I hate queues, so always do my best to avoid cafes at peak times or wait until the “hottest opening” buzz dies down. Last week I made a short detour to Carnegie during the week to check out newly opened Left Field, and even on a Thursday before midday there was a waiting list. Luckily for us, there was only a ten minute wait since we opted for an outdoor table, trying to soak up the last rays of the autumn sunshine.
Left Field is brought to you by the team behind Tall Timber and Short Straw, and with Ryan Lording at the head of the kitchen (as well as being a co owner) I was expecting big things.
Perched on a corner, the cute neighbourhood cafe at the intersection of Koornang and Leila Roads, is housed within an historic white building, the former home of a suburban Indian restaurant. Fortunately the bright pink hues have given way to a light and airy space, full of blonde timber and blue tones.
On first impressions, its obvious they still have teething problems, but for a new cafe that’s to be expected. Due to billing issues, only one party is able to sit in each table outside, which means that many tables accommodating six people only had one or two people sitting at them – very frustrating for patrons eagerly waiting in line.
There’s plenty of outdoor tables on the footpath, as well as a little courtyard area at the rear (on our visit this was only opened at weekends).
The all day breakfast menu is a nice balance between health conscious and extreme decadence. On the healthy side, there’s a super comforting vanilla, cinnamon and coconut oat and chia porridge, smashed avocado on quinoa toast and an incredibly handsome beetroot cured ocean trout. At the other end of the spectrum, there’s a pulled pork burger, served on a black brioche bun, and cookies and cream donut sliders with salted caramel, bananas, honeycomb figs and pistachio. It’s the kind of menu where you want to order all of the above. A few extra lunch dishes are also available in the “something more” menu from 12pm.
Coffee is by Niccolo; my flat white was nicely brewed, and quite strong just the way I like it.
Photos of the bircher muesli have been taunting my tastebuds on Instagram for weeks, so I couldn’t go past this dish for breakfast. Infused with cinnamon, dates and coconut the bircher had a great texture and not too sweet. A saffron poached pear was firm to the touch, but soft enough to sink a spoon right into. The porridge is finished with orange blossom, figs, cacau crumble and a heavy scattering of pistachios to give it a nice texture.
My favourite dish was the sauteed middle eastern cauliflower teamed with a chickpea and kale hash. It may not look as pretty as the bircher, but it was a a flavour and textural bomb. The cauliflower was topped with two perfectly poached eggs and finished with tahini, pomegranate and sumac hummus.
I can’t wait to come back and try more of the menu.
LEFT FIELD CARNEGIE
A 358 Koornang Rd, Carnegie VIC 3163
T (03) 9578 2043