Fitzroy café Pavlov’s Duck is a wonderfully surprising fusion of French and Sri Lankan cuisine.
While on paper that may sound strange – it works so well that it makes you wonder why we don’t have more of it in Melbourne, given our rich culinary scene and high Sri Lankan population.
Owner, Noah Ratnayake certainly saw the gap in the market and has taken advantage of it.
“Sri Lankan cuisine seems to be very uncommon in Melbourne,” laments Ratnayake.
“Despite having a few Sri Lankan restaurants there were no brunch cafes in Melbourne. And I always wanted to have cafe which serves the unusual, so Pavlov’s Duck was born.”
There are currently five chefs and a few cooks working in Ratnayake’s kitchen, some of Sri Lankan heritage and others not. The head chef Amit has being a chef over 10 years in Melbourne, so is very familiar with modern contemporary Australian cooking.
At night for the Sri Lankan hawker food menu and most other Sri Lankan components on the menu, another chef Bobby takes the reigns. He has over 20 years’ experience in Sri Lankan cuisine.
Pavolv’s use coffee from Padre, their house blend being Daddy’s Girl. For single origins and filter coffees they rotate beans, with the head barista collaborating with Padre to ensure they are getting the best seasonal beans.
Tea is from Larssen & Thompson, Chai from Prana Chai and Chocolate is from Monssiure Truff – all local speciality suppliers.
Ratnayake explains that most meals are created with input from Amit, Bobby and him.
“We love to experiment! Some dishes are born by mistake or at least part of it. After we work out the flavours and textures then we all collaborate to do plating as well.
“When choosing ingredients, staying local is very important to us. Most of our produce come from what is in season, but there are certain items we can’t source locally, especially some Sri Lankan items. We buy them from a local Sri Lankan supplier to help support our local community,” says Ratnayake.
On weekends when they are served, the hoppers are always popular, and from the brunch menu the Lankan French Pol Roti are a hit!
So head down for a unique brunch experience or book in for an authentic Sri Lankan dinner – you will not regret it!