Chef Mischa Tropp became a chef in the hope of one day opening his own venture. After running the popular We Are Kerala pop-ups for close to two years, he realised that dream in late 2023 – opening Toddy Shop in the former Mono-XO space, just off Smith Street in Fitzroy.

The narrow 20-seat venue stands out thanks to its dusty-pink facade and near-constant lines. Inside, Tropp’s home-style Keralan cooking is on display in dishes like spicy fish nadan with Kashmiri and Guntur chillies, and kokum, and flaky parotta (flatbread).

“I try and replicate the things around me that I love without doing too much,” Tropp says. “In my case, that’s replicating traditional Indian dishes in a way I feel does them justice.”

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We spoke to the chef about where to find Melbourne’s best hangover burger and “mind-blowing” northern Vietnamese food, plus the “outrageous” Indian restaurant in New York City that he can’t wait to visit.

What’s your go-to for a quick takeaway?
Co Thu Quan. It’s a mind-blowing northern Vietnamese restaurant on Victoria Street. I eat their food at least once a week. All of their meats are cooked over charcoal, and the banh xeo [stuffed crepe] is amazing.

How about lunch on the go?
The salmon-belly don at Hinoki is something I regularly crave.

And for a drink and snacks?
I love Neighbourhood Wine. I’ve been going for years, and I just love the space.

If it’s a special occasion, where do you go?
Etta. [Head chef] Rosheen [Kaul]’s food is outstanding. Last time I went, the puffed rice with marinated mussels and woodfired red-curry pork sausage was a standout.

What’s the best comfort food in Melbourne?
Roast duck, rice and kangkong from Pacific House on Victoria Street. My partner and I will either go there to eat or order a half duck delivered and cook the rice and kangkong at home.

Where do you go for a big meal?
Many Little [on the Mornington Peninsula]. It’s incredible Sri Lankan food. The highlight is the massive thali with a selection of curries, roti and hoppers.

What spot do you recommend for a first date?
Bar Liberty. Zack [Furst] cooks consistently good food, and the staff are amazing.

What’s your go-to hangover food?
Danny’s Burgers. Depending on how I’m feeling, it’s either a burger or a steak sandwich with the lot – a proper hangover cure!

Where can you find your favourite dessert or sweet treat?
I don’t have a crazy sweet tooth but the leatherwood honey and sea salt croissant from [Giorgia McAllister Forte’s] Monforte Viennoiserie is something I’ll make a trip to eat.

What’s your bucket-list restaurant?
I really want to check out Dhamaka in New York. They seem to be cooking some outrageous Indian food.

Curtis Stone tells us which South American restaurant in Collingwood he’s been loving.