The Kettle Black – Next Level Cafe

panda 3.5 rating

Menu:
Drinks Menu Food Menu Drinks Menu

Leading up to and in the just the few days that The Kettle Black had opened there been a lot of hype surrounding it – from the visual spectacle of the venue to the highly anticipated crayfish roll and of course, the delicious coffee. So of course I had to go and check it out for myself.

I decided to go during lunchtime (a late lunch around 2pm) as it is a short 10 minute tram ride from work. The Kettle Black is located on Albert Road in South Melbourne – a short walk from Domain Interchange. As you make your approach to The Kettle Black you are greeted by the white visual spectacle – a combination of a grand old Victorian building together with the ground floor of an Elenberg Fraser designed residential complex – 21 storeys in fact (!) – called Fifty Albert.

This magnificent -must try place – is brought to you by the team who are responsible for places like Top Paddock, Two Birds One Stone! Jesse McTavish (chef from Top Paddock) together with Top Paddock owner Nathan Coleman, along with business partners Ben Clark and Diamond Rozakeas, as well as Tim James (Two Birds One Stone) and Sam King (ex De Clieu). What a team! Coleman is in charge of the running the floor with King in charge of the coffee side of things.

The fit out is designed by the awesome twosome Kestie Lane and Hana Hakim from the quirky cool design company Studio You Me. They have brought two very different worlds seamlessly together using white walls, green Italian tiles as well a marble and brass detailing. The breathtakingly beautiful building begins with an outside eatery area located in front of the Victorian terrace. As you enter the venue there is a coffee cart where you can purchase takeaway coffees whilst you wait. Once you step inside you are greeted by a hotel like reception / cashier desk / sweet counter – there are a selection of sweet treats on display for you to choose from including the melt-in-your-mouth doughnuts from Doughboy Donuts.
From here the interior splits into two halves – the left side sits in the converted apartment block and is complete with a modern vibe, high ceilings (which is simply stunning and has a great effect thanks to a method of layering of white tiles against each other), fresh sunlight streaming in – thanks to the floor to ceiling windows – as well as an emerald green tiled and marble barista station. There is also the striking porthole-like wall which is a highlight in this room. The right side sits in the Victorian terrace side has a more homely feel complete with gold and brass trimmings (a very interesting looking light fitting that is reminiscent of two gold earrings), flowers and arched windows.
Another highlight that I saw whilst waiting for my table was the unique watering station – which consisted of a stone base with a gold sink and finished black tap ware with small square tiles in the background. Tables are wooden and there are mixtures of low tables, as well as one tall communal table. You can sit at the barista marble bar as well – with the look finished with green stools. What is also great is the addition of flowers in bottles throughout the venue – adds colour and class to the already classy venue.

The menu by McTavish is focussed on using mainly Victorian produce – or Australian when Victorian isn’t possible. The relishes and butter are made in house with bread supplied from Burnham Beeches, Wallaby from Flinders Island, Steak from Robbins Island, Seafood from King Island and house-fermented yoghurt. Coffee (espresso) is a custom blend from 5 Senses, as well as a rotating single origin. Filter coffee is sourced from specialists such as Small Batch and Market Lane. Another interesting fact to note is that The Kettle Black makes their own compost which they then use to grow their own leaves, herbs and flowers in their greenhouses and gardens.
Drinks include Cold Press Juices (there are two to choose from) as well as Fresh Juices (Orange or Ruby Grapefruit). There are also a selection of bottled drinks as well as Ice Chocolate and Iced Coffee available, as well as Tea.

The food menu comprises of a unique take on your normal breakfast dishes – there are a variety of combinations that are served with eggs that you wouldn’t usually see such as Chilli Scrambled Eggs with Air Dried Flinders Island Wallaby or Tataki Ocean Trout with Raw Kale, Seaweed Salad and Poached Eggs. The famous hotcakes – that are served in Top Paddock – have made their place here on The Kettle Black menu. There is also Polenta Porridge, Fruit Toast, Muesli and House-Made Coconut Yoghurt. More food is available that strikes me as a lunch offering, however this isn’t stated – items like Kingfish with Potato Crisps, Robbins Island Wagyu Skirt Steak served on the Kettle Black Bun, Mixed Beans, Burrata and the famously known King Island Crayfish Roll.

