Converting a drab old newsagency into Mr Tuppy was one tough job for owner/chef Dan Watson and wife Kim Mao. But walking in now, you’d barely know its former function. The couple stripped back the walls to expose multi-toned brick, and created a grungy little cafe in an otherwise forgotten strip.
At first it seems like a milk bar, with a coffee counter upfront flanked with Asian lollies and sweet pastries. A takeaway fridge stocks cold drinks and coconut water and authentic gelato by Gioco is ready to be scooped. But head inside a little further and you’ll find a small dining area with white stools and wooden tables.
The name is a nod to Watson’s childhood nickname, Tuppence, but the focus here is on his wife’s Cambodian background. They source traditional and hard-to-find ingredients from the Springvale markets on a weekly basis.
The warm, coconut rice-pudding is made with seasonal poached fruit, red-bean jelly, crunchy nut mix and fresh Vietnamese mint. Smashed avo gets an Asian twist with crispy nori chips, fresh chilli and a poached egg on buckwheat-and-chia toast.
More lunch-y items include a bok lahong salad with green mango, green papaya, cherry tomatoes and Vietnamese mint; and the lemongrass chicken naan wrap with Asian slaw and Sriracha mayonnaise. There’s also a selection of gourmet pies and sausage rolls ready for takeaway.