01 September, 2008

La Paloma

259 Albert Street, Brunswick; 9380 8520

It's tiny. A modest four tables inside and two outside. A few stools offer up-close vantage points to watch the vinyl spin or the milk steam. Mottled blue walls flout various images of the eponymous bird; sharp black and white tiles contrast against raw wood frames. It all adds up to a cosy place to be, especially when sitting back with a damn fine, single-bean coffee.

As for food, La Paloma is happy doing its own thing. During the week the cafe sticks with lunches - filled sandwiches, soups - from noon. In the AM, the role of satisfying the breakfast munchies falls to a tray of irresistibly alluring Spanish doughnuts lying in wait on the counter.Like the very-in churros, these doughnuts are of the long and ridged, rather than round, variety. Instead of dipping them in a chocolate sauce, however, they have been loaded with a squirt of caramel. Like Julio's filled doughnuts, they need to be consumed as soon as possible after they're made, so it's just as well there are no other menu items distracting the punters from downing these fresh, crisp-on-the-outside, chewy-on-the-inside, sweet morsels (and at $2 a pop, don't stop at one).

On weekends, breakfast options include shashuka, a tomatoey, Middle Eastern breakfast stew with onion, capsicum, coriander, egg and toast. Given the cafe's diminutive size, weekend diners would be well advised to have a second choice in mind. In this part of Brunswick, however, picking a second choice (Green, Cafe 3A, Ray, Small Block, Gingerlee) could be as hard as stopping at one doughnut.

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