Even during a late lunch hour – there was still a list of people wanting a table. I had a wait time of about 10-12 minutes. You don’t really feel the wait time as there is a lot that too look at and observe or even order a takeaway coffee from the coffee cart. I was seated at the marble bar, perched on a stool that allowed me to observe the coffees as they were cranked out. I ordered a latte whilst deciding on what I should eat.

The latte arrived shortly after and was delicious! It is definitely one of the best coffees I have had this year (refer to my Coffee page for their rating at https://thegrazingpanda.wordpress.com/coffee-worlds-best-pick-me-up/). The coffee was strong with notes of caramel mixed together with floral and a hint of citrus at the end. The after taste was creamy and memorable. I would happily make the trek from work on the tram just to have this coffee.

After much consideration I decided to order the King Island Crayfish in an Ash Roll with Native Coastal Spinach, Lime & Yuzu Mayonnaise. The Crayfish Roll comes served on a heavy stone curved square plate, with a lime wedge placed next to it. It is visually stunning especially against the grey backdrop of the stone. The ash roll is clearly evident together with the fresh smell of crayfish emanating through preparing your taste-buds. The green and purple of the native coastal spinach as well as the addition of the yellow flowers brings the whole dish together.
The bun was soft, warm and delicious. The crayfish was oozing freshness and flavour and was perfectly poached. The mayonnaise was tangy and full of all the right flavours, which brought the whole dish together, however I would have liked more mayonnaise in my bun. Overall, the dish was good but I wasn’t blown away as I had expected to be from all the rave reviews of the crayfish bun – it almost felt like an extra ingredient was needed to add more depth and flavour.

I also decided I needed to end on something sweet – so I ordered the House-made Coconut Yoghurt with Gluten-Free Grains, Seeds & Nuts, Toorak Station Prickly Pear, Rhubarb, Citrus Powders, Fruits and Flowers. The presentation of this dish was beautiful – too beautiful to the point that a part of me didn’t want to touch it – and reminded me of a flower garden bed. Served on a glossy black plate which allowed the white coconut yoghurt to really shine through and topped with the spectacular bright colours of the watermelon, strawberry, blueberries and assorted flowers, finished with citrus powders. The yoghurt was smooth, creamy and the perfect balance of the coconut flavours flowing through. I loved that the grains were hidden under the fruit – it made for a great surprise with every mouthful. The components of the dish worked extremely well together and the mix of flavours were tasty. My only criticism would be that the watermelon didn’t have the crunch and freshness I expected.

The staff are super friendly and accommodating in any way they can. The Kettle Black is one of those places that you will find yourself coming back to and when people ask me for a brunch place that I would recommend – this is the first place I tell them.

The Kettle Black exudes class, style and swank all without the attitude and pretense. The venue is delightful and a visual spectacle that is must see yet the atmosphere remains relaxed, lively and fun. The menu has been carefully designed and the dishes will get your taste buds pumping. The presentation is excellent and the coffee top notch. Come and see for yourself.

Rating : 3.5 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Refer to pictures above
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Breathtaking and Spectacular Venue – with a relaxed, carefree, lively and fun atmosphere. Definitely one to bring people from overseas or interstate – anyone really!
Service: Fantastic – Friendly, accommodating and welcoming
Online Booking: No
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://thekettleblack.com.au/
50 Albert Road, South Melbourne
Tel No: 9088 0721

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 7:00am – 4:00pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8:00am – 4:00pm

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Kettle-Black/707633809303415
Twitter: @kettleblackcafe
Instagram:
kettleblackcafe

The Kettle Black on Urbanspoon

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Filter by Small Batch – Coffee Perfection

panda 5 rating

Menu:

Breakfast  Lunch  Lunch  Coffee  Made to Order Coffee  Espresso  Tea and Cold Drinks

Where can you get great tasting coffee, as well as getting to try out an interestingly named “sandwich” called smørrebrød? The answer is the newly opened Filter by Small Batch Coffee – opened by Andrew Kelly (founder of Small Batch Coffee and its flagship Auction Rooms) – in the Melbourne CBD at the corner of Collins and King Street.

