27 Nov Pavlov’s Duck, Fitzroy
Venture a little further up Smith St towards the outdoor factory outlets, and you’ll come across Pavlov’s Duck. It’s a busy Sunday, and the space can be a little tight, but the café exudes cosiness and warmth.
For a taste of a more authentic Sri Lankan breakfast, hoppers make an appearance on the morning menu on weekends. You can watch the chef skillfully making these bowl shaped vessels and frying up kothu by the front window. There’s no regular omelette on the brunch menu, but on weekends you can get your hands on the prawn omelette hoppers. We try a plain hopper with dhal, coconut sambol and chilli onion, and also a prawn omelette hopper with house-made tomato relish. There seems to be a hint of coconut in the hopper batter, making each crispy bite even better. The prawn omelette is nicely seasoned and moist, and also nicely proportioned to the amount of hopper that contains it.
You can pick from a number of proteins to go with your kothu. We pick the crab. The kothu itself is full of vegetables, so feels lighter than usual, though it also has egg so is still quite a substantial meal.
Pol roti is a thicker, denser type of roti that’s filled with coconut and herbs. Pavlov’s Duck does theirs with a lovely sweet onion relish, which seems to be the same one that was in the plain hopper The pol roti is cut into duck shapes, and come in a tent-like arrangement on top of a spiced red lentil stew. A son in law egg hides within the roti structure. I personally prefer the flakier type of roti, but the pol roti is good for holding the lentils and egg while you shovel it into your mouth.
One of their signature dishes is the Lankan Frenchy. The super crunchy organic croissant from Noisette is filled with an ‘Asian tabbouli’ of coconut, chilli and parsley, and a soft boiled egg that spills its golden treasures all over the pastry. The flavoursome and crispy fish and potato fritter comes separately on the side, sitting on a stack of chilli fried potatoes and onions. Also on the plate is a smear of avocado aioli, which, though largely intended for the croissant, also tastes quite good with the potatoes.
Pavlov’s Duck runs a more traditional Sri Lankan menu for dinner on Thursday to Sunday nights, but if you’re yearning for something different for brunch, Pavlov’s Duck will give you a taste of Sri Lanka in modern brunch form. It’s certainly got the regulars conditioned to salivate when reminiscing about their meal.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Pavlov’s Duck as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
401 Smith St
Fitzroy, VIC, 3065
(03) 9416 4336