I’m a huge fan of all things panna cotta, so imagine my delight when those little mischievous dreamers at Tinker invited my down to try some of their oh-so-instagrammable dishes. Situated on High Street, Tinker’s funky industrial feel is a perfect fit with trendy Northcote, and unsurprisingly, it was still packed when we arrived in the afternoon. At that time of day when most brunch places die off, Tinker was still packing in a steady stream of people throughout our entire visit. Despite this, staff still managed to make the service prompt, friendly and attentive.
For fear of sounding like a New York Realtor, I love what they have done with the space. We were sat right by the till, near the front, but still felt separate and uncrowded. There’s a bench by the window to squash in a few extra guests, and if I was a Tinker local, I’d be grateful for this, as getting a table seems to be no mean feat at times; and a fabulous communal table tucked behind the counter – it fits in so well I didn’t even notice it for 5 minutes (although I may have been dreaming about panna cotta just a little). There’s not really much space for big groups, but it’s a perfect spot to hang out with a couple of brunch friends! It’s crisp and clean, loud and lively and everything this suburb could want in a cafe.
We ordered the bacon and eggs and fruit toast – joking – I’m just checking you’re still paying attention. We went for the Jaffa Cake Hot Cakes and the Mango and Saffron Panna Cotta – now just don’t ask me to pick a favourite… The orange curd with the hot cakes was glorious – a rich flavour and not sickly sweet. I loved the meringue, for both the flavour and the texture it added. The hot cakes were more like American style pancakes than the fluffy, larger hot cakes you sometimes see, however, they were still light and delicious.
The panna cotta was sensational. It was so smooth and creamy. I loved the mango flavour with just a hint of saffron, and when eaten with that passionfruit on the side it was a perfect, refreshing mouthful. The granola added a interesting texture to the dish and all the elements were well balanced. Another well thought out panna cotta dish from this team (they’re the same people behind Penta’s nutella panna cotta). I love how as well as looking sensational, they understand that all the elements on the plate need to work with the panna cotta, ensuring perfect flavour combinations and a variety of textures to make it interesting and enjoyable to eat.
In a nutshell, I don’t know what more I can say about Tinker to persuade you to go and try it out for yourself. Great atmosphere, friendly service – not only does the food plate beautifully, they’ve got the quality and taste to back it up! This should be on your must-visit list of cafes in Melbourne!