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Monday, September 24, 2012

The Russian Club Berezka Restaurant, Strathfield

piroshki at Berezka Restaurant, Russian Club, Strathfield

Imagine a fluffy, golden fried doughnut stuffed with mince and you’re halfway to realising the stomach-warming satisfaction of piroshki. These pint-sized pies are a Russian specialty, providing a perfect antidote for end-of-winter blues.

dining room at Berezka Restaurant, Russian Club, Strathfield
Berezka restaurant dining room at the Russian Club


The Russian Club in Strathfield has seen better days, but it remains a social hub for the Russian community in Sydney. The restaurant is eerily quiet, but we’re told that Sunday lunchtimes are usually the busiest. In a suburb now teeming with Korean, Vietnamese and Indian restaurants, the Russian Club is now a sentimental, if struggling, reminder of the area’s Eastern European past.


piroshki at Berezka Restaurant, Russian Club, Strathfield
Piroshki $2 each


The piroshki ($2 each) are one of the highlights here, the yeasted buns soft and fluffy and fried so the outer layer develops a thin, golden crust. Inside is a hot filling of minced meat and vermicelli noodles that tastes even better with a splodge of chilli sauce on the side.


dining room decor at Berezka Restaurant, Russian Club, Strathfield
Napkins and plastic tablecloths


The décor may be rooted in the ’70s, with fanned napkins and blue plastic sheeting draped over white tablecloths, but happily for your wallet, the prices are just as historic.


cabbage rolls at Berezka Restaurant, Russian Club, Strathfield
Cabbage rolls $9


A trio of homemade cabbage rolls are a steal at only $9. It’s a feast of minced meat and rice wrapped up in cabbage leaves and cooked in a tomato sauce, served with a flourish of sour cream and fresh chopped dill.


pelmeni dumplings at Berezka Restaurant, Russian Club, Strathfield
Pelmeni dumplings $7


Pelmeni ($7) are also hefty in serve, a plate of about twenty boiled dumplings folded into tortellini parcels. Each holds a spoonful of mixed pork and beef mince, best dunked into sour cream before eating – just like the Russians do.

stir fried tofu and vegetables at Berezka Restaurant, Russian Club, Strathfield
Stir-fried tofu, zucchini, red capsicum and carrots $9

The crowd may be predominantly Russian but they all want Chinese food, says the chef. A plate of stir-fried tofu, zucchini, red capsicum and carrots ($9) wouldn’t look out of place at your local Chinese, even if it is a little on the oily side.

honey cake at Berezka Restaurant, Russian Club, Strathfield
Honey cake $3.50

Not everything is available on the menu, but you should be well looked after by staff who’ll feed you with whatever they have in the kitchen. Finish with a cup of tea and a slice of honey cake ($3.50) filled with cream.


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Berezka Restaurant on Urbanspoon

The Russian Club Berezka Restaurant
7 Albert Road, Strathfield, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9746 8364

Opening hours:
Lunch Wednesday to Saturday 12pm-2pm, Sunday 12pm-4pm
Dinner Wednesday to Saturday 6pm-9pm, 


This article appeared in the September 2012 issue of Time Out Sydney in my monthly Food & Drink column Eat This! [Read online

More Time Out Sydney reviews:
Akash Pacific Cuisine, Liverpool (Fiji Indian cuisine) 
ATL Marantha, Kensington (Indonesian fried chicken with edible bones)
Balkan Oven, Rockdale (Macedonian burek)
Bamiyan, Five Dock (Afghani cuisine)
Battambang, Cabramatta (Deep fried pork intestines)
Beschico, Epping (Korean fried chicken)
Cyprus Community Club Aphrodite Restaurant (Roast baby goat) 
Dos Senoritas, Gladesville (Mexican street-style tacos) 
Durban Dish, Baulkham Hills (South African cuisine)
Everest Kitchen, Marrickville (Nepali cuisine)
Good Kitchen, Hurstville (Hong Kong cafe)
Hai Au Lang Nuong, Canley Vale (Vietnamese banana leaf charcoal chicken)
Hijazi's Falafel, Arncliffe (Lebanese breakfast)

Island Dreams Cafe, Lakemba (Christmas Islands cuisine)
Kambozza, Parramatta (Burmese cuisine)
La Paula, Fairfield (Chilean empanadas, lomitos and sweets)
Mario Tokyo Pizza, Strathfield (Bulgogi Korean pizza)
Misky Cravings, Fairfield (Peruvian cuisine)
Olka Polka Bakery & Deli, Campbelltown (Polish cheesecake and rye bread)
Rhinedorf German Restaurant, Beverly Hills (German pork knuckle)
Sea Sweet, Parramatta (Lebanese sweet kashta cheese burger)

Sizzling Fillo, Lidcombe (Filipino pork hock crackling)
Taipei Chef, Artarmon (Taiwanese smoked chicken)
Tehran, Granville (Persian cuisine)
Tuong Lai, Cabramatta (Vietnamese sugar cane prawns)
Via Napoli, Lane Cove (One metre woodfired pizza)

19 comments - Add some comment love

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posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 9/24/2012 12:49:00 am


19 Comments:

  • At 9/24/2012 7:49 am, Anonymous Lizzie - Strayed from the Table said…

    mmm dumplings.I like the idea of dunking the Piroshki in to sour cream - its a little bizarre.
    Love the opening line, you got me drooling straight off.

