I’ve spent the whole of 2014 searching for local bars and eateries yet to be discovered by tourists and bloggers and have had my fair share of luck during my travels through Asia. It may seem strange then, that since touching down in Melbourne I’ve become addicted to UrbanSpoon and have acquired a ‘wish list’ so large I will need more than a working holiday visa to munch my way through it all, (know any young Aussie bachelors?). Top Paddock was one of those ‘must visits’ to first arrive on my list after I came across their photos on Instagram, another addiction of mine.
Top Paddock’s insta-worthy dishes are food porn at it’s very best, but do they taste as good as they look? This I just had to find out. I asked my Kiwi friend, Sarah along for brunch as she is a foodie like me and we enjoyed hanging out at Taste of Melbourne which I attended a few weeks ago, but ended up too involved with the wine tasting I forgot to take any pictures or try any food so I was unable to write about it. Not my most successful food event! Anyway, back to Top Paddock…..
Located on Church Street in Richmond, Top Paddock is a fairly large, modern-looking place with a number of seats outside. We had to put our names down as there was a bit of a wait, but I didn’t mind as it meant I got to have a good long look at the cake counter displaying a number of delicious looking goodies. There were also some sandwiches and breakfast pots for busy workers to take away and of course, the all important coffee.
It wasn’t long until a couple of stools on the communal table became available for Sarah and I. It was a little nippy as the table was by the window which let in a slight draft, but we soon warmed up after a coffee. Yes, it’s summer in Australia but this was a particularly chilly day, honest 😉 I decided to splash out and go for the speciality pour over coffee which was from Costa Rica and had delicious sounding tasting notes of “rich, intensely sweet, silky mouthfeel, rasin fruit character, milk chocolate and smooth aftertaste.” Sound’s like heaven right?
My pour over coffee was served in a glass jug on a hot plate and an empty mug for me to pour the coffee into when ready to drink. I asked for milk as sometimes black coffee can be a bit too strong for me, but the waitress came over to explain how the pour over should be drank and that was definitely not with milk. She took the time to explain about the coffee, it’s process and how it was more like a strong tea than a black coffee and became sweeter the longer I left it to cool. I took her advice and she was right, there was no need for milk or sugar, it was sublime. Probably one of the best coffee’s I have had in Melbourne and trust me, I’ve had a fair few!
Now it was time to look at the menu, even though I already knew what I was going to order, so I only allowed myself a quick glance before I changed my mind. Many places in Melbourne have a signature dish, which is often noted on UrbanSpoon, with Top Paddock’s being their insanely beautiful hotcake. This blueberry & ricotta hotcake with organic maple, seeds and double cream has become Melbourne’s most photographed dish and I was itching to capture it myself. I mean, just look at it!
Not only does it look like a work of art, it tasted absolutely divine and was just perfect. The hotcake itself was immensely fluffy and bouncy, with a good layer of organic maple soaked underneath to create a soft sweet base. The blueberries inside and decorative berries on top provide a fresh sharpness to offset the sweetness of the ricotta and double cream, which themselves were pure indulgence. This was truly a sharing-size portion and after half I started to feel a little sugared-out, but it was just too good to stop so once again, I ate my way into oblivion.
Sarah’s local pine mushrooms with chili scrambled eggs & BoatShed feta on toast was also very tasty, but somewhat less attractive than mine. I think they may have let that one slip past the consistency net as I did take a sneaky look at some of the other dishes around me which were all perfectly presented. For once I didn’t get food envy as my choice was by far the best.
Sarah and I played around with our cameras for a bit before leaving as many people had theirs out too as Top Paddock is a prime spot for foodies and bloggers alike. As I said before, I don’t normally like to go to the most hyped-up, touristic spots as I’m a hard gal to please and usually left a little disappointed, but on this occasion, Top Paddock won the race with great food, coffee and service. Let’s just say my clothes shopping didn’t go to plan that afternoon as I waddled my way down Chapel Street.
Living life, loving cake,