After a drama filled morning when The Writer who was supposed to leave this city indefinitely had his flight delayed, I had just the place in mind to celebrate having him in town for another 48 hours. The Age Cheap Eats Guide 2007 claims La Paloma brings a hint of Buenos Aires to Brunswick and I'm inclined to agree. Quite frankly I'm astounded more hasn't been written about this treasure but it's not surprising as tucked away off Sydney Rd with only an old fashioned barbershop for a neighbour, it's a well kept secret with a loyal clientele.
Tod Myles, the same man that brought us Rue Bebelons' on Little Lonsdale is also the creator of what has become my favourite café. In a city renowned for its coffee culture this title did not come easily, especially given it's on the other side of town to my home and work. In the past week alone I visited the establishment three times, primarily for quality assurance purposes but also to feed my growing churros habit. While these don’t sit well with my getting-Italian-seaside-resort-ready-diet they are quite simply irresistible even to males without a sweet tooth such as The Writer. These delightful little treats generously topped with dulce de leche are made on the premises and while not as delicate as other versions around town they are somehow more comforting in a home cooked way.
Myles is always in the kitchen, which on weekdays is often the front counter. Like a friend that’s invited you over for a casual lunch he asks if you’d like something to eat and puts together one of his masterpiece sandwiches while you look on and pop the next record on the turntable. This hospitality isn’t reserved for regulars but extended from the first visit.
Myles effortlessly blends classic and exotic produce to create sandwiches that put other café fare to shame. There is no talk of paninis or focaccias or pides around here although his custom made Chimmy’s bread is easily superior to those usual suspects. Don’t expect a menu as on weekdays the only option is what looked good at the deli that day including excellent Spanish cheeses that I suspect are sourced from Casa Iberica. There is a wider variety on weekends including a few hot dishes with South American influences but the trade off is Myles is behind the scenes.
What makes La Paloma particularly likeable is the honest food at exceptional prices. Sandwiches are a mere $5 and a coffee and churros will only set you back another $4. There’s no reason not to linger and put on another record.
259 Albert St, Brunswick
Ph: 03 9380 8520