Code Black was always meant for North Melbourne. Its Brunswick site, which opened in early 2013, was an afterthought. But, after an unusually long incubation, the Howard Street cafe finally swung its doors open last month. “It has been a long project, in the making for four years now,” says manager Sarah Tarrant Kuang. “Originally this would have been our main site, but it was a blessing in disguise because we’d never have fitted our roastery in here.”

Plonked about midway between Seven Seeds and Auction Rooms, the second Code Black is shaping up to give the local roasters a run for their money. House blends change seasonally (it’s currently Costa Rican and Ethiopian), while filter and single origins will be roasted in a small in-house machine to complement the main roastery in Brunswick .

Executive chef Steve Rangiwahia has crafted a crowd-pleasing menu. There is a signature breakfast dish featuring applewood-smoked salmon back served with horseradish hollandaise and potato rosti. Or Granola with rhubarb. For lunch there is “T-rone” steak sandwich with jalapeno mustard and fried haloumi, named in honour of the Melbourne street artist. If you’re after something a little lighter, consider the turmeric poached chicken salad.

Code Black’s Zwei Interiors fit-out is somewhat softer than its Brunswick counterpart, with lacquered green steel beams, plush stools and slatted blonde wood. An intriguing mezzanine level that hangs above the kitchen will soon be completed, offering more seating for when the inevitable wait for tables arrives.

Code Black Coffee
119 Howard Street, North Melbourne

Daily 7am–5pm