MELBOURNE | Toddy Shop by Marthanden Hotel or more simply, Toddy Shop, is a new hole in the wall bar and eatery from chef Mischa Tropp. Mischa has been popping up in kitchens across Melbourne over the past decade, and spent a year during that time exploring regional cuisines in India.
I was first introduced to Mischa’s, at his 2015 Keralas Ways pop-up, where he introduced diners, many for the first time, to the food of Kerala, where his family is from. Toddy Shop is a homage to the toddy shops you find all over Kerala. They’re places where people gather to drink palm toddy, an alcoholic beverage made from the sap of palm trees, and eat food.
Mischa’s Toddy Shop is a casual and cosy 20 seat venue (there’s a parklet with more seating on the way) with a lively atmosphere and upbeat Indian tunes playing over the speakers. It’s a great place to chill with friends over good food and drink, previously home to Mono XO.
The menu is compact, and showcases the food of Kerala. There’s dosa (coming soon, pending the sorting of some BS with council re arbitrary and haphazardly enforced new rules around fermented food), and a rotating selection of vegetarian and meaty specials. What’s on the latter part of the menu will depend on what’s good and fresh at the markets each day.
It’s things like okra padachi – a dish of okra, onions, and yoghurt based on Mischa’s mum’s recipe; cabbage thoran – stir fried cabbage with coconut, turmeric, and curry leaf; and flaky, buttery porotha. Meat wise, there’s delights like pork fry – tender, juicy pork pieces with a dry fried onion, chilli, and coconut rub; and my favourite, prawn moilee The latter sees plump prawns served in a coconut and aromatic spice based sauce. Be sure to get a serve of matta rice to eat with the sauce.
The drinks menu features a few beers (go for the local Two Rupees lager over the Kingfisher), an impressive wine list that leans towards the minimal intervention and interesting side of things, and Kerala inspired cocktails. Try the ‘Jamuntini’. It’s a blend of gin, java plum, Triple Sec, cranberry, pineapple, and lime.
Rear, 191A Smith Street (Enter via Charles Street)
Wed – Fri: 5:00pm to 11:00pm
Sat – Sun: 12:00pm to 11:00pm