Good Times review

The 'Tuckertorium' has been given a white-and-gelato-coloured makeover.
The 'Tuckertorium' has been given a white-and-gelato-coloured makeover. Photo: Simon Schluter

83 Tucker Rd Bentleigh, VIC 3204

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Opening hours Daily 7am-4pm
Features Outdoor seating, Family friendly, Breakfast-brunch
Prices Cheap (mains under $20)
Phone 03 9557 4868

Not-so-fun fact: it's now easier in many Melbourne suburbs to find an almond milk coffee than it is to buy a litre of cows' milk and 50 cents' worth of mixed lollies. The demise of the suburban milk bar is cause for social concern, but Bentleigh's Good Times provides an excellent venue to fret about the threat to our great Australian institutions. Make a beeline for the brightly coloured Milk Bar sign on the corner of Tucker and Patterson (it used to be a real milk bar with the brilliant name of Tuckertorium). Calling your exciting new hospitality concept Good Times risks being unintentionally ironic but thankfully it has the goods to bring the… well, you know.

The space

Scandi chic has no place in this white-and-gelato-coloured confection of a joint with a speckled front coffee counter (does it conjure memories of hundreds and thousands in anyone else?), where the broad wooden-slatted booths are like an American diner table and an Aussie picnic bench fell in love and made a baby. Indoor plants photosynthesise quietly among the families and cute Bentleigh couples proving postcode 3204 is definitely more attractive than Moorabbin. Out back a grassy platform has oversized pillows for relaxation (human and canine) on what looks like actual grass rather than AstroTurf; I think we just stumbled on the ultimate definition of retro, 2018 style.

Sticky sweet salted caramel panna cotta.
Sticky sweet salted caramel panna cotta. Photo: Simon Schluter

The food

You can almost hear the chefs muttering about Instagram algorithms as they plate up their super-pretty brunch dishes. Meatsmith's pastrami eggs benedict on golden potato hash, perked up with sauerkraut and pickled cucumber, is a textbook example of a well-balanced egg dish. Salted caramel panna cotta with spiced granola and bits and bobs of fruit pretends to be healthy while being a stealth bomber for sticky, delicious sweetness. The Aussie milk bar-style burger (American cheese, dill pickle and red onion, natch) is big but not so huge it's impossible to eat. Beer-battered chips are good (fat not skinny – join the revolution!) but the best news is you can order potato gems instead, those thrilling relics of 1980s family freezers. On that note, a dedicated burger window opened recently, making those nights Bentleigh residents can't be bothered to cook much more rewarding. Non-burgers? Spaghettini with picked crab and a good hand on the green chilli arrives in a slosh of bottarga butter.

The brew

Burger and chips, plus potato gems.
Burger and chips, plus potato gems. Photo: Simon Schluter

Coffee by Small Batch Roasting Co. hits the right notes of hazelnut and caramel. Also catering for your caffeine needs: filter, pour-over and cold brew.

The booze

These Good Times are a natural high. No booze, folks.

Avo index Pretty simple. Your avo arrives on toast with mint, chilli, feta and a poached egg. Pimp it up with either cured ocean trout or bacon.

Loving The return of the potato gem.

Not getting Why an enterprising spirit hasn't stolen the "Tuckertorium" name.

Overheard "School pick-up comes around so fast."

Caffe latte $4.

Score Two cups
Food 7/10; Coffee 4/5; X-factor 4/5