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. Expect classic cafe dishes with twists involving rice, Vietnamese mint, lemongrass and other Cambodian staples.
There’s also a selection of gourmet pies and sausage rolls ready for takeaway.