Sweeten the palate and sweeten the soul. Top Paddock is a place where maple syrup oozes from within fluffy pancakes and poached eggs come in pairs on plates. It's where people go for morning fixes and others go for long lunches. Repurposed teacups hang from the ceilings, offering more than just a nice feature. They cast light across an array of cakes, slices and even the difficult to get your hands on croissants from Lune.
In good Australian fashion, there are more than two barista stations located within the beautifully set up cafe. For that extra coffee kick, you have the option of sitting right next to the the coffee counter while you enjoy a choice of fruit toast, oat porridge, pork belly or chilli scrambled eggs by the sun-lit windows.
It's even open for weddings and events, and with a spacious and naturalistic decor it somehow makes sense. Lines outside are long but the turn around time is decent, with a maximum wait on a Saturday morning going anywhere between ten to fifteen minutes. If the Melbourne weather is not suffering from its regular mood swings, it's an opportune time to soak up the sun with a take away coffee while you wait.
What appears to be your usual breakfast suspects - eggs benedict for example, is actually somehow altered in an exciting way. Eggs benedict arrives with poached eggs (of course!) but also with yuzu compressed apple, bacon crumb and pork jowl ($19.50). I am seriously loving this sudden interest in yuzu that has begun to pop up throughout the Australian culinary scene.
Other interesting menu options include Juniper and lime cured ocean trout, pickled baby beetroots, poached eggs and goats curd ($21.50), of which my mother ordered and thoroughly enjoyed.
The pickled beets looked like shining gems and the potato galettes were thinly sliced layers of carb heaven. The trout was cooked just enough so that it still retained a lush pinkness in the middle. The skin was crispy and the poached eggs exploded in precedented pops of orange across the plate. The potato galette was a fancier and more delicate version of scalloped potatoes and bode well with the rest of the items on the dish, balancing the creaminess of the goats curd and the tangy beetroot.
As mentioned before, almost everything on the menu comes standard with two poached eggs. How refreshing. After a little encouragement, my brother decided to steer away from the cereal and oats option, challenging a slightly heartier definition of breakfast - that being the pork belly with pickled and burnt onion, apples, poached eggs and fried bread ($21.50). This dish reminded me a little of Christmas, but I suppose that is what is to be expected when pairings of apple and pork play on the tongue.
Although there are plenty of 'see your cake and eat it too' options, it is far too hard to be able to have the heart to try them, specifically given the fact you're more than likely going to skip over the muffin and go straight to the main stars on the menu.
No matter how determined I was to try out one of their pretty cakes in the windows, my stomach was less than compromising given after one full dish and a few mouthfuls of others, I had absolutely no room to house a further delight.
The coffee is good, too. Surprised?
What seems to be a permanent fixture on the menu is the blueberry and ricotta hotcake with berries, maple syrup, seeds and cream ($21.00), with good reason. It's as delicious as it is pretty. I admit I had my suspicions at first, but the hotcake was in no way disappointing. This hotcake is pretty hot stuff and when you have such a winning recipe, you'll keep it and even replicate it at your sister cafes i.e. The Kettle Black.
The seeds and nuts added texture and crunch and the blueberries were riddled throughout the hot cake as well as on top. You'll find yourself eliciting an "mm" as a deep and earthy maple flavour exudes from the hotcake. I have to say though, this one hotcake is more filling than you would think and I failed to finish a good three spoonfuls of it and the remaining seeds and petals.
It is much more of a cake than a pancake, that is for sure, as it is thick and fluffy. It is also... what's another word for moist... Fresh? Dampish? Dewy? Either way, it is certainly not dry. The flowers are all edible too, of course.
Top Paddock does not disappoint. The hype is real here. Pretty and delicious modern Australian food is served up in an open and well designed cafe. The owners are the same minds behind Two Birds One Stone and The Kettle Black, of which attract a crowd on the regular in their own right. Much like the other cafes, Top Paddock's menu is a little more upscale but still offers the old breakfast and lunch favourites.
Definitely a place to add onto the Melbourne food list.
Monday - Sunday 7am - 4pm
658 Church Street, Richmond, Melbourne