On Sunday, Pierogi Pierogi, a Melbourne purveyor of pierogi and all that is Polish, hit Ferdydurke for their "I Left My Heart in Europe" party. Coincidence has it that when I laid eyes on the poster promoting this party, I had recently unsuccessfully scoured the frozen section of my neighborhood IGA for pierogi. :( I recognized fate and vowed not to miss my chance for Eastern European dumpling goodness at Ferdy's.
The party was already raging for about three hours when we trekked up the stairs at 3:15, and it showed no signs of stopping. Ferdydurke is small, but today it was chock-a-block with people downing dumplings, soups, sausages, vodka shots and mulled beer all in the name of Poland.Charlie and I, fresh out of the Melbourne Pizza Festival, ordered just one order of five fried pierogi with varied fillings for $10. At $2 each, these may be some of the most expensive dumplings I've eaten recently, but they proved worth it.
Although delivery was a little hectic with just one server trying to make sense of tons of orders, our pierogi came out hot and fresh. They were fried to a nice golden brown and accompanied by sour cream and a fried onion and bacon relish. The skins were thick but light, and all of the fillings were really well done. We were a little upset that, despite ordering a mix of all three types -- meat, mushroom and sauerkraut and cheese and potato -- our plate didn't include any meat. When my friend Tess arrived a bit later, her mixed dish had no meat either. No mind, because both the mushroom and potato fillings were carefully and lovingly prepared, and delicious.
When Tess came, we also all shared the dish above -- a tasting plate of salatka (Russian for salad,) kabano sausages and fresh rye bread. The kabanos, served cold, were much smaller in diameter than what I've had at home, but had the same smoky taste and coarsely ground filling. The salad and bread were the real winners on this dish, though. Potatoes chopped small and mixed with peas, carrots, onions and maybe even some egg were coated in a vinegar-y dressing that made my day.
A DJ played traditional Eastern Euro melodies mixed with dancefloor beats, and an artist demonstrated a traditional craft of paper cutting. She told me she's been practicing since her brother taught her at just three years old, and although she usually only does it once a year now at the Fed Square Polish festival, it's clear that she has not lost her talent. Some of the more intricate pieces take hours to create.
I really enjoyed this event because it was cool to see a bar I go to get injected with a dose of culture for a day. The pierogi were awesome and it was so easy to see that all of the people who worked to create this event did so out of love. I Left My Heart in Europe is a monthly event and I look forward to seeing what next month brings!
Ferdydurke: 31 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne, AUS. 9639 3750