Filter came about after Broadsheet announced a competition called The Keys – giving a change to one of Melbourne’s reknowned and established coffee owners the change to pursue a new venture with the help of them and Bank of Melbourne. To perfect the process of getting Filter perfect – Kelly had the mentorship from some friends including Kate Bartholomew (Coda, Tonka), Nathan Toleman (Top Paddock, Two Birds One Stone), Chris Lucas (Chin Chin, Kong, Baby) and Bank of Melbourne’s Vanessa Hastie. The journey that was experienced in opening this venue can be found at Broadsheet at http://bankofmelbourne.com.au/thekeys

Filter is a spacious, light filled, warehouse like space at the bottom of the Denmark House building. The fit out is minimalist and simple – complete with light wooden tones and colourful yellow sunflowers dotted throughout the venue. There are two main counter areas – the one on the right displays the smørrebrød, desserts on offer as well housing the coffee machine and sparkling water – the one on the left is where people can sit down at, as well as having another area where you can view the filter coffee making process. Thru the centre of the area where you can sit are displays of all things related to coffee – such as a weighing scale, coffee cup and other coffee paraphernalia. I really do like the layout of Filter.

Filter is all about the coffee – and as the name suggests – the main focus is on filter coffee – which is coffee that is strained through paper. It does however serve espresso as well. Filter coffee is generally less intense than espresso and has a much “cleaner experience.” Filter also serves smørrebrød which Kelly believes is the perfect accompaniment to the perfect coffee. A smørrebrød is an open sandwich served on a thin slice of eye and commonly eaten by people from Denmark and Sweden. Smørrebrød consists of a piece of dark rye (a dense, dark brown bread. Pålæg) topped with anything really – from pickled fish and remoulade to cold cuts, pieces of meat, cheese or spreads. The smørrebrød here at Filter have been designed by Auction Rooms head chef Boris Portnoy.

I order a latte and from the very first sips I could tell that this would be my new favourite coffee joint. The flavour is brilliant – soft caramel tones with a note of creaminess and nuttiness through it. I usually have some sugar in my coffees, but with this coffee I didn’t need any at all. I really could have had multiple cups of coffee. There are coffees that are ready to go, as well as coffees that are made to order and range from coming from counties such as Colombia, Ethiopia, and Burundi.

Filter has 10 in house made smørrebrød to choose from – refer to the menu above for the different types. I ordered the Vegan smørrebrød – which consisted of Pine Mushroom Spread, Kale & Choke Chips, Carrot & Pasta Salad and has the Swedish name Dofta. This was my first time eating a smørrebrød and it was delicious! The rye was fresh and the saltiness of the mushroom spread worked well with the creaminess of the pasta and the crunch of the kale and choke chips. Smørrebrød’s are filling without giving you that heavy feeling of being full. I definitely want to head back and try some of the other toppings.

There are also tea’ from Storm in a Teacup (Collingwood) as well as cold drinks in the form of house made refreshing soda pops of which there are two flavours to choose from – Old fashioned lemonade called Citron and Fresh peppermint and vanilla called Mynte. These are next on my list to try out.

For coffee lovers, people who are still not quite sure about coffee or for anyone really – do yourself a favour and check out Filter. You really won’t regret it! If you want more information about Filter and The Keys story you can refer to the following link bankofmelbourne.com.au/broadsheetthekey

During Filter’s first month of trade, Bank of Melbourne customers who show their bank card between 7 and 11am will receive a free filter coffee.

