This was a restaurant Helen and I discovered upon returning from our first Europe trip. Trip Advisor is the preferred review site overseas, so out of curiosity I looked up what the top Melbourne restaurant was on Trip Advisor. To our surprise, it was The Tippler & Co! We had never heard of this restaurant before, so we were very curious as to why The Tippler & Co. were rated so highly by our international and local visitors. We made an online booking and when we got there we realised that a booking wasn’t really necessary. This continued to be a common pattern even until today. Out of habit I still call up to make a booking every time just in case. If you’re someone that links how busy a restaurant is to the quality of their food, The Tippler & Co. will throw that theory out the window because their food is amazing!
The food is based on a sharing plate menu. They have a wide variety of vegetarian and non-vegetarian foods which will appeal to a wide range of people. The menu also changes regularly so we do get excited when something new is added (and equally get disappointed when a great dish is taken off). I can tell when a restaurant gets their food right when I really enjoy their vegetarian dishes. I’m usually the type that goes looking for meat in a dish but I actually look forward to the veggie dishes here. As a matter of fact, one of my favourite and long standing dishes here is the roasted cauliflower salad! It consists of cauliflower, green beans, pine nuts, goji berries, quinoa, and tahini yoghurt. This salad is just so appetizing and I love how they just lightly roast the cauliflower. I’ve lost count of the amount of times other places have charred the cauliflower. Everything just goes so well together and being so healthy makes me feel good too. That’s until I move onto the smoked chicken ribs! Oh these were so good we ordered another serving last time we were here. They have a nice woody and smokey flavour that’s been fully embedded into the meat, it’s topped off with a barbeque sauce glaze. These are guaranteed to make you want to lick your fingers!
Their pan fried gnocchi is another stand out. Sage burnt butter with lemon forms the basis of this dish. How can any dish go wrong with these two ingredients together? It’s just not fair! Then sweet potato, pine nuts and little balls of goat cheese are added in. While you’re enjoying the perfectly cooked and fluffy gnocchi, the goat cheese just bursts in your mouth. As the goat cheese flavour mellows down, the sweetness of the potato takes over. The problem with a lot of gnocchi’s is that it can feel a bit heavy and bloated, no such problem here even with the goat cheese. Other dishes such as the spatchcock and the chunky beef & wild mushroom pie were also exceptional. And this is what The Tippler & Co. does so well, they just understand how food should taste. It’s never bland or overseasoned, they just hit the mark consistently and they do it so effortlessly. Their dishes remind me of some country style dishes. Whilst there are similarities with the taste and ingredients used, what I’m really thinking of is the way the food here makes me feel. The food here gives me this warm and fuzzy feeling, the same feeling I get when I’m having hearty country style dishes.
Now the big question on your mind right now is probably… price? Well it’s our go to place to take our friends because the prices here are really reasonable! The last thing we want is to make anyone feel uncomfortable with high food prices. The smaller items such as the roasted cauliflower salad and smoked chicken ribs are around the $10 mark, and the larger meals such as the pan fried gnocchi, pie and spatchcock are in the low $20 price range. Excellent value considering all the dishes come in very decent portions.
The service has always been excellent at The Tippler & Co. They seem to really enjoy their jobs and it shows in their level of service. They are attentive and also break down the waiting staff / customer barrier. My impressions of them are that they are honest and down to earth. If we over order they will be the first to let us know. Their menu knowledge is also impeccable and can pretty much answer any questions you may throw at them. All while still making the effort to come and have a chat with us about a wide range of topics. This is the service I feel most comfortable with and I really appreciate their efforts. One minor disadvantage of The Tippler & Co. is probably the location, it’s situated in East Melbourne and therefore a little far away from the CBD walking wise. However there is a bar here serving a wide range of spirits and beers which should make for a pretty good night! A part of me doesn’t want to give away this hidden gem of a restaurant, well what can I say, guess I’m just a generous person. Do give The Tippler & Co. a try and I’m sure they’ll fulfill your heart with warm and lovely foods.
The Tippler & Co.
Approx $35 AUD per person
58 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne, VIC 3002
Phone:+61 3 9416 0618