I have a thing for central European food. Places I’ve enjoyed visiting in Melbourne have included the North Fitzroy Hungarian fete, Koliba (Collingwood, before it lost quality and was renamed Heart of Europe), Borscht Vodka and Tears (Windsor), Hearty Hungarian (St Kilda) and the sadly closed Mutti’s (Carlton) and Court Jester (Brunswick).
Now there’s Eastern Bloc on Bell St in Coburg. I arrived with a friend about 11.15am on a Saturday for brunch, hoping we could try some of the food we’d heard about. Unfortunately we were only given the breakfast menu and its contents seemed rather generic, with the only interesting item being Mexican. We asked when the breakfast menu ended and the lunch menu started, as we guessed that the more interesting food was there, and learned there was no distinction and everything was available all day.
So we asked for the lunch menu and were more enthused by what was on offer there. We ordered (from the top down) to share: reuben sandwich with potato salad), croquettes, pierogi and pork bites (tender pieces of meat crumbed).
I say give in to the winter craving for heavy food. It was good, including the coffee, but not perfect. The reuben was over toasted and the pierogi were not sufficiently hot, bit overall we were satisfied. The lack of initiative in explaining that food from both menus was available was an oversight.
The interior is almost too spacious – they could fit another table or two in there without it being crowded. There’s almost more seating outside than inside. Eastern Bloc is worth a try.