Rating : 5 Pandas
Price: $
Menu – Refer to menu above – Breakfast, Lunch, Coffee, Tea and Cold Drinks menu
Atmosphere / Ambience: Casual and Relaxed, Warehouse feel
Service: Friendly and they sure do know all about coffee
Restaurant Details and Location:
filterbysmallbatch.com.au
555 Collins Street, Melbourne
Tel No: 9620 1211

Opening Hours
Monday to Friday: 7am–4pm
Saturday: 8am–2pm

 

Two Birds One Stone – Bustling Brunch Venue

panda-3-5-rating2

Latte at Two Birds One StoneLatte at Two Birds One Stone

Roasted Field Mushrooms, Toasted House Made Brioche, Meredith Feta & WatercressRoasted Field Mushrooms, Toasted House Made Brioche, Meredith Feta & Watercress

Charred Corn, Haloumi & Zucchini Fritters with Guacamole & House Smoked SalmonCharred Corn & Zucchini Fritter with Haloumi, Guacamole & House Smoked Salmon

One Stone - Eggs, Mushrooms, Avocado, Spinach, Haloumi, House Smoked Corn and Tomato RelishOne Stone: Eggs, Mushrooms, Avocado, Spinach, Haloumi, House Smoked Corn & Tomato Relish

Two Birds One Stone is a newly opened cafe brought to you by the owners of Three Bags Full (in Abbotsford) and Liar Liar (in Hawthorn) – Nathan Toleman, Ben Clarke and Diamond Rozakeas – and is located in Claremount Street in South Yarra. This cafe it seems is always buzzing with activity and on the Sunday morning it was no different. We were after a table of three and were told that there would be about a 20 minute wait.

We were seated at the communal table – which can sit up to 20 people around the rectangular wooden table. This is the centre piece of the cafe and is surrounded by a few other table of twos, as well as three private booths which sit up to 6 people. The cafe decor is one of modern appearance – lots of light wooden features as well as tiled walls and suspended lighting together with bare light bulbs. Around the place is a selection of wild flowers which adds bursts of colour amongst a white backdrop.

In charge of the menu is head chef David Finlayson (ex Press Club) – where there are two sections – Breakfast and Lunch – although both are served all day. Breakfast has the typical dishes of muesli, toast and eggs – but various dishes have ingredients that you don’t usually find together. There is french toast with twice cooked marmalade, oranges and vanilla mousse, there is also banana bread with soured dates. Lunch consists of mainly different types of sandwiches, pides and a corn fritter dish.

I ordered the One Stone dish which comprises of Eggs, Mushrooms, Avocado, Spinach, Haloumi, House Smoked Corn & Tomato Relish. All the things that I love for breakkie – the only addition was the House Smoked Corn which I have never had in “big breakfast” type of dish. One of the poached eggs were cooked perfectly and was gooey and runny, however the other one wasn’t to this level and was somewhat over cooked. I did enjoy the addition of the corn to the meal, but overall, the other elements were pretty average and nothing to get too excited about. My friend G ordered the Corn and Zucchini fritters which were delightful. The Haloumi was used to hold these ingredients in the fritter together and brought the whole dish together, teamed together with the salmon and avacado – it really was a great dish! B ordered the mushroom dish which was quite good as well. The mushrooms were of great quality and were juicy and fresh and the feta added to this dish really complimented it. I should have stuck to my usual fave and ordered the mushroom dish =p

Coffee is great here too and is from Five Senses. I love the Tiffany blue saucers that the cups come on as well. The coffee is strong but delicate and creamy – just the way I like it. There is also some fine coffee art done too. Overall this place is buzzing with activity and has lines of people waiting with good reason. Some of their dishes can be a bit hit and miss, but I definitely want to come back and try their French Toast or Banana Bread. There are also house made pastries on offer at the coffee bar for the sweeter side of things.

Rating : 3.5 Pandas
Price: $$
Menu – Breakfast and Lunch menu at http://www.twobirdsonestonecafe.com.au/menu/july-2012.pdf
Fullness: 100%
Atmosphere / Ambience: Buzzing and Energized
Standout Dish: Charred Corn & Zucchini Fritter with Haloumi, Guacamole & House Smoked Salmon
Service: Friendly and Happy
Online Booking: No – suggest that you go either really early or after 12:30pm to easily score yourself a table, otherwise there is generally a 15-20 minute wait – sometimes shorter.
Restaurant Details and Location:
http://www.twobirdsonestonecafe.com.au/
12 Claremount St, South Yarra
Tel No: 9827 1228

Opening Hours:
Monday to Friday: 7am to 4pm
Saturday & Sunday: 8am to 4pm

Two Birds One Stone on Urbanspoon