No matter how many times I go there (a lot) and I’m busting out a texty to a buddy to come and meet me, I always, always manage to misspell ‘Borsch.’ Even then I had to look it up a lot. I say ‘Bortch’, ‘Borcht’, ‘Bortsch’… in fact that damn ‘t’ gets me every time and it doesn’t even HAVE a ‘t’! I just put it there! For fun! For no reason!
Anyway. Borsch (had to look again) Vodka & Tears is a Polish cafe/restaurant/bar that boasts The Best Cocktail List Ever, and Some Of The Nicest Tapas In The World. That’s a pretty combo. Team it with pretty plates that don’t match (I love things that don’t match), knowlegeable and friendly bar staff, and outdoor seating on the awesome end of Chapel Street*, you have yourselves a winner.
Let’s take a moment to look at this cocktail list. Srsly. I am quite a fan of the Words, and the Sentences, and any place that has cocktails with names like this deserves a look in, even if the cocktails are shit. And they’re not. Let’s have some name examples:
Something Wicked This Way Comes; Angel With a Broken Arm; Little Red Riding Hood; Keith Richards; Ninja Love; Furious Hippo; Wanted: Hor Hare – Reward £1000; The Boss’s Daughter; and, my personal favourite: You’re Turning Violet, Violet!
I did not make these names up. These are also just examples. There are more. MORE. And so tasty you can convince yourself that your parents don’t really need the money back that you borrowed to go overseas, so there’s really no point saving it is there? and then you can hand over your credit card with a clear conscience and knock back as many Polish Bitches as you can in one sitting.
I should probably point out that Borsch does boast an impressive beer and wine list also, but when I have the choice between that and ordering something that rolls off the tongue like My Fair Marmalady, I find I don’t really care about beer and wine.
The staff rock. Once upon a time, I was with a friend who ordered a cocktail that had quite a bit of chilli in it. When they made this drink for her, they served it, then proceeded to wait for her to taste it to make sure the chilli element was to her satisfaction. If it wasn’t, they would make it again. Beautiful. They are also just really nice.
And lastly, the fooooood. Oh em gee. So good. My personal favourite are the Potato Blintzes, panfried potato pancakes served with sour cream. Have that with a Little Red Riding Hood if you like creamy things, or a Compendium if you like apple. I like cream and apple so I usually have one of each.
Which brings me to my Consumer Warning. While Borsch is very reasonably priced, you can blow your entire pay packet in one evening. This is entirely their fault, and not yours. If they insist on having such a more-ish menu, then they have to accept the pointed fingers. I like to keep ordering cocktails because I like the names. And then you have to order more food to go with your cocktails. And then those damned friendly bartenders make professional recommendations. So what started off as a drink after work turns into a rollicking evening of Eastern European amazingness. By the end of it you think you’re Polish.
So next time you’re in Prahran and slash or Windsor (I thought they were in Prahran but the website says Windsor. Corner of Chapel and High Streets anyway so you can make your own geographical call on that) pop in for a taster. I reccomend checking it out with a couple of friends, or as a spot for an impressive first date. What’s more, with a couple of Diminished Responsibility’s under your belt, a first date at Borsch Vodka & Tears could be all you need. Wins had by all.
173 Chapel St, Windsor, Melbourne, Australia
*Everyone knows the awesome end is the Windsor end.