Some of Fitzroy’s less hyped restaurants offer exceptional food and experiences and when I occasionally find my expectations exceeded I am pleased to be able to share it. I’ve previously enjoyed the Sri Lankan food at Pavlov’s Duck on Smith St in the form of their breakfast hoppers, but had long meant to try their Friday and Saturday night street food banquet.
It begins with short eats – one each of savoury lentil donut, spicy fish cutlet, veggie pan roll and chicken dumpling – with four sauces: red chilli, green chilli, tomato and sweet chilli. The latter two are obviously not ‘authentic’ but it’s all very tasty. I started with a Lion Sri Lankan lager and later had a Matso’s mango beer, which is an inspired match with spicy food.
Next comes chicken and beef curries and sambols with hoppers. Then red rice noodle cakes with turmeric and coconut curry. By this point my dining companion and I were comfortable full, but more was to come: blue swimmer crab with kottu, which is a favourite of mine.
After this I was close to exploding and when we were offered desserts as well we had to decline. We were given more delicious food than we could reasonably eat for only $35 per person. This must be one of the best value dinners in Fitzroy.
With several marge apartment building going up around the northern end of Smith St, Pavlov’s Duck may find itself in the middle of a new emerging shopping and dining precinct. Red Sparrow vegan pizza recently opened across the road, the excellent Carryology backpack shop is near there too and more is sure to come as gentrification slowly moves northwards. I wish them well and will return to enjoy more of their fantastic food.