Melbourne Restaurant Reviews: The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar

YES, this is yet another Melbourne food blog!

Borsch Vodka & Tears

173 Chapel Street
Windsor VIC 3181
+61 3 9530 2694
http://www.borschvodkaandtears.com/

Autumn in Melbourne can be brutal. Okay, not as brutal as a Soviet winter but when you’re walking down Chapel Street juggling 10 billion shopping bags, you kinda don’t want Melbourne’s harsh elements to get in the way of all things fun. Or maybe I’m just a whiny brat. Whatever. After spending a few hours tearing down the South Yarra end of Chapel Street in the cold and somehow ending up at the Windsor end, BFF Marty and I stumbled across Borsch Vodka & Tears, a joint that has always been on my ‘to do’ list for quite some time. Vodka and borsch was never on our agenda that afternoon but Marty, the Gorbachev to my Perestroika and the Vronsky to my Anna, suddenly decided that he had a craving for borsch so in we went.

 It was just after 4pm when we walked in, with a smattering of loved-up couples making their nests between empty tables with ‘RESERVED’ signs plonked on them. Luckily, our friendly hipster (plus the ‘steez’ and minus the pretentiousness) was able to locate a spare table by the bar which was lined with many, many bottles of different shapes, sizes and colours.

Mmmm vodka.With a drinks list spanning many, many pages, it was hard to narrow our choices down. I mean, we could have been courageous and opted for a set of three plum vodkas each (three for $14.50), leaving it up to the waiter to choose a selection of vodkas but we only wanted a couple to nip on. After all, it wasn’t even dark yet. Plus, we didn’t want to limit ourselves to plum vodkas.

In the end, Marty chose a rich and creamy advocaat ($6.50), an eggnog creme liqueur with brandy and vanilla; and a winter romance ($8), a spicier blend of rose petal and wild forest flower in one little shot glass. The shot glass in flames (courtesy of Marty’s cigarette lighter) is my passover Slivovitz ($11), a kosher plum vodka from Poland. Aged for 12 years and with an alcohol content of 70%, it was as strong and brutal as Simon Kołecki but was kept sweet with traces of prunes and vanilla. Not pictured was my sweet and earthy cocktail called The Cure ($11). Consisting of piołunówka absinthe and espresso, it’s not normally a cocktail I would order (I’m more into fun, citrus-y Jessica Wakefield-type cocktails) but as it says on the menu, the cocktail is “go0d for what ails you” and plus, I like Robert Smith so shut up.

Eeek! Flash! To soak up all the alcohol, we had food. Of course, we had food. This is a food blog, duh. Marty had the Russian borsch ($14.50), a rich, soulful mixture of beetroot, carrots, tomatoes and beans peppered with bits of bacon, apple and a dollops of sour cream. If we could find a Soviet equivalent of a bowl of pho, this would be it. Tasty, soothing and full of flavour, he totally lapped it up and scooped the remaining dregs with the slices of rye bread provided.

 Meanwhile, I had an entree-sized plate of cheese and potato pierogi (four for $17). I must say that I felt ripped off, receiving only four dumplings for seventeen-frucking-dollars. I mean, I know that pierogi ain’t cheap for dumplings, but at Court Jester, they charge something like $7.50 for six pieces so what the fruck, dudes? Still, I was too hungry and too tipsy to care (after all, that plum vodka was SCULLED, baby) so I eagerly dug into my crispy cocoons of cheesy, potato-ey (with a bit of fried onion-y) goodness along with the rocket salad that came with it. Not bad, but not worth the price.

Had we been a little hungrier and had our tables not been reserved for another party, we would have probably stayed for a proper meal – perhaps some Polish sausages or some salmon and steak. Sadly, it was time to leave the Eastern Bloc and time to head back to the city for more shenanigans. I can see myself coming back for more as it’s the perfect place for a drink and a light feed on a cold Winter’s night. Just stay away from the pierogi if you’re looking for value for money.

Borsch, Vodka & Tears on Urbanspoon

21 Comments on Borsch Vodka & Tears

  1. D'
    May 17, 2011 at 22:33 (3 years ago)

    Ah this is the place my bro’s been telling me about, and he goes quite frequently so he must love it LOL.

