432 Centre Road Bentleigh, Victoria 3204
|Opening hours||Monday to Sunday, 7am to 5pm.|
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
|Phone||03 9576 5174|
WHERE AND WHAT
You wouldn't imagine it'd be hard to get a table at most cafes on a Monday, particularly along a suburban shopping strip, but pretty much every day has been consistently busy for Little Tommy Tucker, which clearly filled a lunch-sized gap in the community when it opened a few months back on Bentleigh's main drag, Centre Road.
Head chef Brett Hobbs, most recently sous chef under Nick Stanton at Woods of Windsor (owned by Something for Kate drummer Clint Hyndman), puts his own mark on a traditional all-day breakfast/brunch menu, as well as more substantial lunch dishes. While it's usually bustling, the atmosphere is relaxed; even at peak lunch hour, the staff are warm and friendly. Precisely the vibe you want from your local.
WHERE TO SIT
Grab a table outside (thirsty dogs catered to, as well), or head inside where there's a choice of smaller tables, a couple of cool booths and a more spacious area at the back, popular with families for its pram and highchair space. The light interior is all blond wood and minimalist decor, with wood-panelled walls and lots of hanging plants.
Little Tommy Tucker isn't licensed, but there's a huge range of Chamellia organic teas ($4), hot chocolate, Prana Chai and milkshakes, and the coffee comes from Dukes Roasters.
The all-day menu runs from toasted sourdough with various toppings ($7) to an enticingly dessert-like incarnation of muesli - yoghurt panna cotta, ginger and macadamia Yousli Muesli with poached pear and rockmelon cress ($13). There's a banana pancake stack with maple syrup and walnut butter ($15) and egg and bacon-based staples are given a twist, such as green eggs and ham ($17), pulled Otway pork roll with wilted spinach and goats' cheese ($16) and the almost dinner-like proportions of the braised lamb shoulder served with chilli scrambled eggs, watercress salad and tomato relish ($18) - a dish that's gotta be a killer hangover cure.
The ''Something Lunchy'' menu includes grilled calamari with rocket, parmesan and shallot salad ($15), quinoa, pea, cucumber, feta, avocado and herb salad ($16) and the Tommy Tucker wagyu burger with tasty cheese, BLT garnish and tomato relish ($19). There's also a menu for the ''Little Tuckers'' and a range of take-out baguettes and sarnies.
Hobbs sources organic ingredients largely from the local area, including meat from Felice's Butcher in Elwood, bread from artisan patisserie Brioche by Philip and fruit and vegetables from Bentleigh supplier Casa Fresca Produce.
Little Tommy Tucker is right near the train station, so weekday mornings it's commuters getting their fix and lots of local mums at lunch and beyond. On weekends it feels as though every resident from the surrounding area is here.
The twists on traditional brunch and lunch fare and, perhaps more importantly, the amazing service.