What do you do when you have a successful business venture? Well, you expand of course. The newly opened Kettle black is an extension of the highly successful and delicious Top Paddock. Famed for their unforgettable ricotta hotcakes, adorned with berries, organic maple and florals, the chain is known for exquisite plating and stylish interior. It was no surprise that when Kettle Black opened its doors, the fanfare and expectations were tremendously high.  But how does the sister compare to its famous parent?


Top Paddock has long been a Melbourne favourite. It’s signature presentation encompassing delicate touches of micro herbs and florals, makes Top Paddock dishes instantly recognisable and ‘oh so instagram worthy’.  There are advantages and disadvantages to technical plating, very often customers are presented with a stunning dish, only to be disappointed by flavour. This is where Top Paddock reigns it’s superiority over Kettle Black. The dishes taste as mouth-watering as its appearances. For the savoury lovers, the go-to dish is the roasted kipfler potatoes and leek omelette, embedded with sizeable chunks of taleggio, padron peppers and a sliver of jamon sarrano.

The raved about dish; however, are the blueberry and ricotta hotcakes. It’s positively #instafamous and deservedly so.  Sweet treats are all about eating with the eyes and mouth, and these hot cakes are an all round sensory experience. Cutting into the hotcakes releases an aroma of sweet maple, intertwining the nostrils and tantalising the tastebuds. Texturally, the tastebuds are greeted with the crunch of mixed seeds, the smoothness of double cream and the soft fluffiness of hotcake batter. Visually, the colours are vibrant and the plating is a beautifully chaotic. Plump blueberries are revealed, lovingly baked into a thick maple batter, finished with a quenelle of double cream and sprinkled with dehydrated berry powder. Oh so Pretty. The hotcakes are sizeable in portion. I recommend sharing with a friend if your easily sugar-loaded. Conclusively, you cannot leave Top Paddock without trying these hotcakes. You cannot! Top Paddock is my all-round favourite brunch place in Melbourne, and being a ‘hungrycookie’, this is not an understatement. 

Blueberry & Ricotta Hotcakes w/ Berries, Organic Maple, Seeds 


So, Melbourne, here is another ridiculously good looking cafe to add to your growing list of brunch places to try. I hate to use the word juxtaposition, as it brings to mind hairy hipsters talking about ‘art’, but I can think of no other word to describe Kettle Black. It reminds me of the movie ‘Up’, where grumpy protagonist Carl Fredricksen finds his little cottage sandwiched between buildings, that could only be described as barren and sterile. The porcelain white of the Victorian inspired architecture, is a prominent contrast to its glassy neighbours. It certainly is a picturesque image and I assure you there are no angry old men brandishing balloons in sight.

Similar to Top Paddock, the chefs have mastered the art of plating, producing aesthetically pleasing dishes that arouses one’s interest. Disappointingly, Kettle Black did not meet expectations in terms of taste. The service made me feel invisible, it was not a busy day. The dishes we tasted were bland, small portioned and over-priced. The exception was the yoghurt which was HUGE, almost too huge for one person. I really wanted to like Kettle Black, but I’m afraid Top Paddock is the winner in these circumstances.