shortly before heading overseas, i was invited to a tasting night at pavlov’s duck on smith st in collingwood. the sri-lankan influenced cafe already has an established brunch and lunch reputation – the urban list even rates their fish + potato fritters as one of the best for melbourne breakfast. following a huge makeover and change in management in 2015, the cafe has excitingly branched out into a licensed dinner venue with a flavourful and experiential sri-lankan feast on offer! pavlov’s duck also proudly use local suppliers including daylesford + hepburn mineral springs co, larsen and thompson, natural tucker bakery, noisette bakery, padre coffee + prana chai.
so with the hot plates cranking at the front door, the roti rolling and the sri-lankan beers flowing – we settled in for a share-plate style selection of their dinner preview which included:
thosai and vada. a fermented crepe + spicy donut made from ulundu flour, served with bottomless sambar curry and green sambol. green sambol is a relish made from green chilies, curry leaves, grated coconut + lime juice; and i could seriously eat nothing but sambol + roti quite happily until the cows come home!
string hoppers. rice flour pressed into noodle form and then steamed, served with kiri hodi and pol mallung. kiri hodi is a turmeric + coconut curry and this dish was not only packed full of flavor, but also extremely aromatic too!
godhamba roti served with dhal and chicken curry. dhal is a thick lentil curry synonymous in the western-asian nations india, nepal, pakistan, sri lanka and bangladesh. this staple is often eaten with rice, roti or chapatti, and contains high amounts of protein (3.5 times that of rice and 2.5 times that of wheat) particularly, making it an excellent food source for vegetarians. (source: wikipedia)
kottu. chopped roti, vegetables and spices with eggs. served as vegetarian or with chicken or crab. the chopping of the roti is almost a musical event – with a steady rhythm + beating that is said to be passed down the generations, each one unique to each family line.
hoppers. bowl-shaped crepe/pancakes, native to sri lanka and made from fermented rice flour and coconut milk. served with seeni sambal and dhal or butter and sugar. the butter and sugar is amazing!!!
curd and treacle. greek yoghurt served with a ‘kithul’ treacle (essentially a thick maple syrup). a light + not-overpowering way to finish our evening of exceptional flavour!
the love of sri-lankan food, culture, and friendship really shines through at pavlov’s duck, with thoughtful consideration going into making the menu fun and enjoyable. not to mention delicious! and the ban on ‘knives and forks’ will certainly get your table talking + laughing in no time! staff were outgoing + easily helped explain the menu and what we were eating along the way!
if you’re relatively unfamiliar with sri lankan food, i highly recommend this as a first stop… you will leave not only with a full belly and smiling; but you’ll also leave knowing a bit more about sri lankan culture and food!
verdict: i’m keeping this one on my list for a brunch when i’m back in melbourne!
(note: inlovewithbrunch dined as a guest of pavlovs duck, however all remarks and reviews are honest and genuine)