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.
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 $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.
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 $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 $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, 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 $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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The Russian Club Berezka Restaurant
7 Albert Road, Strathfield, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 9746 8364
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]
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9/24/2012 12:49:00 a.m.