20 Duckboard Pl, Melbourne VIC 3000
The team behind Coda has transformed what used to be Honky Tonks into Tonka, an elegant space with a modern Indian-inspired menu, which caters for diners, drinkers and in-betweeners.
Tonka’s interior is a stark contrast to the grit outside. The space is divided into three sections, with the entrance doubling as the bar where punters can sit at high tables for a drink and a bar snack (think soft shell crab pakora and Indian-inspired tuna tatare).
Those with more of an appetite, but no booking, can walk past the open kitchen and its jars of spices into the restaurant bar. Here the entire menu is available to order and visitors can enjoy the view of Flinders Street through huge windows that line the back of the space.
The third space is the restaurant itself, which has banquette seating running under the windows and tables scattered throughout. Those who enjoy a sure thing can book tables in advance and choose from bigger dishes like goan fish curry or corn-fed chicken from the tandoor.
Although the space has been split, each section flows into the next. Distressed walls feature throughout and colour is hinted at via the red and blue legs of the stools and bright spices in jars.
Next time you’re in the city, venture down this laneway and discover something that may surprise you.