Nestled towards the end of Church Street as it stretches across the Yarra River and becomes Chapel Street, Top Paddock in Richmond has become one of the more popular “gourmet” cafes to rise amongst the favourites in Melbourne. Such is the idolisation that at the peak of lunch time, it would be very common to be queueing for at least 30 minutes (bear in mind the restaurant is large enough to accommodate a large crowd). It’s no surprise since it was named by The Age’s Good Food Guide as cafe of the year in 2014.
In my opinion, Top Paddock should not be so much revered for its coffee as it is to be beloved for the so-beautiful-you-could-not-eat food.
First and foremost, pay attention to the hot cakes (pictured above). A strange combination of a pancake and a baked cake, it is laden with fresh berries on the surface and soaked with melty baked blueberries inside. The golden crust is just coated with maple syrup so that a hint its aromatic sweetness accompanies every mouthful but never becomes overwhelming. You will mop up every bit of the quenelle of churned salted butter which crowns the dish too! The hot cake is a must so plan your mains accordingly to save room for dessert. And yes, the flowers are edible. (Note: The team that opened Top Paddock have another cafe Kettle Black which also serves this exact same dish.)
I have tried the dishes below and they are all good. It appears that the focus at Top Paddock is to let the natural flavours of the ingredients speak for themselves. As such, actual “cooking” is minimal. There is also very little seasoning – so for those who like their food well seasoned, you may find yourself reaching for the salt and pepper grinders a little bit more.
If you’re a coffee lover, I’m afraid that the coffee at Top Paddock didn’t quite hit the spot for me. It tasted good, but the cafe latte that I had seemed to lack roasted robustness. But being Melbourne, a better coffee isn’t that far away.
Still a place that I could go back over and over again.
658 Church Street
+61 (3) 9429 4332
See how this cafe ranks on The Hungry Wolf’s list of Melbourne’s Best Cafes!