I have never been to a bar that has dished up an impressive and extensive cocktail list alongside a whopping vodka menu for shots straight up. Anything that can be thought of, cherry vodka, mint vodka, chili vodka, chocolate vodka… be prepared to be strapped in for some wholesome comfort food and plentiful of shots and alcohol. Inside, we’re shielded from the cold, it’s dimly lit and cosy.
My Russian counterpart is in charge of ordering tonight and begins to order the feast and shots to accompany each course…
Zakuski is served first and it is the Russian version of hors d’œuvres with a platter of starters from gypsy ham, warm grilled kranksy, russian potato salad, roast capsicums, beetroots, polish dill cucumbers, picked mushrooms and cubes of goats cheese. All interesting flavours of savouriness and sourness all tickling our tastebuds, downed with a shot of Winter Romance; a sweet cherry vodka delight.
Our mains roll around the corner and first are the panfried uszka; traditional Polish meat dumplings and crepes and served with (of course) picked cucumbers and sour cream. I used to think that the Asian dumplings were good, but secretly, the Polish very good at making mouthwatering, tender dumplings.
More comfort food rolls around with a traditional Russian style chicken stroganoff with fresh rye bread on the side. The stroganoff is more watery in texture than usual but don’t let it deceive as it’s flavoursome and hearty. The goulash is equally as good; a lightly spiced beef stew made from coriander and green peppercorns and served with creamy mash potato, sauteed vegetables and a capsicum relish.
This round was topped with the Pole Stiffener shot; a liqueur cherry in cherry and chocolate vodka; and probably my favourite of the night.
For the sweet tooths around the table, there’s not doubt that the Russian crepes is the way to go; filled with warm strawberries and apples and served with cream, raspberry coulis and vanilla ice cream. It’s a nice welcome away from all the meat tonight. And of course after dessert, we topped off with the After Dinner Mint shot; a mix of Van Gogh chocolate vodka and żołądkowa mint vodka.
Throughout the night there’s no holding back and we have cocktail after cocktail. The winners on the list are the Espresso Martini; quite self explainatory, Something Wicked This Way Comes, Apple Pie and Menage a Trois.
A honourable mention to the writer of the cocktail menu with wonderful cocktails named “Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries” (quote from Monty Python) and “You’re turning violet, Violet” (quote from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
A night here isn’t fully experienced until you’ve had the borsh (soup), plenty of vodka and hangover tears.
Borsh Vodka & Tears
173 Chapel St