Where: 258 Church St Richmond
When: Mon- Thurs 7am-5pm, Fri 7am-9pm, Weekends 8am-4pm
Contact: (03) 9429 4332
Vego moderately friendly :/
EFTPOS and CC accepted
Steak sandwich with charred Angus, shallots, sultanas, beetroot, veal reduction and leaves ($20)
New Richmond hotshot, Top Paddock is already busy every day of the week. It seems this quieter part of Church St was really craving somewhere to get a good, even a pretty fancy meal and a decent drop as well. It also helps that the baristas really know what they’re doing but aren’t too proud to make your coffee soy or skinny or whatever which way you please. There’s a good range of seating in the large, polished venue although your best bet is to try and grab a seat with a bit of padding in one of the little nooks. Very stylish stools made from flattened street-signs may suit people just popping in for a quick bite, but many of the seats aren’t designed for a long lunch. But with the amount of buzz bouncing off the hard floors, it is pretty difficult to engage in much conversation anyway. If you really need some peace, there are some little spots outside in front or in the little courtyard.
To eat, there are plenty of hearty and enticing breakfast options and some high-end-type mains. Although there is not much to eat for vegetarians if not ordering a breakfast (served all day) item with the exception of a roast veg and pesto baguette, a toasted cheese and tomato sandwich or a salad. If however you’re partial to meat, the reasonably priced baguettes are great value at $12.
I treated myself to the steak sandwich with charred Angus, shallots, sultanas, beetroot, veal reduction and leaves ($20). While the rich reduction coupled with the sweet sultanas was gorgeous, the steak was thick and fatty and quite difficult to saw through while keeping the delicate slices of bread from flinging across the table in the same motion. I really believe you should always use a very thin, minute steak in a sandwich. The shallots were great although I couldn’t detect any beetroot and it would’ve been nice to have some dressing on the watercress which came across as dry and grassy in its abundance.
Fortunately my coffee and lamington really hit the spot. It was nice to have a few feisty coffee grinds whipped into the crema on the cappuccino. The lamington was actually juicy in its generous dipping of chocolate sauce, and I was especially pleased with the cherry jam in the centre which satisfied that sticky sweetness you’re expecting with a lamington without seeming like something you’d find in a canteen doughnut.
I can’t praise the staff enough at Top Paddock, they were very patient with our menu indecisiveness and always seemed to be intuitively one-step ahead at meeting our needs. There were also plenty of them to go around, which helps. Overall it’s a great spot for coffee and a treat but I’m not confident about forking out the big bucks for the top menu items when the fresh baguettes seem like such a better deal.