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.
Café Baba Yaga
3279 Rue Saint-Jacques, Montréal, QC H4C 1G8