Dominika Sikorska and Guy Daley have put these important questions and more under the microscope at their new bricks-and-mortar Polish restaurant, Eat Pierogi Make Love, “a love letter to Poland” born from the success of their food truck, Pierogi Pierogi.
Here’s Sikorska with the skinny on this very welcome Central European addition to Brunswick East.
How about a drink?
Szarlotka. It’s Polish for apple pie. Freshly juiced (in front of your eyes) Victorian-grown Granny Smith apples balanced out with a secret cinnamon sugar syrup and a solid dash of Polish classic Zubrowka bison-grass vodka. The flavour is fresh and grassy, with a sweetness balanced by tart apple. Na zdrowie!
I’m here for a good time not a long time.
Polish food is perfectly positioned for a drive-by drink and snack. The menu at Eat Pierogi Make Love has a whole zakaski section dedicated to small bites of food to drink vodka with. At the top of that list is the pickled herrings. There’s a famous Polish saying: ‘fish like to swim’; take a bite of marinated herring doused in vinegar, fresh onion, redcurrant and peppercorns on spelt bread and guide it down with a shot of frozen cold Chopin Rye vodka.
Got anything light and fresh?
Summer Polish cuisine is full of light and fresh options. Try the mizeria cucumber salad with karkowka pork skewers in blueberry sauce. Yes, it sounds like a mouthful but the balance of sweet and sour, crisp and tender makes this a summer barbecue classic in Poland.
What if I like tasty food but don’t eat animals?
Polish food is full of traditional vegan and vegetarian options. Eat Pierogi Make Love celebrates this fact and has plenty to choose from the very traditional kapusta pierogi Polish dumplings filled with mushroom and sauerkraut as well as gzik smashed potato with seasonal fresh farm cheese with chives and radish. Our lazy dumplings, leniwe, are a Polish gnocchi-style dish, only instead of potato a delicious sour cheese called twarog is used to make fluffy little pillows of happiness.
Name the dish that captures the Eat Pierogi Make Love vibe.
Placki frytki. Chef Ola has taken the very traditional Polish potato pancake and reimagined it as a modern bar snack: super-crisp fried grated potato and sauerkraut served with a side of caramelised-onion sour cream and drizzled with green dill oil dipping sauce. This represents the ethos of Eat Pierogi Make Love: taking traditional recipes and ingredients and presenting them in a modern yet approachable way.
Let’s go big. Let’s go crazy. What have you got for me?
Kaszanka and an Ogorki Martini. These are the ones your mother warned you about.
One is Polish-style black pudding, baked on a bed of stewed apples and horseradish. The other is the dirtiest of Martinis: delicious potato vodka spiked with the juice of fermented Polish cucumbers. Big flavours for a big night.
And to close?
Pigwa. The most delicious of the Polish nalewki, aka flavoured vodka, family. Pigwa is vodka made from quince, and Poland is the only country that worked out what else to do with this fruit, other than make it into jam. We made it into vodka, and it just so happens to be the perfect way to end a meal.