When you’ve already opened Tall Timber, Touchwood, Rustica Canteen and Short Straw, and you’re launching a new cafe, the biggest problem is coming up with a new name. “We generally go through the naming process, and it’s a continual struggle,” says Steve Rawley. “Someone said, ‘You really need something from left field’. And we liked the sound of that.”
So, get ready for Carnegie’s newest venue: Left Field. Set on the corner of Koornang and Leila Road, the cafe was previously the home of a bright pink Indian restaurant. Architect Fiona Drago has worked up a design. The furnishings are being custom made by Jason Blake from Iamnotmason. The musk-pink exterior, however, is going. “I think the neighbourhood was pretty keen to lose the pink,” says Rawley. “But we’ll have pink references throughout. It’s such a well-known building in the area, we don’t want to totally drop that.”
The project brings together Matt Vero (Rustica Canteen, Marquis of Lorne), Hugh Hindle (Short Straw, Homeslice Pizza) and Kerry Townley (Tall Timber). Tall Timber’s head chef, Ryan Lording, will be on the pans. “He’s a bloody good chef,” says Hindle. “He lost about 30 kilos a few years ago from eating paleo, so he’s got a good understanding of healthy eating, and he always puts out healthy food. I’m really confident he’s going to deliver the goods out in Carnegie.”
Along with a health-focused breakfast and lunch menu, Left Field will serve Niccolo’s house-blend coffee and a range of single-origins. A liquor licence is somewhere down the track.
The partners settled on the Carnegie location because they believe their existing customer base is moving into the outer suburbs. “The young families we were serving in Prahran and Richmond, they’re moving further out as they grow up, to get more space,” says Rawley. “In some ways, we’re following our consumer.”
The building is currently under construction, but Rawley expects Left Field to be open for the Anzac long weekend: “I gave the chippies a bit of a hurry up yesterday.”
Left Field opens at 358 Koornang Road, Carnegie in late April.