Brunswick and its surrounding suburbs are home to a large population of Australians of Middle Eastern background. These neighbourhood groceries, quaint and familiar, act as both a link to their ancestral home and a treasure trove of Middle Eastern products like date cookies, Lebanese olive oil, instant falafel, Arabic coffee and an assortment of spices, two of my favourite of which are sumac – tangy powdered berries in a vibrant maroon hue, and za’atar – a salty mix of dried oregano, thyme and sesame seeds.
A coin operated laundry on Lygon Street, Brunswick East. I think blue is a very laundry and detergent-friendly colour, because we subconsciously associate it with water and cleanliness. Could this have informed the proprietor’s choice of decor?
If the prospect of sweet and yeasty things makes you happy, Sugardough is worth a visit. Popular with the locals looking for their weekly fix of cornetto – that’s Italian croissants, and custard bombolini – that’s Italian donuts. Why do things sound more delicious in Italian? Sugardough Panificio and Patisserie, 163 Lygon St Brunswick East
I just like how the red letters seem to remain defiant in the face of obliteration by time and neglect.
Dripping with bohemian appeal, La Paloma is famous in equal measure for its obscure location, small space and homemade churros topped with thick caramel (or dulce de leche if we’re being technical). At $2.50 and for the size, it seems a bit luxurious; I’d rather go for the churros at Queen Victoria Market, at a dollar a piece, fried on the spot and piping hot.
Go to La Paloma instead for its famed pastrami salad roll, which I have mused shamelessly about in a previous post. La Paloma cafe, 259 Albert St Brunswick