Saint-Henri is getting its first Polish restaurant in the coming weeks, as a team of four from Old Montreal restaurant L’Orignal bring Café Baba Yaga to the neighbourhood.
Unlike fine dining L’Orignal, Baba Yaga, named for a witch in Slavic folklore, will be squarely casual, café-style and open for breakfast, lunch and early evenings.
Co-owner Monika Terlecki tells Eater that the restaurant will draw on her heritage, complete with in-the-family recipes.
“It’s a tiny little place but always wanted to do something to represent my culture, I’m Polish, I took a bunch of my mom’s recipes.”
Terlecki and team have taken over the former Pizzeria Martina space on St-Jacques — the small space will seat 12, and will churn out in-house pierogies (including Russian-Ukrainian style potato cheese ones, and the Polish-style meat-mushroom and sauerkraut-mushroom filled dumplings). Terlecki says there’ll also be a surprise element to the menu.
“We’ll make some special kind of fun [pierogies]...our pierogi of the week. We won’t divulge what is inside, you take a chance and hopefully it’s something you like to eat.”
Also on offer will be chicken-noodle soup rosł, beet soup borscht, and chlodnik, the cold summer version of it. Cabbage rolls, kielbasa, and a mushroom-on-toast Polish street food will also feature. Sweets will include the doughnut-like pacżki, and charlotka, similar to an apple crumble. Baba Yaga won’t serve alcohol, but will do tea, coffee, and a few specialties like kompot, a Polish plum drink.
Montreal has a handful of staple Polish spots, like Old Montreal’s Stash, but new additions to the city’s eastern European dining scene have been rare of late — but Terlecki thinks the cuisine will go done well.
“It’s not only healthy but it’s a form of comfort food...for our weather it’s great, Poland has a similar climate.”
Many of the recipes are drawn from Terlecki’s mom, who has been consulting with Baba Yaga’s kitchen team to get their pierogi-crafting skills (and more) in order.
“She’s just teaching us some of the old school tricks.”
Expect Baba Yaga to open around the first two weeks of September.