Opening Hours:
Mon – Fri: 7am – 4pm
Sat – Sun: 8am – 4pm
*Kitchen closes at 3pm

Coffee: 5 senses, single origins

Mr LB:
“It’s easy to stay on the same path rather than reinvent yourself. Reinventing yourself requires motivation, self-reflection, a well-defined vision of the future and the key ingredient – action. We can all talk about our wildest dreams or ideas that will take the world by storm, however, action is what defines us. Action to move forward and step away from our comfort zone will see us either crack under the pressure or shine like the sun. You shouldn’t change a winning formula, but to stay ahead of the game in the Melbourne brunch scene requires a fresh, new direction to create that memorable moment. The original owners of Three Bags Full created a strong presence in delivering great coffee and food in Abbotsford. They could have stopped there but instead they decided to push the boundaries, crossing to the other side of the river and building the impressive (and one of our personal favourites), Two Bird, One Stone. Earlier this year they opened up another brunch spot, Top Paddock.

There is no denying that the cafe layout and interior design of Top Paddock is captivating and dazzling. The sci-fi light fixtures and use of black and white colours act as the perfect back drop to this modern cafe. Natural lighting plays a big role here with the multiple sky lights creating a warm and bright ambiance. The brilliant feature is the carefully thought layout, as it provides various seating arrangements and still retaining a sense of coziness.

Most people consider good coffee when it’s consistently delivered with the same quality. Visiting Top Paddock and Two Birds One Stone on numerous occasions and yet to have a poor coffee experience. This visit was no different. The flavours of my single origin El Salvador in a long black [$3.70] had was perfectly crispy with a smooth, nutty texture.

The menu options at Top Paddock were strong and unique. We couldn’t simply glance over menu – serious considerations needed to be made! I had already tried the Gin and Lime cured ocean trout filet with pickled baby beetroots, potato galette, poached eggs, leaves and Boatshed goats curd toast [$18.50] (which I highly recommend!), so I instead elected for the Pan-fried local Snapper with a chili – fried egg, avocado, salsa and lime and corn tortilla [$18.50].

Pan-fried local Snapper with a chili – fried egg, avocado, salsa, lime and corn tortilla

The presentation was simply stunning. The deconstructed elements were artfully matched in colour and placement. Another element I really loved was the versatility. You could act like a grown up and use your cutlery to work around the tortilla, or alternatively, take a hands-on approach by using your fingers and become one with the flavours. The snapper was cooked well – retaining its juiciness. The fish was intentionally kept to a minimal highlighting the bolder flavours found in the salsa, avocado and chili which could be customised in strength to develop a lovely, well-rounded flavour. The chili had a real kick. The fried egg was perfectly prepared and was soft and gooey. The only negative element in this dish was that the corn tortilla occasionally left a starchy taste on my palate. Overall, I was not only impressed by the big flavours that left me satisfied but I appreciative of the perspective the team at Top Paddock brought to brunch.

Top Paddock brings a special experience to Richmond which needs to be tried more than just once. While its strong reputation draws a crowd, due to its large space you won’t have too wait too long to experience this special moment.”

Miss SL:
“Back in the day before we started blogging, Mr LB and I used to brunch quite often. We would hit up our favourites, tentatively trying out new places every now and then. Every now and then Mr LB would recommend somewhere he had read about in Epicure or The Good Cafe Guide. These days we peruse the list of the cafe award winners and can’t stop the faces our bodies pull when reading through the list. Either there’s no real competition in the brunching game (in which case, we should cease blogging immediately!) or those that write the reviews have not been brunching nearly enough. Our latest cafe has been all the rage since opening, so it’s unsurprising that Top Paddock took out the 2013 award for Best New Cafe.

It was a big brunch date, with six of us in tow. Myself, Mr LB, Bond Girl and Mr Bond, Carly and the Doctor. Phew! You would think that it would be a long wait to be seated, but within the space of about fifteen minutes we were seated. Just enough time to enjoy the little interior design furnishing like the upside down teacup lights.

The space at Top Paddock is huge but well segregated with different seating arrangements and the barista station taking center stage in the middle.

We sat down and immediately started gossiping. House-hunting, work and life. Words began flying and I became hungry. Focusing in on the menu, I felt that it was a day to have something a little more traditional – Eggs Benedict – poached eggs with hamhock and bearnaise on toast [$16]. A double espresso [$3.70] was also on the cards, and I had the El Salvador blend which was very fruity and full bodied.

Eggs Benedict – poached eggs with hamhock and bearnaise on toast

Eggs Benedict – poached eggs with hamhock and bearnaise on toast

What came out was simply gorgeous. The hamhock was rich in flavour and very juicy. The bearnaise was salty and creamy with a hint of lime – not lemon – which was a mild but interesting twist. Unfortunately, the sourdough used couldn’t hold the sauce and went soggy. I needed a second coffee and ordered an affogato [~$5] in the single origin of the day. Flavours of punchy blackberry immediately rose the forefront of my palate.

Both Carly and Bond Girl decided on the Gin and Lime cured ocean trout filet with pickled baby beetroots, potato galette, poached eggs, leaves and Boatshed goats curd toast [$18.50].

Gin and Lime cured ocean trout filet with pickled baby beetroots, potato galette, poached eggs, leaves and Boatshed goats curd toast

Bond Girl noted the trout had a really beautiful, crisp skin and that it was perfectly poached. The beetroot was pickled in vinegar, creating a lovely acidity within the dish. Mr Bond had the Ricotta hotcakes with blueberries, organic maple, seeds and organic mascarpone [$15.50].

Ricotta hotcakes with blueberries, organic maple, seeds and organic mascarpone

The Doctor had her eyes set on the Fresh soft shell QLD. mud crab roll in fennel, dill & lime mayonnaise in a brioche bun [$21] and was singing praise from the moment she sunk her teeth into her dish.

Fresh soft shell QLD. mud crab roll in fennel, dill & lime mayonnaise in a brioche bun

Top Paddock is a cafe that offers a strong menu with strong customer service. Waitresses and waiters know when to approach you and when to leave you be. The coffees are consistently delicious. The menu offers something traditional and something bold and plates it up like a piece of art. We can gag all we like about the decisions made as to whether or not Top Paddock deserved top spot, we certainly can’t deny that it is one exceptional cafe.”

Final Thought: “Impressive coffee matched with art like food”

Top Paddock on Urbanspoon

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