Restaurant Guide

Tonka: Restaurant review

The appeal's partly due to its hidden laneway address, ex-nightclub digs and the picture windows over plane trees and the MCG.


20 Duckboard Pl
Melbourne, Vic


Lunch Mon-Sat noon-3pm
Dinner Mon-Sat 6pm-10.30pm


E $14-$27
M $28-$43
D $22-$25

The perfect drum roll to Tonka's modern-Indian moves is a pre-dinner rum- spiked lassi or chai-flavoured punch at the Thali Bar paired with snacks – perhaps signature feather-light pani puri, or a feisty bundle of tandoor rockling, wombok and pickled onions wrapped in a lettuce leaf – and the scent of garam masala in the air. It sets the agenda as accurately as the clean lines of the spacious dining room and the noteworthy Italian-accented wine list. Framing Indian food in a contemporary Euro-style setting like this is an anomaly in Melbourne but Tonka serves up substance to support the style. Some of the best eating moments come courtesy of the tandoor oven – a whole juicy spatchcock with pickles is a masterclass in how good this cooking technique can be – but there are highlights from the less traditional reaches of the menu, too. Vindaloo steak tartare with fenugreek raita is a brilliant example of well-balanced spicing, as is the yellow dal tadka subtly heated with Kashmiri chilli and a knee-weakeningly good dessert of carrot halwa with cream cheese ice-cream. Great service completes the good times.
(03) 9650 3155
Bookings recommended
  • Licensed
  • Bar
  • Vegetarian-friendly
  • Wheelchair access
  • Impressive wine list
Accepted card types:
  • American Express
  • Eftpos
  • MasterCard
  • Visa
Hendri Budiman, Adam D'Sylva & Kay-Lene Tan
This review was made independently for the Gourmet Traveller Restaurant Guide. The guide's reviewers visit unannounced and pay their way.