• After the Tears (Elsternwick)

All I remember of Russian food is being hungry.

“I think it’s Polish?”  corrected my friend who had suggested After the Tears for being a decent place for a catch up close to her work (I was now reminded of vodka drinking with a friend’s Polish aunts).  They still serve Russian Borsch.  Obviously I know little about either cuisine.

From the same crew as Chapel Street’s famous Borsch, Vodka and Tears,  After the Tears displays enough vodkas on its walls to make you say wow.  We were catching up and enjoying a drink and snack over the lively atmosphere.

With so many vodkas on the menu, it was lucky all were in conveniently labelled sections.  I chose the riga cream (from the sweet and creamy section) described as being like Bailey’s with a hint of liquorice.  I had expected it to be clear, but it really did look like a shot of Bailey’s in its little vodka glass.

To eat we shared blintzes - potato pancakes with sour cream and dill – and pierogi – traditional dumplings of which we chose half flavoured with potato and cheese, half with porcini mushrooms and sauerkraut.
The pancakes were dense with crisp edges but enjoyable with the sour cream and dill simply slapped on the side to be generously spooned onto each mouthful.  Starchy carbs.  A good accompaniment to vodka.

The dumplings came on the same plate so that we could not tell which were mushroom and which cheese until we cut into them.  This saw us eating several of the same flavour each despite swapping sides of the plate.  Fortunately they were all vegetarian.  The mushroom ones are usually served with brown butter, sage and a cranberry reduction.  As we ordered a mix, ours came with the other’s topping of sour cream and caramelised onions.  The dumpling skins were heavy and thick with flour and potato.  The fillings were subtle, with the flavour from the onion.

Perhaps the atmosphere is not as trendy as the cool Chapel Street locale of its sister restaurant, but with a big open space and lively atmosphere, After the Tears is equally inviting for food (vegetarian dishes aplenty) and drinks – especially vodka.

After the Tears
9b Gordon St 
Elsternwick 3185
9523 0969

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