    Reply
    • libishski
      May 17, 2011 at 22:36 (3 years ago)

      Yes, bring a lady here, D! It’s got a nice, romantic atmosphere – perfect for cuddling up in winter :)

      Reply
  2. Hannah
    May 17, 2011 at 22:46 (3 years ago)

    I want borsch!! Pretty pretty borsch! Particularly considering it was something like -7 degrees the other night here… :S

    Reply
  3. Retep Eel
    May 18, 2011 at 02:30 (3 years ago)

    Love this place… Perfect atmosphere for a date, and their vodka selection is second to none (in terms of value and quality). You can spend an entire afternoon drinking and eating here and not get sloshed because they really do space out your drinks for you.
    I recommend the 80% vodka (forgot what it was called). The winter romance is delicious, and so is the goldwasser. There’s also a very nice mandarin-infused vodka.
    …just don’t do that hallucinogenic shot (the one with the max wormwood content) cos you’ll have a horrible night…

    Reply
    • Martypants.
      May 18, 2011 at 12:57 (3 years ago)

      I’m “defs” trying the hallucinogenic shot.

      Reply
    • libishski
      May 18, 2011 at 20:04 (3 years ago)

      I will totally do the hallucinogenic shot next time, PL.
      :D

      Reply
  4. Miss T
    May 18, 2011 at 07:52 (3 years ago)

    They also do a tremendous sunday morning feast, tragically you get all the Revolver monsters turning up, but if you can bear that its well worth it.
    T x

    Reply
    • libishski
      May 18, 2011 at 20:04 (3 years ago)

      Hahaha “Revolver monsters.” Love it (as in, your comment, not THEM).

      Reply
  5. Fatbooo
    May 18, 2011 at 10:16 (3 years ago)

    Mmmm that flaming vodka shot looks so warming, perfect for these cold weeks!

    Reply
    • Martypants.
      May 19, 2011 at 01:59 (3 years ago)

      You’re not really meant to light it, though. I was just being stupid.

      Reply
  6. Adrian in Food Rehab
    May 18, 2011 at 17:31 (3 years ago)

    I’ve been meaning to here for AGES now but keep getting distracted with other restaurants opening up these days! Looks great and I’ve hear good things.

    Reply
  7. shirlz
    May 18, 2011 at 21:25 (3 years ago)

    That’s a mad shot of the alcomahol mayyyte

    Reply
  8. msihua
    May 18, 2011 at 23:09 (3 years ago)

    Oh wow… I need to get organised and come here soon!

    Reply
  9. Retep Eel
    May 19, 2011 at 01:28 (3 years ago)

    ahahaha… well, if you DO do the hallucinogenic one, make sure you don’t do 10 shots of vodka and a Death in the Afternoon before that… and another 4 pints of beer afterwards :)

    Reply
    • Martypants.
      May 19, 2011 at 01:40 (3 years ago)

      Child’s play.

      Reply
  10. Jenn Brigole
    May 19, 2011 at 04:44 (3 years ago)

    That borsch looks good and yum! But if I were to drink before eating this, 70% no less, I’d probably drown myself to death.

    Reply
    • libishski
      May 21, 2011 at 00:18 (3 years ago)

      True. That’s why you have to eat, scull, eat, eat, scull, rinse and repeat… :D

      Reply
  11. Ashley Ng
    May 19, 2011 at 11:39 (3 years ago)

    I do like Borsch, the food is just so perfect with the vodka. Haha, I remember the lamb croquettes are great there. So delicious. Urgggh.

    Reply
    • libishski
      May 21, 2011 at 00:17 (3 years ago)

      Lamb croquettes, eh? Will keep that in mind for next time :)

      Reply
  12. Mitchell Nunis
    May 19, 2011 at 17:42 (3 years ago)

    I looooooove Borsh!!

    Next time you head there – get the Chicken Straganoff, and the Pork Schnizel! YUM!

    Reply
    • libishski
      May 21, 2011 at 00:16 (3 years ago)

      Oooh nice. Thanks for the rec, Mitch!

      Reply

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