Flinders Lane houses some of my favourite restaurants in Melbourne and at the end of the graffiti lined Duckboard Place lies Tonka. Many may know Tonka as the sister restaurant of Coda, which has been serving up excellent modern Asian cuisine since its inception, however Tonka has managed to step out on its own and filled a gap in the Melbourne dining scene. Whilst Melbourne’s dining scene is filled with many established modern Asian restaurants, the inherent focus is predominantly south-east asian influenced. Tonka is therefore a refreshing gem of the dining landscape and succeeds in creating a lovely sharing style menu experience with Indian influences, flavours and local produce.
The restaurant is split into a bar and a main dining room, and after passing through the more dimly lit, casual bar section and the open kitchen you end up in an elegant, light-filled dining room.
The extensive menu consists of a choice between many smaller (including tapas) and larger plates. This is complemented by an excellent cocktail menu, which includes some twists on a few classics and various house specials. I highly recommend the Smoked Trout Betal Leaf which is a perfect starter to a night and the moorish Lamb Curry served with a side of Raita. With so many dishes to choose from, there’s easily something to suit anyone.
I dined at Tonka at a recent Friday night and although we did not have a reservation, we turned up to the restaurant just after 6pm and was directed to a fantastic corner table in the dining room with a great view of the restaurant. Whilst we had to vacate the table by 8pm due to another booking, the service was pleasant and I did not feel rushed at all, so all in all it ended up being a lovely experience.
‘Pink Lady’ – American apple brandy, gin, citrus and grenadine
Smoked trout betel leaf with coconut, chilli, pomelo and kaffir lime – If you manage to eat this in one bite, you’ll experience a delicious explosion of flavours and textures. Zesty with just a kick of chilli and balanced out by the nuttiness of the coconut.
Tandoori quail, blistered grapes and daikon
Spanner crab salad with puffed rice, green papaya, peanuts, coriander and green chilli
Avani’s lamb curry with roasted coconut, black cardamom and white poppy seeds – Rich, fragrant and incredibly tender, the lamb curry is served with a side of tangy raita (yoghurt) and pomegranate seeds. Absolutely delicious.
Roti – I love the presentation of this. The roti ticks all the boxes, crispy, flaky and soft – a must order!
20 Duckboard Pl
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9650 3155