Photo of Tonka in Melbourne, Vi, AU
Photo of Tonka in Melbourne, Vi, AU
Photo of Tonka in Melbourne, Vi, AU
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Tonka

Indian Restaurant

$$$$
lamb curry • pani puri • soft shell crab • pakora

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Tonka has 20 Tips

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  • Photo of June E
    3 months ago
    This restaurant was in my wish list of Must go to eat there and I was so glad I made it. Melbourne is full of quirky and interesting places that are hiding in laneways and I was on my own and was hesitant to wander down the dubious looking laneway. Curiosity got the better of me and I was so glad it did. I settled in the Thali Bar located inside the entrance to the restaurant and indulged in the express lunch, the Indian Thali. I chose the Lamb curry which was excellent and the accompanying Naan was to die for, soft and pillowy. I also had Gulab Jamun for dessert which was heavenly. I would love to come back to eat in the restaurant section as their menu looked amazing and the dishes I observed being spirited away to the restaurant section looked amazing. I definitely want to come back again.
  • Photo of Oldjack
    3 months ago
    Tonka is a very good restaurant with Indian inspired food that is modern, well presented and with a twist. This was the fourth visit and I was not disappointed. Service is professional and the whole place has a good vibe. Do not be put off by the entrance door in Duckboard Lane.
  • Photo of maxp262016
    4 months ago
    It can be difficult to find, but Tonka is well worth the effort. exceptional modern Indian cuisine.It was an incredible meal and the suggested wine pairings for our various dishes were excellent. Every course just exploded with fresh flavors
  • Photo of Johan S
    4 months ago
    Excellent Indian-Fusion restaurant hidden in the back alleys of Melbourne CBD. Stylish and sleek interior design complement the open kitchen setting of Tonka. Staff are attentive and knowledgeable, more than willing to help put together a menu for the night. I have yet to try an item on the menu that I didn't find appealing. However the Palak Paneer, with silky texture and mushroom under tones, as well as the crab and betel leaf starter are outstanding.
  • Photo of Simm05
    4 months ago
    Well - This was a surprise... After searching for Indian in Melbourne CBD - Tonka bubbled to the top as a great option. The search engine was absolutely correct. Tonka was quintessentially Melbourne (down a graffiti covered alleyway - with large dark doors and little signage) - and when you walked through the doors - you were taken into a space that you would never have imagined was behind that door. The food was impeccable, the Staff knowledgeable and attentive - but not intrusive, the wine was delicious. I've already been recommending to my friends who like fine dining. YUM!
  • Photo of Aleasha N
    4 months ago
    Tonka was everything we wanted.. and more! Absolutely beautiful modern indian, which we had never had before. We'd had cheap and easy indian, but NOTHING like this. The food list was amazing, we wanted to try everything but sadly couldn't. The wait staff were brilliant and recommended what to do - share a few of the small bites and maybe one entrée and order one big main between us. We took that advice and it was definitely the right choice. The wine list was also excellent and we leisurely drank a beautiful pinot grigio over lunch that perfectly complemented our meal. The stand outs were definitely the Spicy Goan pork tikka with radicchio and pickled onion and the ultimate standout - Five spice calamari with squid ink boondi, celery, pickled onion and avocado raita. Those were just the small bites! We ordered the main, Tonka Butter Chicken, which was great, only thing we would ask is that it came out hotter (not spicy wise, it was just warm, not hot to eat). My partner had dessert but I simply could not fit it in. He raved about it though! Definitely recommend this place.
  • Photo of BrisCaz
    4 months ago
    We came here because we had just eaten at Coda, which is a sister bar to this place. We just wanted to check it out to see what it was like and originally were only going to take a peek inside. The staff here are amazing. They were more than happy for us to wander right inside and into the restaurant itself, where we checked out the view from the big windows at the end. There was no pressure on us to stay and it was that delightful friendliness and demeanour that made us decide to stay maybe just for a drink. And then, despite our best efforts to just go in for a drink we ended up ordering food! The menu here is more of an Indian influence - perfect for me as I love Indian four. Not so much for my friend. I ordered the veg pakora It was delicious and, for $5, the best value meal I had during my weekend sojourn in Melbourne. I really liked it here but it would be limiting for people who are not so keen on Indian food.
