Cross the Yarra to the other end of Chapel Street and you’ll found a patch of paradise at Top Paddock.
The new café from dream team Nathan Toleman, Diamond Rozakeas, Ben Clark, and now Sam Slattery, is a leafy haven on the industrial edge of Richmond.
In the courtyard trees shelter tables from the sun and the street, and planter boxes host a fledgling vege patch. Ripening eggplants, cherry tomatoes and young herbs have a ways to grow until they can stock the kitchen but they’re still a treat to see.
Inside, the team have pulled bits and pieces from their past successes. There’s the art deco lights and cute bottles of bush tomatoes you’ve seen at Two Birds One Stone and stools made from recycled street signs a la Three Bags Full.
This is no copy-cat café. Top Paddock has gone bigger and better. You can get cosy at the benches in the back but there’s a big country kitchen table perfect for boardroom brunches or the high stools up the front for friends.
The best seat in the house is probably in front of the barista bar, where a special Top Paddock blend, made from Five Senses beans, is carefully filtered down to a drip coffee they’re immensely proud of, along with plenty of lattes and cappuccinos too.
Best dish definitely goes to the pulled pork on rye. With an ethos of fresh, seasonal and sustainable produce, head Chef Jesse McTavish knows where his eggs and even the free range pork comes from. We can taste the love. The pork is a mountain of shredded meat, peppered with prunes that have melted in sweetness to a dish designed for brunch.
You know what they say – eat like a king for breakfast. This will keep you going all day.