MELBOURNE | Borsch, Vodka & Tears was founded in 2002 by three Polish expats and has become a Chapel Street institution, specialising in Polish vodka, authentic wormwood absinthe, Eastern European beers and contemporary Polish dishes. The venue is styled after a Kraków cellar bar, and has a simple, homely atmosphere with lots of wood and warm lighting that certainly fits the bill.
When the team say they specialise in vodka, they aren’t kidding, and there are over 100 varieties to choose from. The staff here are knowledgeable and passionate about what they do, and will happily guide you through the list and explain the intricacies of each vodka, or anything else that you might fancy. Try Jarzębiak, a clear vodka with a dash of rowan berry distillate, or Piasecki Plum, a semi-dry jammy plum and honey liqueur.
The cocktails are also worth trying here (the Apple Pie and Summer Iced Tea are two of our favourites), as are the Polish beers, many of which you won’t find elsewhere in Melbourne.
Food wise it’s all about the traditional items here. Think cabbage leaf stuffed with minced veal & rice, roasted tomato sauce, and paprika, and Polish borsch, a bone broth beetroot soup with garlic and marjoram, served with beef & chicken dumplings.
Borsch, Vodka & Tears
193 Chapel Street
Telephone: (03) 9530 2694
Mon – Wed: 8:00am to 1:00am
Thu – Fri: 8:00am to 3:00am
Sat: 9:00am to 3:00am
Sun: 9:00am to 11:00pm