Thursday, December 5, 2013

Top Paddock, Richmond by Big Fil

Hmm, what is it that really makes me want to recommend a cafe to friends and family? While being well priced, a nice place to eat and good service are obviously important, the two things which I most look for are high quality food and something a bit different from your usual baked eggs/smashed avocado menu.

Top Paddock certainly ticks the food related boxes, having one of the most interesting looking menus I’ve seen at a Melbourne cafe. It’s also bright and open and comfortable, service was efficient and if prices for some items were a bit higher than the typical brunch options around town, sometimes if you want more you have to be willing to pay a little more for quality.

Arriving on a Sunday around 8.30 meant that we were able to choose a seat at the communal table (largely because of the better light for taking photos). While the queue for tables was under way when we left around 9.30, adequate spacing meant that we never felt that we were jammed in or the cafe was overcrowded.

Style wise the cafe is a departure from the familiar Fitzroy chic or warehouse look adopted by so many Melbourne cafes, unfussy with white tiles, clean lines and lots of natural sunlight. In some ways it felt more like a new mid-level restaurant than your typical cafe, creating a mood consistent with the ambitious menu.

Ordering took a few minutes because both Snooze and myself were interested in trying a number of items on the menu – a fairly rare occurrence. My eventual choice was the soft shell crab roll, Queensland mud crab with fennel, dill and lime mayonnaise in a brioche bun. I find that using a brioche bun with hamburgers, something very common in Melbourne at the moment, can lead to an sweeter dish than I like. However, in this case it perfectly complimented the generously fleshed crab. The quantity of crab was also generous, although at the price ($20 plus for a roll) the addition of shoestring fries or similar would have been nice.

Snooze’s choice was the white anchovies and jamon Serrano with fried eggs, peppers and manchego cheese on toast.

The assorted sweets near the counter looked like respectable breakfast dessert options. Planning to visit the nearby Burch and Purchase though meant that limited stomach capacity had to be preserved. Still, there’s always next time...

Pleasant location, polite and professional service and great food, Top Paddock is the latest addition to the ever growing list of great cafes to show visitors exactly what Melbourne cafe brunches are about. Make sure you get there early though or be prepared to wait, as it’s certainly popular with the locals.

Food – 9
Ambience – 8
Service – 8
Price – 7

658 Church Street
Richmond VIC 3121
Tel: (03) 9429 4332

Top Paddock on Urbanspoon

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