     
  • At 9/24/2012 9:16 am, Anonymous Tina@foodboozeshoes said…

    Love dumplings, in any language!

     
  • At 9/24/2012 11:13 am, Anonymous Simon @ the heart of food said…

    Haven't had much in the way of Russian food but considering the convenient location and $2 piroshki, I'm going to have to check it out at some stage :)

     
  • At 9/24/2012 11:30 am, Anonymous Christine @ Cooking Crusade said…

    Never tried Russian food before but those savoury doughnuts look incredibly good and those prices are such a bargain! lol @ the random Chinese stir fry hehe

     
  • At 9/24/2012 12:19 pm, Blogger vegeTARAian said…

    I've never tried Russian cuisine, this could be my perfect excuse!

     
  • At 9/24/2012 12:41 pm, Blogger Missy Piggy said…

    My Hungarian mother used to make Cabbage Rolls when I was a kid - I HATED them...I thought I'd grow into them as an adult, but sadly nope. Honey cake on the other hand...

     
  • At 9/24/2012 1:59 pm, Anonymous Eha said…

    The cabbage rolls and pelmeni fine: but that is NOT how I like my piroshki [or pirukad in Estonian!]: should be more triangular and serrated at the edges for looks, have a lot more colour and heaps more filling much more finely processed :) ! OK: these were probably the first solid food I had and fell in love with [hate to tell you when!!!!] and, oh boy, they are soul food :D ! [By the bye, all of NE Europe regards these as such!].

     
  • At 9/24/2012 2:39 pm, Anonymous mr_shawn@streetfood said…

    Thanks for your fine recon, we've always wondered about this joint but never ventured in, now it's on our list.

     
  • At 9/24/2012 7:14 pm, Anonymous ChopinandMysaucepan said…

    Dear Helen,

    This Russian food does not seem to look as glamorous as Russian women though.

     
  • At 9/24/2012 11:46 pm, Anonymous Vivian - vxdollface said…

    You always seem to find such interesting restaurants to dine at! I love russian honey cake, been a while since I've had it. In primary school my next door neighbour was this old russian lady and I would go over to her place almost everyday and she would always have the most delightful array of russian cakes and biscuits! She taught me how to play chess - real strict but the treats made it worthwhile ^^ The honey cake was my favourite :)

     
  • At 9/25/2012 10:11 am, Anonymous Nic@diningwithastud said…

    Oh I adore cabbage rolls. I order them whenever they're on the menu. These are the real deal!

     
  • At 9/26/2012 1:28 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Christine - The Chinese stir fry really threw me off, but wow, the piroshki were awesome.

    Hi Miss Piggy - Homemade cabbage rolls! Lucky you! I find them deliciously tasty, just like honey cake :)

    Hi Eha - Ahh perhaps one day I'll get to Estonia and try the real pirukad!

    Hi Shawn - Love exploring the community clubs of Sydney - I really hope they manage to continue, as many seem to be struggling with changing suburban demographics.

    Hi Vivian - Naww that's so cute about your childhood visits to your neighbour. So does that mean you're a chess master?

    Hi Nic - I agree, these were deliciously tasty!

     
  • At 9/26/2012 5:10 pm, Blogger thanhalang said…

    I have driven past this place.. I thought you had to be a member.

    Looks so tasty!

     
  • At 9/30/2012 7:41 pm, OpenID ragingcravings.com said…

    The stuffed cabbage looks great! Had Polish ones before and believe these are similar. Comforting and hearty.

     
  • At 10/01/2012 12:53 pm, Blogger Food is our religion said…

    I've always driven by this place in Stratty quite a few times and was always curious to see what it is like. I was sold at the fried doughnuts

     
  • At 10/01/2012 4:07 pm, Anonymous daniela @ foodrecipeshq said…

    Pretty similar to what I ate in Warsaw. Love your pics!

     
  • At 10/01/2012 11:41 pm, Anonymous Flick Yourfood said…

    At last the fanned napkins goes with the rest of the decor! I cant wait to try the piroshki.

     
  • At 10/05/2012 10:41 am, Blogger Sarah said…

    Oh those dumplings and piroshki look so good! I'd be happy with just a whole plate of those for dinner.

    Incidentally, I always find it interesting seeing similarities between Chinese and Russian cooking - those look like Chinese dumplings and bao zi! Hehe :)

     
  • At 10/17/2012 4:10 pm, Anonymous Wicked Foods said…

    Yummm!! We're craving those delish looking cabbage rolls and dumplings!

    Sarah - you're right,there's an interesting similarity between Chinese and Russian cuisine!Since both countries border each other, these recipes may have originated in towns situated along the border perhaps?

     

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