Pastry Art Design, at 280 Smith St, next to Gluttony, is a strange old bakery I’ve never quite been able to categorise. It has a two for one loaf deal on Saturdays and Sundays, so I picked up a white sourdough cobb and a fruit loaf for $3.50. They do very good pastries, good cold pizza squares and focaccias, as well as bread which is good without ever being outstanding. Certainly, it is a cut above Baker’s Delight. But the exception to this goodness was an inviting but dreadful loaf of olive bread: the olives were those tasteless unripe green olives dyed black by being soaked in lye and pumped with oxygen (a revelation to be found in Stephanie’s Cook’s Companion) found on poor quality pizzas. As indication of how olivy it wasn’t, consider that I took a piece of the stuff and ate it happily with lemon buter on top. I think there are too many laws already, but there should nevertheless be a law against such fraud.
The Age has helpfully identified “10 of the best” — I like the modesty of these words in a best of list — inventive cheap eats. Southern Richmond’s Pearl gets an honourable mention for $16 eggs on toast (keep it real, Cheap Eats), but I have to admit it’s one of the best restaurants I’ve ever been to, and you can go there for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a drink. Then the Builder’s Arms on Gertrude Street Fitzroy comes in at number 3 for a $14 “3 mint pea soup with smoked paprika butter with steamed prawns” which sounds rather good. And Replete just down from MLC in Hawthorn, but metres away from being Kew, gets another gong at #6 for $12.50 ricotta hotcakes with lemon curd and strawberries. Thanks to Flickr’s Spin Spin for the photo of an uncommonly unpopulated image of the Builder’s Arms.
It was time for a mop chop at Dr Follicle’s again this week (actually it was well and truly time last week, but it just didn’t happen) and on the way I popped my head into Roundhouse Roti (don’t you think it’s amazing that no Melbourne Malaysian restaurant has called itself Koala Lumpur yet?), finally open, Rose Chong’s gift to her son of part of her emporium turned into an innovative eatery, a place that specialises in roti channai, a Malaysian specialty of really good roti and chicken curry, where you break the roti into pieces and into the curry and eat the combination. A girl was swinging around from the stove when I explained that “I’ve just popped in to check you out”. I realised at the same moment, as she swung into view, that she was a gorgeous vamp with beautifully defined eyebrows, and a nanosecond later that she was almost certainly Rose’s daughter in law (or daughter outlaw, depending on the marital status of the union which produced the child harnessed to her bosom). I quickly added in the direction of he whom I deduced to be Rose’s son “Well, not you personally”. I immediately liked the place. I want to go there now and eat roti channai, but it’s closed. Can’t tell you any more than that, but when you go, please leave a comment for all our benefit. Lee, son of Rose, is going to add roti pisang to the small little menu just as soon as banana comes down in price. That will be the day, ooff yeah. Maybe, in time, we will see durian cendol added as the ultimate in authenticity, and God! give me some nasi lemak.