I’ve had Tonka on my radar for quite a while and was pretty keen to check it out with my father-in-law in town for his birthday. I initially wanted to dine at Coda, however left it a bit too late, but was still excited to check out their sister property.
ATMOSPHERE & SERVICE
If you’ve never been before, it’s a bit tricky to find down the dark graffiti filled lane, next to Pastuso. Opening its doors in 2003, this is the baby sister to popular Coda restaurant. The interior screams Melbourne, with their dark furniture, high top tables and funky lighting. The restaurant is narrow with exposed ceilings and dim lighting to create a romantic vibe.
It was a Tuesday evening, and I was quite surprised at how busy the place was. When we arrived there wasn’t a table free, which definitely created an upbeat atmosphere. The service was good, given how busy it was, however a bit on the slow side. There were ample staff working, but quite difficult to get someones attention to take our orders.
Think all your favourite Indian style dishes, with a Tonka twist to keep things interesting. Focusing on a shared style menu, most items are ordered to share with the exception of a few smaller entrees which are individually ordered. Their wine list is one of the best, with their sommelier popping over to the table to help give some recommendations.
Executive Chef Adam D’Sylva has made headlines with his exceptional dishes, who has now partnered with Mumbai born Ved Navghare to create a flawless menu.
We started with a few smaller dishes and worked our way up to the larger ones throughout the meal. The first dish out was the ‘Chicken Liver Parfait’ served with honeycomb, spiced peanuts and charred pav. I must admit, this was my first time trying liver parfait, and it was exceptionally delicious! The sweetness and crunchiness from the honeycomb brought the entire dish together.
Next was the ‘Fremantle Octopus’ served with rasam, vermicelli upma, pickled papaya. Although I am not a seafood lover, I did give it a go. It wasn’t for me, however didn’t last long on the table with everyone else loving it.
Next up were the individual items, including the ‘Mustard Chicken Tikka’ which was cooked in their Tandoor oven served with radicchio and puffed quinoa. The chicken was moist and well seasoned and paired with the slight tartness from the radicchio was delicious.
My favourite dish of the night was the ‘Tandoori Quail’ served with pickled quince, witlof and spiced yogurt. The quail was tender and juicy and grilled to perfection. The spiced yogurt and witlof salad was a nice touch, however wasn’t a fan.
Unfortunately I missed out on the larger dishes for photos as they were quickly consumed before I could snap a photo. Although all the food was tasty and delicious, I was expecting more from the food here. The service was wonderful and the wine list was top notch, but for a Hatted Restaurant, I was expected a bit more of a wow factor.