Common People - Mark Patterson (Ting Tong Kanteen)

It’s all colour and smiles when walking into Ting Tong Kanteen in Balnarring. Accessible, open and full of Asian flavour and ambience, this little gem generates five-star flavour-sensation dishes with a twist of southern coastal flair. You’re welcome here.  Mornington Peninsula Magazine chatted with owner/operator Mark Patterson who is as colourful and creative as his menu.

Why the name Ting Tong Kanteen – does it mean anything?

Ting Tong is a character in an English comedy series which we love, so it’s partly because of that. Ting Tong also means “crazy” in Thai, which we thought was funny too.

How long has Ting Tong Kanteen been in existence and why Asian Fusion food?

We’ve been open three years this coming January. We opened because we found a need for great fresh (not processed) Asian Fusion food on the Peninsula. We were driving to Melbourne to eat it which became a little hard with a young child in tow. So we opened Ting Tong.

What inspired you to plant business roots in Balnarring?

We live in Somers, so it was a lifestyle decision. We could also see Balnarring expanding, so we jumped in!

Please describe some of what’s on the menu over the next month or so.

The menu is about to change slightly, but we have some great new specials about to hit like our BI BIM BUB, which in short is a Korean chilli beef rice bowl with fried egg and pickled vegies. There’s a great new Thai salad coming too which consists of watermelon, lime, mint and a special fish crumble which is deliciously fresh for the warmer weather. Our specials board is constantly changing too.

Was there another professional life before Ting Tong Kanteen?

I had two retail stores before we opened Ting Tong - one in Flinders and the other on High St, Prahran. Prahran was also the head office for my main design business and furniture company 4M Pty Ltd. 4M was all about designing/manufacturing commercial quality furniture and lighting in Australia and selling it through the Australian architectural market and specifiers. We custom-made furniture for past prime ministers, archbishops and celebrities through to large and small corporates, hotels and restaurants. I also did a lot of interior design work on my own property developments, friends’ properties and restaurants, which I suppose led to me designing my retail stores and now Ting Tong.

What’s your favourite style in design and art?

I have a contemporary eye and I’m not afraid of colour. I love to mix things up a bit. I can work to a tight budget without it being blatantly obvious in the end result.

Tell me what you love about living on the Peninsula and how long you’ve been here.

We have lived here permanently for about eight years now. We had beach houses in Somers for a number of years, and like a lot of people loved it and made the sea change. We haven’t looked back since.

The new Ting Tong Bar has a dramatic continental cosy style – any favourite local designers or artists you follow?

We follow heaps of local artists and designers. A couple that stand out to me personally would be Tash Carah Photography from Mount Eliza and Manyung Gallery, also in Mount Eliza. Neil Williams from Flinders is great and I love Kate Walker’s Interior Design.

You’ve just been away on a trip. Any new decorations to add to the Ting Tong interior or your home?

Only a traditional straw hat for the bar from Vietnam … and heaps of great fresh food and market pics from Paris, Barcelona and London for our Instagram page!

How do you like to spend down-time with your family?

Because I’m working most nights and weekends I love to cook a meal … and that’s anything but Asian Fusion!

Any favourite haunts on the Peninsula other than your own restaurant?

The two most regulars would be Fontalina Pizza, for the best lasagne and pizza, and Le Bouchon, for fantastic French food and wine - both in Balnarring.

What’s next for Ting Tong Kanteen?

Maybe it’s time for a coffee and cake café and flower shop. Both are in the planning and under the same roof. Watch this space as we continue to grow!

Follow the news regarding Ting Tong developments on FB @Tingtongkanteen and on Instagram @tingtongkanteen