Looking for something more exciting than basic muesli, smashed avo and breakfast burgers these days? There’s a reason why Pavlov’s Duck is fast becoming one of “Melbourne’s least boring cafes”.
You may have heard the name before because Pavlov’s Duck has been around for some time, but two years ago this ordinary café was taken over by new owners – who added the unique Sri Lankan flavour.
Take a seat and watch these talented chefs do their thing in the open kitchen corner; blending spices, swirling mixtures and creating mouth-watering delicacies right in front of your eyes.
Some items on the brunch menu may sound familiar, but each has a completely new spin. There’s a soft shell crab burger, quinoa felafels (served with a silky corn and sweet chilli puree) alongside sweet and savoury Bircher muesli. However, if you manage to get a table on the weekend or public holidays it’s hard to pass on their signature hoppers. Hoppers are a bowl-shaped crepe, native to Sri Lanka, which you tear and dip into various ingredients. The traditional hoppers are dhal, coconut sambol and chilli onion. In all honesty, this is a million times better than any baked egg dish in the area.
Other favourites include the pumpkin and chia seed pancakes, served with spinach and tied together with a delicate lentil and yoghurt salad, as well as the 'Lankan Frenchy', an organic croissant served with chilli-fried potatoes, Asian tabouli and a fish and potato fritter. The fish isn’t too overpowering so it’s perfect for brunch, and the chilli lingers just long enough so you want to keep going back.
Last but not least: the big Sri Lankan finale. Their Kottu dish is made up of chopped roti, vegetables, eggs and wonderful spices, with the option to add Mozzaralla cheese (so it literally melts in your mouth). Be cautious though, these things are too good to stop eating and more filling than they look.
For those who can’t handle too much flavour in the morning, Pavlov’s Duck are also licenced and open for dinner on Friday and Saturday.
Words by Chris Bright
Image by Sara Tansy