Move over avocado, it’s all about the smashed peas. Well at least it is at Northcote’s latest foodie hotspot, Tinker.

With the likes of Legacy, Temperance Society and Penta under their belts, you could say these guys are veterans in the Melbourne café game. Now, the Mischievous Little Dreamers team has ventured northside with their latest project to High Street, Northcote.

By mid-morning on a weekday Tinker is packed; with the noisy chatter of hungry café-goers and the hum of the coffee machine soothing dozens of caffeine hounds. Inside you’ll find a sleek, minimalist-style fit out 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 the front, the perfect spot to watch the world go by with a strong cup of coffee.

The creative menu at Tinker is inspired by, 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 in the naughtier side,” co-owner Adam Vocale says. “Our food is creative, colourful, fresh and healthy and mixed with the right ingredients that simply work.”

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 bee 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 free, vegetarian and vegan options, so customers with specific dietary requirements are not limited.

My pick of the brunch menu is the smashed peas on sourdough with a brushstroke of beetroot labne, topped with micro greens, haloumi, a perfectly poached egg and black quinoa. Art on a plate.

Another crowd pleaser and inevitable Instagram favourite is the mango and saffron panna cotta – almost too pretty to eat (emphasis on the almost!) with vanilla, almond 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 and topped with chipotle slaw, smoked cheese and a side of rosemary salted fries.

A healthier but equally tasty option might be the miso-baked salmon with sesame red cabbage, 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 maybe go the breakfast bowl.

The drinks list does not disappoint either, towing the line between healthy and decadent. On the healthy end, 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. Or 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. Tinker is definitely one to add to your northside brunch bucket list. Just get here early; this place is always pumping!


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