Sometimes you want just to eat a piece of schnitzel as big as your face. Or an enormous amount of fried cheese. Lucky for you, my cheese and enormous schnitzel-eating friends, Melbourne’s only Czech-Slovic restaurant Kolibar (Johnstone St, Collingwood) caters for both. We went for Mase’s birthday and specifically, to eat bread dumplings. Not hugely summer fare but the Birth-dee called it. It was a pretty authentic experience. Authenticity measured as follows:
1. Multi-lingual menu – English, Czech and Slovic.
2. Tables and chairs in the bar area are made from wooden beer kegs, which I love. Confirms (potentially misguided) impression the Czech/Slovic peoples have struggled to afford furniture but are able to afford large quantities of beer.
3. Czech beer, sold in 0.3L, 0.5L and 1L steins.
4. Service is a delightful blend of honest and surly, which is simultaneously refreshing and makes you wonder if and how you have mortally offended.
Me: This doesn’t appear to my meal. It is the same at that person’s meal, yet we didn’t order the same thing.
Waitress: No, no. These are different. Show me what you ordered.
Me: *indicates meal on menu*
W: Yes, that is what you have. We give you chips. For no extra. You pay no extra for that.
Me: Ok. It doesn’t really look like fish though. Looks like… pork.
Mase: Are the ‘side dumplings’ bread dumplings? Or normal dumplings?
W: All the dumplings are the same. There is no bread dumplings.
M: Oh, ok. Because some things say ‘bread dumplings’ and some say ‘dumpling’.
W: *shrugs*. There is one type of dumpling.
Stan made the mistake of attempting some light hearted banter:
S: But we came from NSW. We came all the way from NSW for the bread dumplings.
S: It seems like you don’t care. You don’t really care, do you?
Actually, there was a lot of shrugging. And then, funnily enough, a lot of bread dumplings, so perhaps was even stevens.
I give 3.5 stars. Options for non-meat eaters really are: ‘soup’ and ‘fried cheese and chips’ (2 varieties), suggesting vegetarian dishes are not the cornerstone of the Czech/Slovac cuisine. Reviews suggesting large serving sizes are not exaggerated.