Type of Venue: Cafe, Restaurant, Bar
Cuisine: Modern Sri Lankan food
Highly Recommended: Sliders, Chicken Curry, Hot Buttered Calamari, Roti, Stringhoppers, Faluda (drink)
For those playing along, I visited Lankan Tucker a few months back to sample their innovative brunch menu, showcasing traditional Sri Lankan dishes and flavours with a modern twist. Co-owners Herin and Nerissa show wisdom beyond their years when it comes to the hospitality industry, thanks in part to the early days where Lankan Tucker was a constant presence at music festivals and markets.
With more and more locals discovering this Brunswick West gem, the popularity of their intimately contemporary venue is evident from the buzzing atmosphere experienced on a weeknight during the holiday period. If you’re in the mood for a pick me up, their range of beers, ciders and wines offer a unique dining experience compared to other similar venue’s around Melbourne.
Their small list of ‘Specialty’ drinks are also quite popular, with the Iced Milo making its rounds on the Instagram circuit at one point late in 2017. Seeking something a little different, the Faluda arrives beautifully picturesque, containing milk, Casa Casa (basil seed), sherbet syrup, jelly and vanilla ice cream. Perfect to accompany some of their spicy dishes, I also offer a word of caution: go easy on this drink, as its dairy components fill the stomach quicker than you may think!
To start with, the Sliders arrive in a serving of three, each filled to the brim with Lion lager-marinated pulled pork and Asian slaw. The marinade and sauce on the pulled pork is the highlight of this dish, delivering zing and flavour that moisten the meat to perfection.
Sliders ($14.00 for 3pcs)
Another smaller sharing dish are the Spiced Potato Balls, filled with a potato mash, onion, chilli and split peas. These rustically round morcels are battered and deep fried, accompanied by a sweet tamarind sauce to enhance the flavours and slightly reduce the heaviness of the potato balls.
Spiced Potato Balls ($12.00 for 4pcs)
Their classic Chicken Curry contains tender marinaded chicken pieces, generously served and swimming in a Sri Lankan-spiced curry that will have your taste buds tingling with each mouthful. I would recommend ordering a serve of rice, stringhoppers and/or roti to soak up the abundance of curry sauce, and thus fully appreciating its depth of flavour.
Chicken Curry ($17.00)
A specialty dish that is quite popular throughout Sri Lanka, Hot Buttered Calamari is a rarity in the Melbourne food scene. Ideally paired with a cold glass of beer, these tenderly chewy pieces of squid are wok-tossed, and cooked with red onion, Bullhorn chilli and butter. The use of butter adds a distinct richness that distinguishes this dish from other run-of-the-mill calamari dishes normally cooked with oil. If you’re not a spice fiend, then make sure to have a cold milk-based drink next to you to dull down the spice level of this dish.
Hot Buttered Calamari ($18.00)
Demonstrating their modern concept, a serving of Sweet Potato Fries doesn’t go astray, particularly when they are as crispy and salty as these ones.
Sweet Potato Fries ($11.00)
Not just a brunch-hit wonder, Lankan Tucker are well worth a visit at any time of the day or night. Stick to the traditional with one of their house made curries, or venture into the fusion domain with things like corn chip coated fried chicken ribs, or their cheese and meat boards featuring Sri Lankan sausage, chutneys and roti. With their balanced use of flavours and spices, I have no doubt that those who love to try an adventurous cuisine will enjoy Lankan Tucker.
Note: I dined as a guest of Lankan Tucker. Thank you to Herin, Nerissa and their staff for their generous hospitality throughout our experience.
486 Albion St
Brunswick West, VIC 3055
Ph: (03) 9386 8248
Hours: Tues-Wed 7:30am-4pm, Thurs-Fri 7:30am-9:30pm, Sat 8am-9:30pm, Sun 8am-4pm, Mon Closed.