658 Church St
Richmond, VIC 3121
Brunch in Melbourne tends to be associated with the quirky and the cool, and whilst I absolutely adore that, the grass is at least sometimes greener on the other side. So it was refreshing to walk into Top Paddock, the brunch place of the moment, to find a beautifully slick interior to match the beautifully slick South Yarra end of Richmond.
I was horrendously late for my date with Ethan, as I’ve still yet to get the hang of taking account of parking time into my total commute time. It was lucky that Top Paddock was such a large, sprawling structure, so Ethan could wait with an iced chocolate without daggers being thrown in his direction. That’s not to say the place wasn’t busy though; despite being early Wednesday afternoon, the place was pumping. Maybe it was because of the lovely weather, which combined with the ample amount of glass and greenery, made the restaurant feel more like a greenhouse in a garden.
Whilst perusing the fantastically tantalising menu, which included exotic options such as Gin and Lime Cured Ocean Trout Fillet with Potato Galette, and Sticky Black Gingerbread with Drunken Berries and Chocolate Sauce, I sipped on a Flat White ($3.8). Though Top Paddock isn’t known for its coffee, this cup was smooth and enjoyable, and certainly above par – you can’t get away with less in Melbourne!
I would normally never order muesli, so I’m glad Ethan did. Because the Bircher Muesli with Lemon Curd Labna and Green Tea Poached Pear ($13) was the most beautiful specimen of its kind I’ve ever seen. Garnished with a bouquet of fresh summer berries and flowers was muesli soaked in citrus, mixed through with plump sultanas and crunchy nuts. The crown jewel however, was the golden poached pear and its syrupy sweetness. I would eat this every morning for the rest of my life…
… or at least, when I’m not eating the White Anchovies and Jamon Serrano with Fried Eggs, Padron Peppers, and Manchego on Toast ($18). This was a striking Spanish rendition of the big breakfast, generous in both portion and flavour.
I couldn’t decide what I liked more, the plump and tangy anchovies, the waxy slices of manchego cheese, or the thickly shaved slices of jamon, ribboned with fat. Even the eggs were top notch, fried so that the whites were pearly, the yolk still gooey, and not a hint of grease to be seen. I had finished this before Ethan was even halfway through his muesli.
There were at least 4 other things on the menu that I am dying to try, but I could’ve closed my eyes and pointed, and still have been happy with my order. Unemployment still sucks, but if it means having time for brunches like this, maybe it’s not as bad as I thought.
Rating: 15.5/20 – top notch.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.