Little Tommy Tucker is a sneaky little café on Centre Road in Bentleigh. I say sneaky, because even though my friend and I were specifically looking for it, we almost walked right past it. But we didn’t, because of all the people. Tommy is a popular boy, and rightly so.
We snuck in around lunch time and snagged a table for two: very soon we were told with some regret that the zucchini cake was unavailable. It turns out that this is the first rule of Little Tommy Tucker: get there early if you want guaranteed zucchini deliciousness. Instead, I went for the Eggs Benedict with Ham Hock—I hadn’t had one for a while, and someone on Foursquare boldly declared it to be the best breakfasts he’d ever had. I was not disappointed.
A lot of the time, eggs benedict feels like a hollandaise sauce delivery mechanism: all the flavours, especially the ham, get subsumed in creamy sweetness. This ham hock, however, really took the fight to the hollandaise: juicy, delicious and very generously proportioned. The effect was, indeed, one of the best benedicts I can remember consuming. I very much appreciated a sprinkle of greenery on top, as well. I don’t, strictly speaking, remember if it affected the taste, but it made the dish look far more appetising than the usual explosion of sauce.
My friend went for the lamb with chilli scrambled eggs. We later found out she’d ordered the dish most popular with dudes, but it turns out it has cross-gender appeal.
Despite not being a huge lamb-fan, she loved it: a decent serving, but not so huge that she couldn’t get through it. More importantly, it was not so small that I didn’t get a few mouthfuls. In general, I’m of the opinion that the addition of chilli to anything will improve it: these scrambled eggs did not contradict me.
A big endorsement for Tucker was the fact that we were desperate to come back: a few weeks later we did, and finally managed to get a zucchini cake (the last one of the day!). This, for those keeping track, is the most popular menu item with the ladies.
The texture of the cake was perfectly soft and moist. I have fond memories of my Granny's zucchini slices, but even with these in mind, the flavour was excellent, and even better with the asparagus. This meal’s a bit smaller than some of the others, but still perfectly filling: a good choice if perhaps you don’t want to stuff your face with the best ham hock you’ve ever tasted.
The service on both occasions was excellent and attentive: I was never wanting for coffee, which was good, because the Dukes coffee on offer was pretty delicious. All in all, this is one of my favourite cafés in the south of Melbourne: the only strong rival I can think of is The Little Ox… which is also “Little”. Coincidence? Well, yes.
Little Tommy Tucker
432 Centre Road
Bentleigh, VIC 3204