“I’ve always called them a potato cake,” says co-owner and executive chef Adam D’Sylva (Tonka and Coda). After posting a pic of one of his homemade potato cakes on Instagram, he’s heard nothing but “scallops” and “fritters” since. “It’s a cracking recipe,” he says. “Almost too good to give away.”

Whatever you call them, we can agree that “a good potato cake is hard to come by,” says D’Sylva. The fish’n’chip shop favourite can sometimes have a greasy aftertaste, but he tells Broadsheet, “I came across this recipe that keeps it crisp forever, without that greasiness.”

The secret is to use clean oil. “Use a deep fryer – a wok or pan also works if you don’t have a deep fryer – and make sure the temperature is 180 degrees celsius. That’s key. They’re not greasy if you fry them at the right temperature.”

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After begging D’Sylva to share his recipe with us, it turns out he’s not fussy about the ingredients you choose: “You can opt for a waxy type like desiree, but really any type of potato will do,” he says. He suggests canola or cottonseed oil for frying and the beer can be whatever’s in the fridge – “as long as it’s ice-cold”.

“It’s all about the batter,” says D’Sylva. “This recipe uses rice flour, but you can cheat and use just self-raising flour; that works just as well.

“I sometimes fry seafood, like whiting, to go with it, but these are good to go in a bowl with a good dousing of salt and vinegar. You can also fry onion rings in the same batter – soak them in milk first to counter the pungent onion flavour.”

If you’re based in Melbourne, D’Sylva’s Boca Gelato is open for pick-up during lockdown, and you can order delivery within 15 kilometres from Coda and Tonka too.

Adam D’Sylva’s famed homemade potato cakes
Serves 4
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

400ml beer
100g rice flour
200g self-raising flour
5g baking powder
4 large potatoes, peeled
Plain flour for dusting
2L canola or cottonseed oil
Sea salt
White vinegar

To make the batter, mix beer, flour and baking powder in a bowl. Whisk until smooth.

For the potato cakes, slice potatoes lengthways to give you the biggest slices.

Bring a pot of salted water to boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add potatoes and cook until al dente. Drain and cool.

Dust potatoes in plain flour and dip in batter.

Add oil to a deep fryer or wok and bring to 180°C. Fry potato slices in hot oil until golden.

Remove potato cakes from oil. Season with salt and vinegar and eat while hot.

Looking for more recipe ideas? See Broadsheet’s recipe hub.