Their Richmond cafe Top Paddock recently scooped up the Best Cafe title in The Age Good Cafe Guide 2014. But with their next move, the Kettle Black's crew has set its sights on a chef's hat.
Top Paddock chef Jesse Mctavish has devised a technique-driven menu using top-quality ingredients such as Flinders Island wallaby, Robbins Island wagyu skirt steak, Burnham Beeches bread and house-made butter.
Keep an eye out for the King Island crayfish roll with yuzu mayo and coastal spinach, likely to challenge Top Paddock's runaway hit, the soft-shell mud crab roll.
"We want people to say 'Wow! That took some skill'," says Nathan Toleman, one of a team of owners that includes Mctavish, Ben Clark and Diamond Rozakeas from Top Paddock, former Two Birds One Stone manager Tim James and Sam King (ex De Clieu and Seven Seeds).
Studio You Me is responsible for the cool, calm fitout, which ties together the last terrace in Albert Road with the ground floor of new apartment building Fifty Albert, using white walls, green Italian tiles, and marble and brass detailing.
The doors were due to swing open this week. But Toleman says they have had to push the opening back to Tuesday, July 29. "We can't get rid of these tradesmen."
The cafe will open Monday to Friday 7am-5pm and Saturday and Sunday 8am-4pm.
The Kettle Black, 50 Albert Road, South Melbourne, 9088 0721, thekettleblack.com.au