendation for sauce and toppings.
There are also safely gluten free smoothies, including one that is basically a protein shake. I am sure the choices vary but at the time I visited there was Strawberry, Banana & Goji Berry, Banana, Peanut Butter, Cocoa and Hemp Protein and Mango, Coconut and Cardamon available.
Unfortunately none of the salads or desserts were gluten free when I visited and this is an obvious area for improvement.
There is only one tiny burger bun toaster and burger ‘assembly’ workspace and these are constantly being used to toast and prepare gluten containing buns and burgers. However after identifying myself as a coeliac, something the counter server and chef were definitely familiar with, I was shown their approach to managing cross-contamination risk. For preparation of my burgers and those for other coeliacs they lay tin foil onto the toaster rack and work surface in order to isolate it from existing gluten. I observed this approach along with the care taken and had confidence that risk was entirely mitigated.
Gluten Free Goodness
Since none of the sides were available gluten free I ordered two burgers, Red Bean, Smoked Tofu & Sunflower Seeds with plum sauce and Chickpea Croquettes with parsley pesto. To accompany these I chose the Banana, Peanut Butter, Cocao and Hemp Protein Shake.
I am rarely wowed by vegan and gluten free burgers and find they often lack moistness and any distintive flavour. The Red Bean & Tofu burger was ‘nice’ and did not break away from this issue but was rescued by the accompanying plum sauce. Eaten together each bite had satisfying texture and taste sensations to offer. Simple food and pleasant enough.
I am far more positive about the chickpea croquette ‘burger’. But Nova Krova people, let me introduce a new word for you – falafel! These were accompanied by hummus. I adore both so I am a ready-made fan. I find the combination of the ‘bite’ offered by falafel plus the smooth, dense, rich creaminess of hummus goes together wonderfully well, and this was my favourite by far.
The shake was a welcome companion with the sweetness of the banana doing just enough to compliment the earthier tones of the hemp protein and peanut butter.
Would I Return?
The meal was inexpensive, produced safely and quickly and the venue was comfortable to eat in, I would visit again. I do hope that Nova Krova choose to expand their gluten free range. They already boast on their store front of their 100% Vegan status. Dare they go 100% Gluten Free too? Go on, be the first 100% Gluten Free venue in Krakow Nova Krova!