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Food

Chez Boris, the alternative doughnut

Posted by Gabby / July 12, 2012

Chez BorisMidnight Poutine guest contributor Jessica Wei is ready to set out and find the best, the tastiest and the crunchiest of the city's food scene. First up on the docket is Chez Boris, a Russian doughnut shop that opened about three weeks ago on Park avenue.

Don't worry, I didn't know what Russian donuts were, either.

I had heard whispers of this new culinary delight around town, once from a buddy's roommate who'd heard about it from a coworker, and again from a hip Mile End chick who had passed by this three-week young eatery and snatched a sample. Does Russia have its own Dunkin' Donuts scene going on? Are they better than the frozen molds of dough at Tim Hortons?

(Answer: yes).

And, of course, when I stepped off the 80 bus, saw the blank white sign, and found myself under the glow of overhanging milk jug lighting fixtures, the questions kept coming. Still as I sat down at one of their mismatched communal-style tables and peered at the trilingual blackboard menus, more questions eluded me. For example: what is "Kvas"? And "café sovietique", what's that about?

I can't imagine how many times they get that question, those guys - Durr... Russian donuts? - so when I asked Boris Volfson, the friendly young proprietor and namesake of this curious Outremont café, he didn't miss a beat.

Chez Boris doughnut

They're like normal donuts, he explained, only smaller, yeast-based, and lighter both in texture and sweetness. In Russia, the donuts are typically machine-turned and served to order, topped off with a dusting of powdered sugar, but Chez Boris, they're handmade batch by batch throughout the day and come in a variety of flavours and styles. The basic donut comes in cinnamon, strawberry, and the traditional powdered sugar for the delectable price of $0.60 each, but if you're feeling adventurous, just ask Boris about his latest experiment.

Chez Boris savoury doughnuts

Boris, in a backwards baseball cap with flour dotting his nose, will tell you about his Pork Belly donut, a parade of textures in the form of pork belly, hoisin sauce, cucumber and green onion, all perched high atop a golden unpowdered donut - an homage, apparently, to Momofuku in New York. Or his home-cured salmon donut, accompanied by sour cream, capers, and dill so fresh you can almost taste the soil at the tip of your tongue. They procure the salmon at a market down the street, the dill from a friend's garden, the pork belly from Chinatown, and they try to source as many of his ingredients as possible as locally as possible ("But the capers are probably from P&A or something," he adds).

This Xzibit level of donut-pimping is decidedly not a traditional Russian practice. This is all just a very inspired St. Petersburg native who left his IT job behind to help to bring the donut scene to life in this city with his business partner, Grant Rummel.

Chez Boris

So, the Kvas. Kvas is refreshing. Kvass is a healthy hit of fruity effervescence right where you need it on a Montreal-sweltering day. In more concrete terms, Kvas is a drink derived from fermented rye bread, flavoured with apple (but it changes every day as these boys dream of more fruits - traditionally, it's made with raisins). Some people liken it to Kombucha, but without the vinegary taste and hippy associations.

Other beverages include tea from Montreal's own Pure Tea and coffee from BC-based 49th Parallel.

And the rest? Still wondering about that café sovietique? Go see Boris. He'll be the guy in the apron behind the counter waving at you with floury hands.

Chez Boris
5151 Ave. du Parc
514-900-1965
Mon: 8:00 am-6:00 pm
Wed - Fri: 8:00 am-6:00 pm
Sat - Sun: 10:00 am-8:00 pm

Discussion

13 Comments

Glutton / July 29, 2012 at 07:55 pm
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Sixty cents a donut? Boris, you could go to Toronto and charge FOUR TIMES that.
Natasha / September 5, 2012 at 10:01 am
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EXCITED!!! LOVE RYSKIE PONCHIKI!!! :))) spreading the word! too bad they are open only till 6
Carmen / September 25, 2012 at 10:24 pm
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Hello i am kavin, its my first time to commenting anywhere, when i read
this article i thought i could also make comment due to this sensible paragraph.
Boris / September 27, 2012 at 05:12 pm
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@Natasha: We are now open till 8 pm.
@Glutton: We now charge 75 cents a doughnut (taxes included) ;).
@Midnigntpoutine: You rock.

-B
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