658 Church St Richmond, Melbourne VIC 3121
Created by the same great minds behind Two Birds One Stone and The Kettle Black, Top Paddock in Richmond has been one of Melbourne’s brunch giants since its opening in 2013. Much like its siblings, expect to find a bright, open space filled with wooden-top tables, gorgeous greenery, delicious food and even better coffee. Their menu combines a mix of signature classics (think Instagram-able ricotta hotcakes) as well as exciting and innovative dishes, all prepared using the highest quality produce sourced directly from local suppliers (who are acknowledged on the menu itself).
K and I love to drop by whenever we don’t feel like experimenting and are just in the mood for consistently great food. The main downside is that they only accept bookings on weekdays, and only for groups of 4+, so if you’ve got a Sunday brunch in mind, be prepared to wait for your meal. It’s lucky the café itself is so pretty – I like to wander around their little vegie patches full of vibrant chillies, flowers and edible greens, and find that the time often passes more quickly.
Refreshing and not-too-sweet, even with the sneaky scoop of ice-cream.
My pick is always the soft-shell crab burger – sure it’s pricey at $21 a pop, but you’re rewarded with a sizeable serving of crab that’s tender and crispy at the same time. Served between a fluffy brioche bun smothered in lime mayo, it’s surprisingly well-balanced thanks to the fresh, zesty salad.
There’s really nothing quite like fall-apart, flavourful pork belly, especially when combined with perfectly poached eggs and crispy, buttery bread. The onions also added a lovely sweetness to the dish. My only criticism was that the blueberries and apples seemed more like throwaway additions to the plate rather than actual elements – I think perhaps ditching one of the fruits and featuring the other more heavily would have worked better.
Absolutely swoon-worthy, not just in appearance but also in taste. The first mouthful of this soft, fluffy hotcake is pure dessert bliss, especially if you happen to get a bite of ricotta in there too. Tartness comes in the form of perfectly plump blueberries, as well as the other assortment of seasonable fruits on top, while the pumpkin and sunflower seeds add great texture. My only word of advice on this dish – share it between at least 2 – it may look innocent but a very real case of diminishing returns happens when eating it. That being said, I still order it every time, because it truly is irresistible.
Top Paddock is truly one of my favourite cafés in Melbourne and it’s easy to appreciate why. Their dishes are beautiful, delicious and full of fresh, local ingredients. On top of that, I value their consistency – every time I visit, I leave feeling well-treated by the staff, well-fed by the food and just…happy – and isn’t that the most important thing of all?