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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cafe Polonez :: Central European Blitz #2

Polish Food!
Despite the fact that I went to a high school with a sizable Polish population, I've never tried their cuisine. While hanging out with an old Polish friend, I mentioned that I never bothered trying pierogies.
"It's because I hate cheese" - Me
" you know what pierogies are? Foodie fail." - M
" where is a good Polish restaurant?" - Me
"...I dunno." - M
"Polish fail." - Me

Hm. So a bit of research led me to Roncesvalles' Cafe Polonez on a chilly Friday night to try it for the first time. The day after I went to Prague Deli, no less!

Cafe Polonez
Verdict: Go for homey, comforting food
Meal: Dinner
Price: ~$15

This was a discovery in more ways than schnitzel, cabbage rolls, and other appetite-pleasing treats. Roncesvalles is full of little bakeries and shops that I am planning to explore! We popped in and took a seat; so glad to be out of the cold.

Firstly - the menu is huge. It was a bit dizzying, but with some helpful guidance from the server we made some choices.

The boys opted for European beers whereas I started off with something sweet...
Fruit Kompot
Very sweet - this was made with pears in a sugary, almost syrupy, juice This was made with pears - probably stewed with sugar as it was very sweet. 

Red Beet Root Soup with Dumplings

We chose borscht soup with mushroom dumplings. You can also get beef, but I love the taste of mushrooms...The dumpling skins were fresh & tender while the mushroom filling was flavourful and filling. I have never had borscht like this - I'm used to a thicker, sometimes creamy version with chunks of beets and onion. It might not look it, but it was full of flavour. Yum, beets + dumplings - how could this go awry? I prefer this over Prague's rendition but a they are completely different beasts, er borschts, it's not really a direct comparison.

We settled on a combination platter that included a variety of vegetables (coleslaw, red cabbage, and carrots), cabbage rolls, schnitzel, and pierogies:

Cabbage Rolls

Rice and beef wrapped in a cabbage leaf. Topped with tomato sauce, these were the tastiest cabbage rolls that I've tried so far. They were nicely filled, firm enough to easily slice unlike the soggy messes that tried at other restaurants. We all really enjoyed this.

Hunter's Platter
Hungarian Style Potato Pancake with Goulash
Large potato pancake served with chicken goulash. Oh my goulash. The pancake was crispy and the goulash was rich and stew-y. Really warming on a cold night and wonderfully filling. This is the definition of comfort food.


Pierogis were stuffed with shredded pork and sauerkraut encased in fresh and chewy dough. The arrived with a little cup of something tasty - tasted like mixture of...bacon and onion? Let's just say it was salty goodness.

Schnitzel topped with fried mushrooms

The schnitzel was quite good - crispy and not oily. I've become pretty picky with deep-fried foods (with good reason, I say!) and I find it hard to enjoy when things arrive not-fresh, cooked at a too-low temperature, or with old oil. This was none of these things and it was topped with mushrooms - so win! It was moist on the inside and flavourful - good sign of seasoning and deep frying

Last - but certainly not least - this was just at warming and filling as the goulash above. Mmmm...I need to bust out my slow cooker and start making goulash and other gravy-ish stews.

Cafe Polonez is wonderfully comforting and warming - perfect for chilly nights where all you want to do is curl up with big wooly socks, oversized sweaters, and maybe even wrap a big heavy, blanket around yourself.

Cafe Polonez
Verdict: Go for homey, comforting food
Meal: Dinner
Price: ~$15

When you think of frosty cold nights, do any comfort foods come to mind?

Ever since I moved out, I've missed out on one of my favourite childhood joys: A big fat fire in our fireplace. My dad actually roasted chestnuts (but not on an open fire), which was tasty, but our usual winter-treat was corn. Lots and lots of corn. I grew up very close to an excellent corn farm and we would buy bushels of corn and shuck 'em and freeze 'em. Our deep freezer was more comical than I realized at the time - rows upon rows of corn! The simple pleasures.

Now I live downtown, away from that farm and I eagerly wait for fresh corn every year from Sick Kid's Farmer's Market . I wait for the freshly picked cobs, only buy a few at a time as the sugar degrades very quickly, and I roast them in my oven or, if I'm lucky, a bbq.
Café Polonez on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

it's actually Roncesvalles, not Roncesville. and it's definitely a neighbourhood worth exploring. great review!

Erin said...

eek! Thanks for the correction >n_n<

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