The Kettle Black in South Melbourne (Melbourne)

Did your eye catch it? If you’ve spotted that the plate of food which headlines this article appears to be almost identical to the picture of my write-up on Top Paddock, you’re right. Why? The team which originated Top Paddock went on to open The Kettle Black in South Melbourne, near Albert Park. Whilst Top Paddock is famous for their Hot Cakes (i.e. that dish above), which The Kettle Black also serves, this cafe trumps Top Paddock aesthetically. A lot of thought (and money) went into renovating this place – it is clearly evident – and I applaud the owners for treating Melbourne’s cafe goers to a wonderful sight. There are too many components to this cafe to describe, and I get giddy with looking around, so best to let the pictures speak for themselves (even then, you have to see this cafe for yourself!).


In my opinion, this is easily the most beautiful cafe in Melbourne, and lifts the benchmark for how cafes should look. Some might argue that The Kettle Black is no longer really a “cafe”, but a fine dining restaurant that happens to serve breakfast. I’m not complaining. So: my eyes have been satisfied. Let’s talk about the food.

Cape Grim beef with house-made mustard, seasonal fruit relish and leaves on the Kettle Black bun

Benedict style eggs with braised pork shoulder and aerated hollandaise
Seasonal local mushroom – cooked and raw – on toast with mushroom power and fresh goat curd (added egg)
Hotcake with ricotta, blueberries, pure maple, double cream and seeds
Again, my eyes were satisfied (and so was my camera, which probably meant that by the time I ate, I couldn’t really tell if the food came out warm or cold). Taste-wise, it varies. I expected the beef burger to be hearty and rich, but instead it was rather light. Granted, the slices of juicy, pink steak surely met the “gourmet” brief, but I didn’t necessarily want to feel hungry after paying $23 for the meal. The pork dish was slightly more filling (again light on seasoning), but the mushrooms were exceptionally delicious. I think the hotcake here might be better than the one at Top Paddock!

On a second visit, I tried different dishes and I’m utterly convinced now that the food here is exceptional.

Snapper burger with chilli caramel
Fresh kingfish with potato crisps, tomato, avocado & leaves
Their sides deserve a mention too! White creamy Burrata (fresh!) and tender slices of chorizo bursting with flavour.
I also discovered the true star of the show at The Kettle Black. Do not leave here without trying this dish!

Coconut-set chia seeds, fresh Queensland mango, strawberries, blueberries, coconut, maple, macadamia and local rose petals
What about the coffee, I hear you ask. Well, on my first visit [Dec 2015], I was somewhat let down; an already weak roast was made even more forgettable by being overly milky.

On my second visit [in March 2016] however, things took a drastic change for the better! I had a strong flat white and it was as robust as any other coffee I’ve had. The long black also seemed perfect without any overwhelming sour aftertaste.

Feast your eyes and tastebuds on the many morsels of dessert at the front counter.

I’d say it’s certainly worth your trip to South Melbourne for The Kettle Black. Be warned though, there are lines – but it’s well worth it.


The Kettle Black
50 Albert Road
South Melbourne
+61 (3) 9088 0721

See how this cafe ranks on The Hungry Wolf’s list of Melbourne’s Best Cafes!



4 thoughts on “The Kettle Black in South Melbourne (Melbourne)

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