Tonka offers an altogether distinctive dining experience where patrons are immersed in a restaurant like no other. With a focus on materiality and texture the design responds to a challenging site; the long narrow tenancy has a bar to one end and a dining-room to the other.


Mykal and Kate Bartholomew


Melbourne CBD

The Traditional Custodians of this land

Wurundjeri people



Gross Floor Area



Interior Design


Shannon McGrath


Naomi Troski - Installation Artist

The design for Tonka plays out around the structure of the kitchen. Heavily focused on materiality and texture, bold steel details are offset against soft stained timber and an overarching lighting installation by local artist Naomi Troski.

We created a captivating spatial relationship in the balance between the clean lines and the highly ethereal mesh installation.

“The location presented an opportunity and constraint at the same time. A concealed entrance, windows, and an outlook at only one end of the site, and the long, slim nature of the space provided significant planning challenges.”

– Nick Travers, Director

Constraints playing into design

The design of Tonka responds to a uniquely challenging existing shell where limited access to natural light and the locations of existing services pushed program to either extremity of the long narrow tenancy; a bar area to one end and a dining room to the other. The kitchen exists in the centre and interacts with patrons of both sections in a genuinely engaging manner.


The use of the pink and blue hues and the mesh installation reference Indian culture in a really contemporary and
abstract way.  The mesh installation also loosely references the successful lighting in their original restaurant Coda, giving a nice synergy between the two restaurants.



Copycat Bar & Restaurant

Tippy Tay