tonka sign-HEROMelbourne’s laneways are hardly scary back alleys but the bright lights of Flinders Lane don’t quite reach the elbow corner of Duckboard Place where Tonka Restaurant is hiding.

After taking a punt and striding down the bare lane, you’ll find one lonely hole-in-the-wall in the shell of what was once Honky Tonks. Follow the exposed concrete right up to Tonka’s bar tables, where the open kitchen is a beacon of light in the mood-lit restaurant.

Tonka is the younger sibling to Coda, and the team has clearly put a lot of time and energy into capturing the same culinary kudos Codas has built up. Adam D’Sylva and Mykal and Kate Bartholomew seem to have found the magic formula. 

Sidle into the sommelier’s tasting table, only because it’s the last seat in the house on a Tuesday night. Overhead hangs Naomi Troski’s dramatic installation, it weaves its way across the ceiling to the tables in the back. 

Finish gawking at the art and move on to the food. Tonka’s modern Indian inspired dishes have all the theatrics of a Bollywood movie. Whole trout comes out crispy-skinned and curled up, looking ready to swim off your plate. The burrata salad is a big, beautiful bun of fresh cheese sitting on coriander salsa, an entire sack we burst open and scoop up with fresh roti.

Tandoor chicken fresh from the wood fire oven, lamb curry, sliced wagyu – dishes are designed to be shared and they’ve got some bite so balance it with a cocktail mango lassi too.

Tonka Restaurant
20 Duckboard Place Melbourne 3000
T: (03) 9650 3155
Twitter: @TONKAMelbourne 

Image Credits:

All images by Stefani Driscoll

About the author

Lisa used to use Sydney as a base to drop off souvenirs before heading off on the next adventure but these days she’s got her feet almost on the ground, with a desire to try every high tea in Sydney, and a cute cavoodle puppy at home. Travel writer, photographer and Kitchen Aid freak, she loves to eat, bake and write.


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