Jay Clough once thought he might pursue a career in print media. But hospitality took his interest instead, fuelling a two-decade career and a chilli-oil brand called Agri.

But Clough’s former flame was never lost and has laid the foundation for his Parkville shop, the Bureau of Provisions & Periodicals.

“It’s sort of a throwback to a vintage newsagent,” he tells Broadsheet. “We’re basically next to Melbourne Uni and a lot of my customers are students and teachers.”

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Drawing on his background, Clough stocks indie food publications like Swill from Sydney and Noble Rot from London, papers from Carlton’s Schwartz Media and locally produced zines and photobooks. Identifying a need in the area, he also stocks a small range of pantry essentials.

“It wasn’t originally the concept I wanted to go with, but when I saw the site and how sparsely populated it is in terms of convenience, that helped me come up with the idea.”

Next to the magazines you’ll find shelves stocked with the cult Quinby’s chilli honey, Mat’s Hot Shop Peachango Tango sauce, Bonne Maman jams, peanut butter and more. Take them home with a pastry and a loaf of Sourdough Kitchen bread, which Clough also uses for his sandwich range.

There are two to three that change daily, except the stalwart jambon-beurre, made with ham, cornichons and “absolute slabs” of butter: “We’re using it like an ingredient,” he says.

There’s coffee too, of course, but because Bureau is a one-man show, it’s filter only.

Bureau of Provisions & Periodicals
51 Royal Parade, Parkville

Hours:
Mon to Fri 7.30am–3pm
Sat 8am–1pm

@bureau.melb