Windsor VIC 3181
Ph: (03) 9530 2694
An email from Sarah about meeting up for a dinner at Borsch, Vodka & Tears got an immediate response of yes from me. I haven't eaten much Polish food before so was really excited at trying some.
Being on Chapel Street, the restaurants try to carry off a relaxed hip vibe. I'm not sure if they achieve that. The loud dance music pumping in the background is at odds with the old fashioned interior and the traditional food being served.
The service too has the problem of being a bit too relaxed. The waitress was friendly but her super slow movements and reactions to requests were a tad irritating. She did finally manage to give us suggestions on how many tapas to share.
Sarah and I shared three tapas of Bigos, Chicken Stroganoff and Kopytka. Sandra decided on the Chicken Schnitzel, which she was adamant she would not share. However, she did soften up on her stance and let us try some. I thought the schnitzel was ok but the cabbage was fantastic.
The three tapas that Sarah and I shared were more than enough as they were served with bread and were all tasty. The Bigos was both our favourite, with large chunks of smoky meat mixed together with some wonderful sauerkraut. The Chicken Stroganoff was initially good but got quite heavy after a while due to all the cream. The Kopytka was gnocchi type dumplings with wild mushrooms. The gnocchi was a bit heavy I thought but the flavours of the savuce and mushroom was excellent.
Clockwise from top: Kopytka, Chicken Stroganoff, Schnitzel and Bigos.
Despite being full, we all seemed to find a spare stomach for dessert. We shared some Russian Honey Cake, Pecan Pie and Flourless Chocolate Cake. The desserts all looked great, especially on those fantastic plates, but unfortunately the taste was not that great. The Honey Cake was overpowered by the honey, while the Pecan Pie was extremely heavy and sickly sweet. Even the Chocolate Cake tasted funny, with whatever substituting the flour giving a strange flavour.
The atmosphere, as I mentioned, was a bit disjointed. The extremely loud music meant we had to talk quite loudly, even though the restaurant was sparsely seated at the time. The service is a bit too relaxed for my liking. However, the food is good enough that I would go back to try more dishes, as there aren't too many Polish restaurants around in Melbourne.
Overall Rating: 13/20, Fairly good Polish food in Melbourne, which is not very common, so worth a try.
Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20:Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.