We’ll admit to some low-key Melbourne snobbery when it comes to Blackwork.
Croydon isn’t known for mind-blowing food, and our expectations on the drive over weren’t super high. But husband and wife team Evan and Laura have created something pretty awesome out here: a specialty coffee bar that could stand up to anything you find in South Melbourne, Fitzroy or Richmond.
Check your brekky privilege, Melbourne. Croydon is officially on the map.
This isn’t the first rodeo for Evan and Laura—they also own Round Bird Can’t Fly out in Lilydale, which has gained a bit of a cult following for its vegan menu. With Blackwork they wanted to mix things up. Hero the coffee, experiment with the food, and basically bring high-class brunch to Croydon.
Evan built pretty much all of Blackwork himself (nice when you’re handy with a power drill and an espresso machine). The double window frontage onto Hewish Rd means tonnes of natural light, and Evan has installed some pretty swish LED timber beams to frame the space. When we dropped by at 10am on a Saturday, the place was already rammed. “This is actually pretty quiet,” says Evan. “Ever since we opened it’s been non-stop.”
We’re not surprised, with food like this. Laura heads up the kitchen, and she’s put together an interesting little menu. We tried the Pork Belly Nasi Goreng, which was plate-lickingly good (think crispy pork belly, fried egg and a good kick of chilli). There’s also crumpets from Dr. Marty, croissants from Noisette and an entire plant-based vegan menu. The rosemary and potato terrine is probably our pick from that one.
“The menu changes a bit,” says Evan. “Laura gets bored too easily. She’s always experimenting and trying new things.”
Laura might handle the food, but Evan is definitely Blackwork’s coffee maestro. He keeps two drips, two filters and one rotating single origin espresso running at all times, plus a range of specialty teas (brewed to mathematical precision). And yep, you can froth a range of milk, depending on your tastes/stomach strength—coconut, almond, soy, the works.
Whatever you do, don’t leave without trying one of the homebaked treats in the pastry cabinet. We went with a rhubarb yo-yo the size of the average dinner plate—the perfect car snack on your drive back to the big smoke.
Image credit: Matt Dunne