Q&A with Halliday

Fast Five: Mischa Tropp

By Nola James

25 Jun, 2024

In this series, we ask industry members to share the five drinks that shaped their lives.

Chef Mischa Tropp is known for his commitment to Indian cuisine, having run events and pop ups around Melbourne between travelling extensively around the subcontinent, particularly Kerala, his mother’s homeland. You can find Mischa at hip new Collingwood eatery Toddy Shop by Marthanden Hotel (the latter a nod to his family name, rather than an accommodation offering), a 20-seat walk-in only restaurant inspired by the toddy shops and coffee houses of South India.

Mischa Tropp

01. JacMillar, Jaffna Special Toddy Palm Wine
Sri Lanka
I've visited Kerala almost every year since 2014. Some of my best eating experiences have been at toddy shops, small roadside shacks serving ‘toddy’, a refreshing, milky/sweet-sour beverage served with spicy food. Fast forward to today, and I never thought that I’d be opening my own take on a toddy shop. We stock JacMillar, a bottled toddy that is imported from Jaffna, in Sri Lanka, which we recommend drinking with our fish nadan, a spicy curry made with three types of chilli and soured with kokum, a small, dried fruit from the mangosteen family.

02. Avani Wines, Syrah
Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
I remember first drinking this wine when visiting Rohit Singh at Avani, his family’s vineyard on the Mornington Peninsula. It was insanely delicious (crunchy red fruits, silky tannins and white pepper), but the real thrill – and eye-opener was seeing firsthand just how much work went into it, especially the commitment to biodynamic principles. Rohit’s parents, Shashi and Devendra Singh, started the label in 2012. Before that, Shashi worked with Philip Jones at Bass Phillip, breaking new ground for the Indian diaspora in wine.

03. Two Rupees Brewing Company Lager
I’m a sucker for great branding and the Two Rupees Lager has it in spades. With its bright yellow can and bold red type inspired by traditional Sri Lankan and Indian typography, this is a crisp Australian lager made with pilsner malt and matueka hops that’s highly smashable and refreshing after a spicy hit. Founder Danny Perera is a great guy. He fell in love with brewing after migrating from Sri Lanka, working at Little Creature’s old beer hall on Brunswick Street before eventually opening the brewery with his best mate Amila Mendis.

04. Dutch Rules Distilling Co. New World Gin
Dutch Rules was set up by Danny Perera (Two Rupees) and Sai Merchant (Diplomatico) to showcase the influence of the Dutch East Indies and spice Islands on traditional European exports. They’ve just opened a cool new distillery and bar in Mitcham. I always thought that people were talking bollocks when they said gin could be drunk neat – until Sai dropped in a sample. It’s creamy (from macadamias), floral on the nose and distilled with juniper, pink pepper, coriander, jasmine and green tea.

05. Domaine Simha Paysan Fleur Savage
I’m completely over orange wine. The thing is, it still outsells any other style by the glass at Toddy Shop two-to-one. When we got this wine in from Nav Singh of Domaine Simha I was stoked – it’s bloody delicious and now I’ve got something on the list that I would drink, too. It’s a white wine, but it’s made like a red wine, with chardonnay and riesling grapes spending some time on skins. Another success story of Indians in wine, Nav makes single site Tasmanian wines that embrace whole bunches, wild fermentation and maturation in oak and clay amphora.