Geneva has had some tricks up it sleeves, but none quite as surprising as Polp, a pop-up wedged between a fitness center and a Migros. The man in the window is mustachioed, smiling and friendly. The choice is yours and you only have one choice: pita stuffed with octopus, wrapped in brown paper, ready to eat anywhere but there.
A mouthful is consistent, replete with octopus carpaccio, slightly spicy, adorned with rucola, olives and green peppers, and peppered with oregano. So far so good, but the best was the surprise ending: there in the pita’s base you’ll find a couple of anchovies with their characteristic saltiness, but – hey wait, where you going?? – anchovy-haters, rest easy, these come curled up in pillowey, creamy burrata that helps round out some of that edgy anchovy.
Sound a little crazy? Then the experiment is probably working, because this is the craftwork of a self-proclaimed “Mad Chef”. Of Milanese extraction, Walter el Nahar has already gotten his experiments in the high-end Fiskebar in the Hotel de la Paix, and Susuru, the most recent, (questionably) popular ramen shop to hit downtown. He’ll be thinking up concoctions for his pop-up through November, with a new dish each month. In July, Filipino style ceviche. In August, he goes local (just in time for Swiss National Day on August 1st), with crayfish and a cuchaule fribourgeois – a slightly sweet saffron brioche bread, recently endowed with its own PDO label. Glad I’ll be coming back from vacation in time for that one!
Come fall, look out for his next wild idea, a gastropub that will serve you four days a week, and provide free meals to those in need on the 5th day. It’s name? Le Cinquieme Jour. Simply mad.