If you ask owner Fraser Davies how he came to name his cafe Field Black, you’ll get a couple of answers.
The meaning of “Black” changes depending on your provenance. If you’re a Melburnian, “black” refers to the city’s (stereotypical) penchant for black clothes, and its thriving coffee scene.
But Kiwis like himself will get a different explanation: it refers to the New Zealand All Blacks rugby team.
Davies has a 20-year career in the tourism and hospitality industries, seven of which he spent managing The Fitz on Brunswick Street. He always talked about opening a place of his own but his wife and business partner Tiffany provided the nudge he needed to make it happen.
Head chef Ritchie Boucher is also from New Zealand. He spent six years as the head chef at Oakridge winery in the Yarra Valley and changes the menu every three months.
For example, the autumn offering includes breakfast gnocchi with shiitake, enoki, shimeji and oyster mushrooms, goat’s curd and chilli butter; and a sticky-date hotcake with salted-caramel sauce, peanut brittle and Jaffa ice-cream.
Davies worked on the polished monochrome interior with Amanda Meiklejohn of Williams Ross Architects. Previously Northern Eatery restaurant, the light-filled site attracted Davies’s attention long before he considered moving in.
There are two outdoor areas, a white picket fence entrance with greenery and broad umbrellas, and the back courtyard. Dogs are welcome.
For the kids, there are hardcover books and wooden toys in a dedicated – hidden – play area.