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“Lovely modern Indian” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Tonka

Tonka
20 Duckboard Place, Melbourne, Victoria 3000, Australia
96503155
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Ranked #76 of 4,075 Restaurants in Melbourne
Cuisines: Indian
Dining options: Reservations, Late Night
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations, Late Night
Sydney
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
39 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
53 helpful votes 53 helpful votes
“Lovely modern Indian”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 15, 2013

If you can find it, this is one of Melbourne's best! Wonderful, helpful staff - especially the French Canadian wine waiter, and a really innovative interpretation of Indian food. Soft shell crab pakoras and lamb kebabs with mint yogurt were outstanding. A great, bright and welcoming space despite the unprepossessing entrance.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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127 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    74
    37
    8
    4
    4
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Japanese first
  • Any
English first
Melbourne
Top Contributor
88 reviews 88 reviews
53 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
“Oh Boy, a Tonka Treat!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2013

The special restaurant to celebrate a birthday this year was Tonka, a brilliant modern Indian place down a very scruffy lane (Duckboard Place) off Melbourne's Flinders Lane. However, once discovered, never forgotten. Inside it fairly pulses with life, lots of staff and lots of very happy diners enjoying some very interesting takes on some seemingly familar Indian dishes. However, they all sparkle with a freshness of approach and a fusion of flavours that are quite inspired.

Heartily recommended for a great dining experience.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Contributor
35 reviews 35 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“Amazing food, great service, friendly, efficient staff.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2013

We found this restaurant while looking for another.
It looked so good, we thought this was worth a try. The design, fit out, acoustics and music were the right mix. As we hadn't booked a table, we were invited to have a drink at the bar, until a table became available. It wouldn't be too long a wait until we could be seated.
The food was excellent and amazingly fresh and delicious. The menu is so good, we would love to have tried it all. The service was very good and the staff were happy and friendly. We could feel the love, and we can highly recommend Tonka. We will definitely return to this Restaurant on our next trip to Melbourne.

  • Visited November 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Excellent food, excellent service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2013 via mobile

Quite simply, we highly recommend grazing your way through the menu and dont be afraid to dine at the bar for a full inter-active experience. Service was fantastic and the sommelier was one of the best we have interacted with in Melbourne.

Visited November 2013
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Australia
Top Contributor
70 reviews 70 reviews
47 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“No trucks here!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2013

I visited Tonka for a business lunch.
There was a bit of pretentious silliness when I arrived. A staff member asked me to wait at the bar as they weren't open for lunch yet, however, my business companion was already seated at our table.

The restaurant is ideally located with wonderful views out across Birrarung Marr to the Botanical gardens and Government House. The interior is stylishly decorated with a feeling of spaciousness, the furniture is comfortable and the staff are suitably attired.

The staff have excellent knowledge about the food and wine. This made it a pleasure to choose suitable dishes and something to drink. The service was impeccable.

We started with Soft Shell Crab Pakora. My initial taste was one of way too much salt. With a bit of dissection I was able to determine that the Pakora / Gram flour batter was the culprit. The crab combined with the fantastic pickle was very nice once the pakora was removed.

The Smoked Trout Betel leaf was decimated by an abundance of Coriander. Missing in action was the trout, pomelo and lime: presumably murdered by the coriander. If you couldn't guess it by now, I like to taste the main ingredient - imprison the coriander!

We had the Avani's lamb curry - a good mixture of heat and exotic flavour.

The fried cauliflower was golden brown, crisp in texture and very enjoyable.

The Tonka dal had this metallic (truck) / teflon pan flavour to it, entirely wiping any memory of chilli and curry.

Ginger Cake - all the complimentary bits on the side were yummy. I have this nagging feeling / talc like sensation that the cake used powdered ginger root rather than fresh ginger. This meant that the cake had no zing or inherent moisture and ultimately ruined it for me.

I thought the pricing was reasonable except for the Ginger cake (the cake price should be halved).

  • Visited October 2013
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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