Friday, March 4, 2016

Palinka Bar and Kitchen, Fitzroy (by invitation) by Bureaucrat

What I loved most about Palinka Bar and Kitchen is that there's a lot of love in the air - not just from David and Zsolt (who looked after us during our meal) but also from the diners and people wandering in from the street who were lured in by the infectious energy yet laid back vibe of Palinka.  Hipsters, hippies, couples on date night, golden oldies and young families gather here for the Eastern European-inspired tapas and impressive range of European spirits and beers.  You know you're in a special place when diners and passersby start an impromptu jig in the street as a response to the music being performed by the local band.

Eastern European tapas is a great concept.  I love hearty, stodgy and comforting food - especially in winter.  However, in the warmer months, tucking into a big plate of goulash, spaetzle or pierogi that's laden with sour cream and sauerkraut isn't quite as enticing.  Palinka hits the nail in the head by making smaller sharing dishes that's perfect for nibbling on while soaking up the sun with a cold drink in hand.

Palinka, Fitzroy, East European, tapas, chicken wings
Beaker and I ordered a couple of dishes to share.  First up were these Iberian twice-cooked chicken wings which came with a Gorgonzola dip.  It had a gorgeous, crisp crumb crust and the chicken, despite being twice-cooked, was juicy and tender.

Palinka, Fitzroy, East European, tapas, Russian dumplings
While Beaker found the Verenyky (Russian potato and onion dumplings tossed in Iesco sauce) a tad bland, it was one of my favourite dishes.  The subtle potato and onion dumplings were light in texture - think of it more as a carb to accompany the other dishes.  I loved the homely nature of this dish.

Palinka, Fitzroy, East European, tapas, cauliflower croquettes
Beaker's favourite dish of the night was the cauliflower croquettes.  Made with mashed cauli, pecorino and herbs these croquettes were crispy and piping hot on the inside.

Palinka, Fitzroy, East European, tapas, shashouka
We also tried some of the specials, including shashouka, which was a bowl of spaetzle topped with capsicum, onion and tomatoes, chorizo and eggs.  This was lovely, with the runny eggs mixed through the dish.  It was almost soup-like and could do with a spoon and some bread to mop up the sauce.

Palinka, Fitzroy, East European, tapas, stuffed mushroom
Another special was the stuffed Portobello mushroom with orange, macadamia pesto and topped with haloumi.

Palinka, Fitzroy, East European, tapas, lamb ribs
One of my favourites was the slow-roasted smokey lamb ribs.  Oh my god... this was fall-off-the-bone tender, fatty and moreish!  The marinade was finger-licking good - with hints of smoke, tomato and Worcestershire sauce.  It was juicy and I love the little bits of sticky caramelised goodness.

Palinka, Fitzroy, East European, tapas, cordon bleu
Our last savoury dish was the mini cordon bleu.  Tenderised eye fillet rolled with Grandma's ham and melted mozzarella and encased in a thin, seasoned crumb crust.  Gooey, meaty and fried - yum!

Palinka, Fitzroy, East European, dessert, somloi galuska
There are two desserts on offer and we were lucky enough to be able to try them both.  The Somloi Galuska was a homemade sponge layered with walnut, Belgian cocoa and creme anglaise, topped with cream and dark chocolate sauce.  This is definitely a two to three person dessert!

Palinka, Fitzroy, East European, dessert, apple strudel
The apple strudel was unlike the strudel that we were most familiar with.  This one was almost like a hybrid between an apple pie and baklava.  The apple and walnut filling was dense and rather packed in and wasn't too sweet.  Beaker thought it also had a honey-nougat flavour going through it.  It was served warm with chilled custard.

Palinka, Fitzroy, East European, sour cherry juice
Though we were tempted, we both picked the iconic Hungarian sour cherry juice over one of the many Palinkas as our drink (Palinka is a Hungarian fruit spirit, which is made without any additives or preservatives and is drunk at room temperature straight up or mixed in a cocktail).

Palinka, Fitzroy, East European, bar, tapas
Live music and the outdoor dining space

Palinka, Fitzroy, East European, bar, tapas

Palinka, Fitzroy, East European, bar, tapas


We loved it
We loved it.


Run by a Hungarian family, Palinka is a great relaxed place to try out a range of Eastern European dishes.  The prices are fairly competitive - the dishes are either $8.50 or $12.50 - and there's also meal deals on offer.  The menu is varied and there's gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options too.

Find it at

Palinka Bar and Kitchen
356 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy Vic 3065
Telephone: 03 9041 4270

Palinka Bar & Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 


Palinka Bar said...

Thanks for coming down guys. Glad you enjoyed it and hope to see you and your friends back soon. Cheers!

EatAndBeMerryCrew said...

Hi palinka bar, we had such a great time & we can't wait to return! 😍

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