In Short: Tinker café in Northcote offers stunning food creations that walk a perfect line between contemporary, photo-worthy fare, and comforting, quality-focussed food. The space welcomes with a minimalism and style that never feels pretentious. Tip: The cold drip is magical…
As the light from the tram traveled street bathes the cool white-washed brick and then reaches back into the communal space of Tinker café in Northcote, we perch ourselves front row at the windows to soak all the vibrant street culture that High St. has to give.
The Tinker vibe is clean with a real community feel. Regulars amble through the door as the poised and aproned barista has their shot pulled with a simple nod. And what a shot it is… Inglewood is the roast of choice, and a good choice at that.
The Kenyan cold drip glistens with condensation as the sip bursts with citrus and mango notes. The clarity of flavour delivers that little jolt of surprise with each taste. That combination of crisp and quenching lightness puts this glass at the top of this summer’s drip so far.
I could sit and watch baristas work their magic all day long. It truly is an art-form that is equal parts science and sorcery. Watching that combination come together against the beautiful backdrop of Tinker’s design, with matching white clad La Marzocco, makes this coffee tragic yearn for another glorious hit.
That next hit comes in the form of a rich and smooth Mocha. Yes, we know it’s a little cheeky putting a choc slant on this impeccable bean, but sometimes you just gotta mix it up! The mingling reveals warm notes of nutmeg and malt for a sneaky pre-lunch treat.
Speaking of treats… The Jaffa Hotcakes land at our table with an “ooohh” and “ahhh” from the table next door. The stack of orange blossom hotcakes with a crisp outer crust and a soft, doughy centre are crowned with vanilla mascarpone and dashes of chocolate swirled meringue. It’s a tower of temptation that takes us from brekkie to the lunch menu, and smiling all the way.
Another bevvy pit-stop on that journey comes in the form of the Peanut Butter and Raspberry Smoothie. Oh lord, how the smoothness of the peanut blends with an elixir of banana and berries into a dessert-like, and yet bright and refreshing, healthy cocktail. Only the wizards and Tinker know how it’s done!
The kitchen is the engine room of all this foodie fantasy and the dedication to making plates of joy that not only look too good to eat, but taste even better, is clearly evident. The spotless stainless shine reflects the faces of the talented professionals that make this magic happen.
From that dedicated kitchen team comes our next creation… the Breakfast Bowl with Salmon. A perfectly poached gooey egg sits atop a castle of kale, cherry tomatoes, quinoa, haloumi, pita chips, avocado… oh man..the list goes on! This is the bowl I needed to get the day going. The textures are expertly married, and the stack of salmon slices pulls the whole package together into a masterful mountain of healthy yum!
Tinker Northcote also hides a treasure trove of treats in their cool in-counter display case. From fluffy croissants to these sweet little balls of coconut encrusted delight, it’s hard to resist scooping some up with a takeaway.
Sweet distractions aside, it’s time for the next main act… a real crowd favourite is the Smashed Peas with beetroot labneh, black quinoa, haloumi, and a poached egg on sourdough. This greenie goodness is all comfort and crunch. Slicing that egg and mixing the golden yolk into the mound of mushy peas brings back fond memories of mashed peas on a slice of toasted Tip Top.
With the bustle of the street waking us from this delicious food coma, there’s just time to sip those last precious drops of cold drip before we leave Tinker’s foodie paradise.
Tinker fits perfectly into the eclectic textures of Northcote. It offers stunning food creations that walk a perfect line between contemporary, photo-worthy fare and comforting, quality-focussed food. The space welcomes with a minimalism and style that never feels pretentious. The Tinker team will undoubtedly keep on tinkering with new inspirations, but we think they’ve already conjured up a winner.
*Coco & Vine dined as guests of Tinker Northcote. However, all images and opinions are our own.