Sometimes it pays to do things backwards. Do you ever go to a restaurant and look at what is for dessert first? And then, plan what you are going to eat around that? Phew. Glad I am not alone. If you're one of 'those' people, head on down to After the Tears in Elsternwick. If you do start crying, it will be from sheer enjoyment.
After the Tears is a sister restaurant to the iconic Borsch, Vodka & Tears on Chapel Street in Windsor. This little bar is wall-to-wall vodka heaven with a small polish snacks menu to share. Be sure to leave the car at home, because it is super hard to stop at one drink.
The Elsternwick version is much larger in size and boasts an alfresco section with many tables for you to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine or if it's a chilly night, they'll put the heaters on for you. The menu is extensive and full of hearty Polish food, sharing plates and lots and lots of vodka. Be sure to book at it does get quite busy - even on weeknights.
On this particular occasion, my friend and I had been to the movies - the Classic Cinemas are conveniently located next door and we'd earmarked to come back (after having a cheeky glass of red before the movie) to have dessert and cocktails.
The star of the night was the Banoffee Pie. Caramelised bananas, cream, toffee and a cake like biscuit base brought this classic English dessert to life. We decided to share a piece and this proved to be a good and bad move. Good = it was sweet, luxurious and very decadent. Bad = we had to share.
We decided to sample some of the cocktails and vodka on offer. That proved to be a wise and tasty decision. The best way to debrief and pretend you are a movie critic? With a dessert cocktail of course.
Our choice was the Chocolate Martini (chocolate and vanilla vodka, chocolate liqueur, syrup and cream) and Honey on Toast (Medos Honey Vodka with cinnamon, cream and creme de cacao). Absolutely perfect and more-ish cocktails that had a great hit of sweetness and velvety creaminess.
Chasing them down with an obligatory vodka shot was no doubt in order, although mine came with a pickle - which was a savoury surprise. Backwards journey almost complete, we moved on to more substantial morsels of cabbage rolls (golabki) which were filled with minced veal & rice, roasted tomato sauce and paprika and the chicken meat balls coated in paprika tomato sauce, parmigiano reggiano and herbs.
After the Tears is traditional Polish fare served with a smile amidst a hustle and bustle environment. When they are busy, you may have to wait a bit longer. Be sure to let them know if you are heading to the movies, as this will speed things up.
Insider tip: If you're stuck, share a Zakaski, they are big Farmer style sharing plates and perfect if you want a bit of everything.