Bar snacking with an ex-Attica chef

Published on 27 January 2021

Photo: Tommy Hope's cucumber with cottage cheese, caraway and saltbush (credit: Tommy Hope)

Hit Benchwarmer this weekend to catch chef Tommy Hope in his first post-Attica pop-up.

The Summer Camp isn’t the only extracurricular news from the Attica sphere this week; chef Tommy Hope is stepping out on his own, and while he’s keeping his longer-term plans to himself for now his immediate future – this weekend – is at Benchwarmer in West Melbourne where he’ll be doing snacks on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

If a one-bite croque monsieur of sorts sounds like your idea of a good time, Hope has you covered with a steamed bun loaded with bechamel, prosciutto and grana. It’s a pretty informal sort of caper.

"No bookings, just walk-ins,” he says. “I’ll be sending out a few snacks and small bites to accompany the extensive range of craft beers they have on offer." Pairing good food and good booze is not a concept that’s unfamiliar to the chef; prior to his three-plus years in the Attica kitchen he worked with Dave Verheul at The Town Mouse.

For the Benchwarmer dates he’s doing $5 bites (like that croque situation) plus share plates that land around the $12 mark. Cucumbers with caraway, cottage cheese and saltbush is on the list, along with pickled mussels with vadouvan, a garlic cream, wild fennel leaves and shavings of fennel.

Or you can dial things up a bit with Hope’s tribute to the bloomin’ onion, lavished with miso and a chicken-skin mayo. Yep, you heard right: a mayonnaise flavoured with crisped-up chicken skin.

And for dessert? Another beer, of course. Or Hope’s passionfruit, coconut and hazelnut arrangement. And another beer.

Tommy Hope at Benchwarmer, Friday 29, Saturday 30 and Sunday 31 January, Benchwarmer, 345 Victoria St, West Melbourne,

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