Alex: When walking into the naturally lit, earthy toned Left Of Field cafe in Rhodes, there is an automatic sense of warmth. Left of Field (or conveniently abbreviated LOF) is a relatively new kid on the block, just about to hit it’s first month of trade.
No attention to detail has been lost here and this it seems, is vital to the experience at LOF.
Myself, Bianca and Vanessa rocked up at 10am and the place was pumping. Owners, Matt and Clovice (Coco) took the time to go around to everyone’s table to have a chat and really made you feel welcome.
One of the most eye catching features is the beautiful circular hole in the back wall which looks into/out of the kitchen pass.
A yellow neon light elegantly circulates the metal feature making the entire cafe pop and gives it a somewhat elevated sense of style.
Since a lot of people might not actually know much about the owners and chef I feel like I should give you a brief run-down behind the brains of this creative concept.
Head Chef Ash has an incredible resume that spans the likes of The Fat Duck in London, working with Marco Pierre White at Wheelers St James. As well as some closer to home, including Est, Bistro Guillaume and Guilaume at Bennelong. The attention to detail and his background of fine dining shines through in the presentation of the cafe style food, as well as the menu itself. Think truffle, siracha chilli, duck egg and other weird and wonderful combinations with a slight middle eastern influence that derives from Matt and Coco.
Matt has over 12 years experience in the hospitality industry with 6 of those years being under some of the most renowned hospitality groups in Australia including; Urban Purveyor Group, Merivale, and Sand Hill Rd looking after the now famous Richmond Club Hotel and Prahan Hotel. Clovice has a background in marketing and graphic design and is the brains behind the logo and branding. He has worked for SilverNeedle hospitality in the past.
Before ordering up a feast, we started with some single origin blend coffees. Kudos to the Barista because he is doing the brand justice. We also sneaked in some cheeky scrolls (that we ended up taking home).
To start we ordered the House made Pomegranate and date granola, with grilled peach, honeycomb and labneh, $14 Most cafes nowadays offer this as a standard meal but this was next level. The added addition of the honeycomb which is a “secret blend” (which we were let in on) added an unusual dimension and texture to the dish. The labneh which is made in house, had a nice mix of salty and tangy flavours.
The Hotcakes with caramelised banana, earl grey custard and maple popcorn $16 are the perfect ‘instagrammable’ dish and thankfully tasted just as good. A very generous serving for the price as well. Each layer was fluffy and contrasted well the crunchy popcorn. The only thing we would say is that it needs more of that earl grey sauce even if it was put in a bowl that can be poured over the top (perfect for the slow mo insta videos that Bianca so enjoys creating). And thankfully the popcorn retained that perfect crunch, not becoming soggy at all.
Another common appearance in many a Aussie breakfast is the standard avo on toast but LOF again has surprised us with the Heirloom tomato, chilli and lime, avocado, goats cheese on toast $15. The spicy sriracha sauce was a great addition and something I have never had paired with avocado. Vanessa did find it to be a little too hot but this is obviously a subjective thing.
A crowd favourite of the day was the Grilled figs with proscuitto, candied walnuts, meredith goats cheese and nasturtium $18.50. Amazing! Such a light and unique approach to a very Mediterranean dish. The candied walnuts were the stand-out.
The Pork burger, pig cheek schnitzel, kimchi slaw, fried egg and mayo served with crispy pig ear fries $21 Definitely an interesting dish. I think the crispy pig ears could’ve been substituted for either regular fries (which they can do) or maybe, beer battered chips, considering that the whole meal is rather heavy anyway. Bianca suggested some polenta fries!! The flavour in the actual burger was really great. Wonderful rich flavours that excited the tastebuds but the table was torn. I felt as though the burger was quite moist but Bianca and Vanessa both agreed that it was a little on the dry side and needed more of the creamy kimchi slaw or an additional sauce. The actual pork ‘schnitzel’ was very tasty and paired with the fried gooey egg made for a interesting take on a burger. The burger queen blesses this with a 3.7/5 pickles.
I also had a quick opportunity to see what the chef’s see through the pass. Very interesting and clever set-up.
So ladies and gentlemen. I leave you with a few images where you can clearly see just how well the team at LOF has managed to create such a bright, welcoming and minimalistic cafe.
Until next time!