Pavlov’s Duck

401 Smith Street, Fitzroy
03 9416 4336
Breakfast, Cafe, Coffee and Tea, Sri Lankan


  • Lankan Frenchy
  • Crab Kottu
  • Traditional Hopper with Curry Chicken
  • Cacao Milkshake
  • 70% Dark Chocolate

The Good

We started off with the Cacao Milkshake and the Dark Chocolate. Both made with an appropriately dark, 70% cocoa from Monsieur Truffe, the chocolate flavour was bold and decadent without being overly sweet. It was the perfect balance of sweet and bitter. With a variety of healthy fruits, seeds and spices thrown into the milkshake, it was most definitely a tasty and healthy start to the meal.

Onto the mains, we were recommended the Lankan Frenchy. Sandwiched between an exceptionally flakey and buttery croissant, we found a rather unique Asian tabouleh. Made with fresh chopped parsley and a tangy yet refreshing dressing, the salad provided a refreshing twist and was perfectly juxtaposed by the creamy and very runny poached egg. Served alongside the croissant was a curried, chilli potato hash that exhibited an exceptional kick in spice and heat. With great depth in flavour, the potatoes were fried to just the right crispness on the outer and enclosed a soft fluffy inner. This was topped with a perfectly round, fried Makerel and Potato Fritter and had a strong fish, though not fishy aroma that perfectly accompanied the curried potatoes.

The highlight of our meal was most definitely the Kottu. Akin to a Pad Thai, the chopped roti was finely diced, mixed and fried with an abundance of vegetables, egg and a generous amount of spices. At just the right softness, the texture of the roti was simply amazing and was akin to eating a chewy, and slightly buttery noodle. This was juxtaposed by the papadums, which were the perfect crunch element. Cooked alongside a huge crab leg, a strong crab flavour permeated throughout the seafood dish and made for a very aromatic and fragrant sensation. The crab very fresh and cooked to perfection, so juicy and inheriting some flavours from the spices used in the rest of the dish.

We concluded our meal with the Traditional Hopper. Pavlov’s Duck provides a few different renditions on this Sri Lankan staple breakfast dish. The thin, crepe-like hopper transitions from the crispy flakey edge to a light yet spongey middle. Within the cute hopper bowl, we found a variety of toppings including a flavoursome lentil dahl, coconut sambol and the absolutely delicious caramelised chilli onion. All this provided the perfect combination of sweet, savoury and spice, very well balanced and delicious in and of itself. We rolled up the hopper and dipped it into the super spicy chicken curry, which was thick, loaded with spices and complex in flavours. For anyone who enjoys a spicy sensation, this is THE dish to get.

The Mediocre


The Bad


The Verdict

With a rather unassuming name, Pavlov’s Duck provides Melbourne with a trendy and modern take on traditional Sri Lankan cuisine. Even the more common breakfast menu items have a spicy Sri Lankan twist thrown in.
Carefully balanced flavours and textures were a common theme amongst the meals we sampled, which made for an incredibly enjoyable and unique sensory experience that’s bound to excite the tastebuds.

Would Penguin Eat Again?

Most definitely. Interesting and well-executed ethnic food always hits the spot for me, and with Hawker Dinners running on the weeknights, I will definitely be back for more chopped roti for sure.
We would like to thank owner Noah for inviting us to sample the food at Pavlov’s Duck.

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