avlov’s Duck was an accidental discovery from a walk on Smith St, leading us to the reinvigorated menu inspired by the flavours of Sri Lankan cuisine. At first glance, apart from a few menu items, it looked like any ol’ brunch cafe menu, but you’d be surprised to find some Sri Lankan influence in something as simple as a croissant.Sri Lankan food is a rich melting pot of cuisines – with influences from its colonial heritage to the aromatic spices and herbs that we’ve all come to love. Vibrant murals of Victorian buildings, along with scatterings of wooden ducks, made us want to settle down with a Beatrix Potter book in hand.
Pumpkin & Chia Seed Pancakes w/ Spinach, Lentil, Coconut Sambol, Chorizo, Pickled Chilli
Pavlov’s pumpkin and chia seed pancakes are unbelievably sweet, with pumpkin being the predominant flavour. The orange mounds are topped with coconut sambol (Sri Lankan dessicated coconut mixed with spices), pickled chilli, spinach and a rather salty piece of chorizo. Eaten together, the dish is wonderfully balanced.
Fish & Potato Fritters w/ Avocado Aioli, Coconut, Lemon, Fresh Herbs, Poached Egg
This is one of the best brunch dishes we’ve had this year. It’s a big call, but we adored these fish and potato fritters. Beautifully plated with an elevated papadum and three spherical balls of fish and potato fritters, its appearance is certainly gourmet. Sitting upon a bed of coconut, fresh herbs and an avocado aioli – the resulting mixture added a hint of spice that made this dish beyond delicious.
Prawn Omelette Hopper
On weekends and public holidays, a seemingly ‘aged’ food cart serves hoppers fresh to order. These bowl-shaped Sri Lankan pancakes – traditionally eaten for breakfast is adapted for the brunch scene. Served in a woven basket with banana leaves, our prawn omelette hopper reminded us of Vietnamese banh xeo. Fragrant and light, a tad more seasoning would’ve elevated the dish to tastier levels.
Super Smoothie of the Week
For the paleo nerds and organic devotees, never fear, the menu is also slanted towards your guilt free needs. A range of super smoothies changes weekly and sweet treats come in the form of raw, organic, vegan, dairy free etc.
The name Pavlov reminds us of University psychology days, discussing classical conditioning with Ivan’s unfortunate drooling dog. We can confidently say, that merely looking at the picture of those spherical balls of perfection – aka the potato and fish fritters, has conditioned us to salivate extensively. If you ever find yourself meandering between those Messina queues, the sport outlets or just looking for a bite to eat, visit Pavlov’s Duck on Smith Street for a spot of Sri Lankan inspired brunch. One of the best new openings this year.