Words by Lisa Holmen, Photography The Edible Image
Move over avocado, it’s all about the smashed peas. Well at least it is at Northcote’s latest foodie hot spot, Tinker.
With the likes of Legacy, Temperance Society and Penta behind their belts, you could say these guys are veterans in the Melbourne café game. But now the team at Mischievous Little Dreamers has moved north side to High Street.
By mid morning on a weekday the café is packed, with the noisy chatter of hungry café goers and the soothing hum of the coffee machine satisfying dozens of caffeine hounds. Inside you’ll find a sleek, minimalist style café with plenty of exposed brick and concrete and the occasional pop of colour. My pick for the best seats in the house are the bar stools at front, the perfect spot to watch the world go by with a strong cup of coffee.
The menu at Tinker is inspired by creative, fresh and healthy eating with some indulgent options thrown in for good measure.
“ We’ve opted to go for more greener, plant-based dishes while taking into consideration those that like to indulge on the naughtier side. Our food is creative, colourful, fresh and healthy and mixed with the right ingredients that simply work.” says co owner Adam Vocale.
For breakfast you can feast on classics like eggs benedict, chilli scrambled eggs and the picture perfect acai bowl teamed with granola, coconut infused yoghurt, peanut butter, fresh fruit and bees’ pollen.
If you prefer things on the sweeter side, don’t miss the Jaffa hotcake, topped with zesty orange curd, vanilla mascarpone and chocolate swirled meringue pieces.
There are also plenty of gluten, vegetarian and vegan options, so customers with specific dietary requirements are not limited by choice.
My pick of the brunches is the smashed peas resting on sourdough and a brushstroke of beetroot labne topped with a perfectly poached egg, micro greens, haloumi and finished with a sprinkling of black quinoa. Art on a plate.
Another crowd favourite and inevitable victim of the Instagram storm is the mango and saffron pannacotta – almost too pretty to eat (highlight the almost!) with vanilla, almond and cranberry granola and coconut.
At lunch things get a little ‘meatier’ with dishes like pulled lamb and a taste bud tantalising buttermilk fried chicken burger, sandwiched between a brioche bun topped with chipotle slaw, smoked cheese and a side of rosemary salted fries, or the miso baked salmon with sesame red cabbage and edamame salad and fried basil.
If you are still detoxing into the New Year, opt for the summer detox salad bursting with fresh vegetables, wild rice, walnuts, grana padano and ginger dressing or the breakfast bowl.
The drinks list does not disappoint either, towing the line between healthy and decadent. On the healthy extreme you will find the beetroot smoothie chock full of fresh berries, granola, beetroot, yoghurt, honey and orange juice, or on the naughtier side the peanut butter and raspberry smoothie or salted caramel milkshake doesn’t disappoint. Single origin and filter coffee is made with Maker Fine Coffee with Dimattina Coffee Roasters providing the custom house blend. If you’re planning a boozy brunch, there’s no better way to get the morning started than with a Bloody Mary or Espresso Martini.
It’s a pity I only have one stomach so couldn’t try more of the delicious menu. At least there is an excuse to go back. Definitely one to add to your north side brunch bucket list.
Just get here early; even on a mid week morning, this place was pumping!
A 235 High Street Northcote 3070 Victoria
T (03) 9482 5264