Where: 658 Church Street, Richmond, 3121
Contact:03 9429 4332 email@example.com
Open: Breakfast Mon-Fri 7am-4pm; Sat-Sun 8am-4pm
Payment: EFTPOS, Visa, Mastercard
Diet: Soy, Gluten free
Seating:Inside and outside
Richmond's grazing grounds
words by Jennifer Kerr 31 August 2013
photos by Albert Comper
“Instead of telling the world what you're eating for breakfast, you can use social networking to do something that's meaningful.” - Edward Norton
Well, Edward Norton, you may be rich, powerful and a movie star, and I may be a humble breakfast reviewer, but I beg to differ on this one. In the case of Top Paddock, I can do both.
Top Paddock is the bee’s knees. The duck’s nuts. The cat’s pyjamas. It’s so good that Breakfast Date went back there every weekend for a month after we first visited – and had the same dish. Every. Single. Time.
It is breakfast royalty with an impeccable pedigree, owned and operated by the team behind Two Birds One Stone (and in earlier days, Three Bags Full). Chef Jesse McTavish’s menu ranges far and wide across the tantalisingly broad spectrum of breakfast, featuring locally-sourced produce that is, according to our waitress, hand-selected by the chef.
I skip straight over the usual offerings of toast, Bircher muesli and eggs benedict. Although I’m sure they’re lovely, I am attracted by bright and shiny words I don’t usually see at breakfast - Gingerbread. Polenta. Pulled Pork. Snapper. Belonging variously to dishes like: gingerbread with roasted blood plums and chocolate mascarpone; polenta porridge with figs, maple and currants; pulled pork on rye with prunes, leaves and Boatshed goat’s curd; pan-fried snapper with a chilli-fried egg, avocado, salsa & lime and corn tortilla. Or a dish that just sounds so amazing that I regret not ordering it at the time - purple potato & buffalo ash brie omelette with padron peppers on toasted sourdough.
The best thing about the menu is that it caters for all states of breakfast need. For the hung over, a pork belly & fried egg roll with relish would be perfect; for the light breakfaster, seasonal avocado with lime, sea salt and Movida sourdough. Breakfast is served all day, so a Kobe steak sandwich or Queensland soft shell crab in a brioche bun may be more to your liking if you’re there closer to noon.
Being a total mushroom freak I opted for local pine mushrooms with chilli scrambled eggs and Boatshed feta on toast. Formally known as “Lactarius Deliciosus” (with good reason!), pine mushrooms have a nutty, woody flavour that turns out to be the perfect complement to chilli scrambled eggs. Breakfast Date went for the eggs benedict that I had so blithely ignored. Served with textbook-perfect smoked ham hock and an evilly creamy béarnaise (this was the dish that lured him back so many times). A side order of avocado procured the most perfect specimen I’ve ever seen. Impossibly, gorgeously green, it deserved its own angelic chorus.
Despite the large floor space, the service is prompt, personable and knowledgeable. It’s a popular place, and there are queues after 9am on the weekend, but these guys have got the seating and service timing down pat. Even at capacity, you can have a decent conversation with your companion without shouting, and you won’t feel rushed out the door at the end.
Those familiar with Two Birds One Stone will recognise some similar design features, including the Christopher Boots light globes, cunning glass light fixtures in the wainscoting, and a lavish helping of natural wood and black-grouted white tiles. However, Top Paddock has a more of a warehouse feel (harking back to the owner’s first venture, Three Bags Full), right down to recycled street signs as stools, the large open kitchen in the middle of the floor, and acres of windows letting the light flood in. Its location in an industrial complex off Church St, Richmond means that, mercifully, parking is not completely impossible. It’s kid-friendly too, with a Kid’s Breakfast, communal tables, high chairs and plenty of room for prams.
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