  • Photo of Terri and simon F
    4 months ago
    Went for boozy Saturday lunch in group of 6. Excellent service from a very fun and understanding group of waiters (we prolly got a bit loud at times). Everything we ordered was excellent except the tandoori lamb cutlets were just a little too rare for our table (I liked them but the unrendered fat was a slight put off for some). The tuna tartare was exceptional. We liked the mix of small individual starters and entrees with larger share dishes. Wine list was good too. Well done guys.
  • Photo of Bill R
    4 months ago
    We went with friends on a Friday night. Drinks first at the bar. Then dinner. The table was not too cramped. We let our waiter choose a six or seven course sharing plates. I asked for the sommelier to recommend wine for the meal with a price ceiling. All worked well. Quite pricey, but delicious.
  • Photo of GingerK6
    4 months ago
    I was keen to go to Tonka having seen it on 'The Chef's Line' on SBS and was in Melbourne for work. I was a little reluctant as I was on my own, but was welcomed at Tonka and seated at the bar, and definitely not made to feel like a 'no mates'. The staff were very accommodating of my eating on my own and made great suggestions for how to order off the menu as one person - including offering the option of a halfserve. The wine list is fabulous and the food exceptionally good - creative and contemporary but without compromise of the Indian heritage. Am keen to return with my partner.
  • Photo of LivDaley
    4 months ago
    It’s in a super cool graffiti alley and has an industrial kitchen vibe. The clientele which filled the place for lunch looked smart and sophisticated. The East India gin and tonic with absinthe packed an interesting punch and was the highlight of the meal. The country music selections were odd. The duck korma was a disappointment because the taste was too subtle. And the hot and sour pumpkin salad was neither hot nor sour. Moreover, we didn't like that the Dal had kidney beans in it. I love Indian fusion and had high hopes for Tonka as one of the top 100 restaurants in Australia from Financial Review. But in all fairness, I have had the pleasure of Floyd Cardoz in New York for two decades now, and we had had an excellent experience at Indu in Sydney just prior to visiting Melbourne
  • Photo of LilibetMelbourne
    4 months ago
    I had the degustation lunch at Tonka, the modern Indian. The others really loved it, but after a great start, I thought the food was a bit dull like the lamb curry with rice and a tray of chutneys that anyone could have made. The first dish was small street food crisp balls with mint and veg inside into which we poured a herby liquid. Delicious and fresh. Then we had some poppadums with ceviche, then fried veg croquettes with a lovely raita. The Tandoori baked trout was bland, but it came with a very good coleslaw with interesting flavours, and fried cauliflower with yoghurt. Then the curry. The desserts were beautifully presented and included a meringue ball filled with rhubarb stuff, a passionfruit concoction and a ginger and chestnut dish.
  • Photo of MrsHuxtable
    5 months ago
    We arrived on a Friday night without a booking - waiting 10 minutes and were shown to a high table (which I love!). The service was excellent - we were given menus - said we preferred vegetarian plus seafood and asked the waiter to order for us. The choice of dishes was superb! Just the right amount.
  • Photo of dlftraveller
    5 months ago
    Great service and excellent food, with a terrific selection ranging from tasting plates through to full share size servings. Only disappointment was the Ocean Trout from the tandoor was barely cooked and lukewarm at best, but the flavour was still amazing. Will definitely be back to try some of the other dishes. Excellent wine list, but on the expensive side.
  • Photo of pointopoint
    5 months ago
    Saturday lunch location for a friendly catch up! Loved everything about our visit and the food presentation was superb. The standout for me was the duck - regrettably we only had half the serve! Should have had the whole serve - will know next time. The duck's flavour was so delicate and the way in which it was presented was fabulous and clearly very memorable! Service was second to none and there was some fun moments. Thank you for making it so special.
  • Photo of Sumitha5678
    5 months ago
    Tonka turned out to be a real surprise. I am very skeptical of Indian restaurants but Tonka made me a believer. The food was fragrant, flavorsome and delightful. The waiters were friendly and accommodating. The service was a bit slow so they do not get 5 stars and they also forgot to bring the naans out with the tandoori chicken. All the staples of Indian fare was on the menu and true to Indian heritage. Bravo
  • Photo of Mike F
    5 months ago
    We stumbled upon this place while walking through the neat graffiti-covered laneway it is attached to. It is Indian-fusion, and everything we had tasted really good. The dishes were some very interesting takes on Indian classics, and they did a great job modernizing the classics and making some really tasty stuff. Portions aren't terribly big, and its a little on the expensive side, but everything was well prepared, fresh, and tasted really good. Worth a try is you want some modern Indian in an unexpected location.
  • Photo of ThisIsTheGuru
    5 months ago
    Call me snooty! or call me flaky. As an Indian, I have this snooty sense that Indian food is only good in India or in Singapore (very select). I dont indulge as I tend to put on weight (even if I look at food in general, I gain weight). So I usually avoid eating Indian outside of my home and my home country. But that Monday night, I was taking a walk to get some fresh air after a long day of work and wandered to familiar alley ways and literally stumbled on this diamond. Went in and in the dim light, did not see many people and I was ready to get out when I saw the kitchen and the crowd of diners behind the bar. No reservation? 1 person? No problem. Bar seat. Perfect. As I could the action of the food being prepared. When the menu came, I was not sure what to think after reading. I was reading what I think was Indian food but the combinations were not Indian in any sense. Nothing gained without venturing. So while reading up, I did a quick glance at cocktails which themselves were off the hook. Decided to go with Anarkali - Anarkali – Rum, Tamarind, Chat Masala, Pomegranate. WOW! It was sensational. I have never had chat masala in a cocktail. NEVER! For my starter, I decided to have Spicy Goan pork tikka with radicchio and pickled onion. Tandoori is synonymous with chicken, paneer and tandoor is usually naan or roti. Pork? That was a first for me. It was sublime, tasty and if I was more of a caveman, I would have ordered 4 more. But fortunately, this is a classy place and hence civility was needed to maintained. For my main, I went vegetarian. Palak Paneer gnudi with pine nuts and lemon pickle. Lordy Lordy! What is supposed to be a simple dish turned into a complex offering. Call it regular palak paneer powered up with rocket fuel. It was absolutely brilliant. I found out Adam D’Sylva , the executive chef is half Indian-half Italian. Talk about best of two awesome worlds. Pity I could not meet him as apparently he had left a short while before I stopped licking my plate (the staff was quite tickled by my supposedly gracious attempt to pretend not to lick my plate). The service was spot on. The food was spot on. Expensive for sure, but then worth every cent.
  • Photo of Kiwijetter
    5 months ago
    Walking round Melbourne, found the back door to Tonka, entered into the busy bar area. Managed to get a table for 2. Friendly waiters who ran through the menu and made sure we had plenty to drink. Everything we chose was so delicious, lovely wines to go with it. Dessert simply a work of art.
  • Photo of Nyall G
    5 months ago
    We visited Tonka on a cold, wet evening and were delighted to walk into a space which absolutely promised a very different spin on Indian cuisine. With high ceilings and a very modern fit out this is a sophisticated space - and very well patronised. We had seen the Tonka crew on the Chef's Line and from that resolved to eat at the restaurant. Adam De Sylva was on the pass that night which was great to see. We sat at the bar and tried a few different beers and gin and tonics from a concise and well rounded drinks menu. Then on to the dining area. We were seated and had menus in quick order with our waitress confident to guide us through some of the more unfamiliar ingredients. This is an inspired menu and we were keen to range far and wide across it ! We shared quite a bit of the menu and some standouts included the Pain Puri, Tandoor corn fed chicken, Aveni's lamb curry, Blue swimmer crab in betel leaf the fried cauliflower and the Dal. Actually it was all delicious ! The only problem for me was the lighting, which was so dim I found it almost impossible to read the menu. Maybe just me ? Anyway it would not stop me from visiting again to explore what we missed from the menu this time. Highly recommended.

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