Australia, Melbourne, Melbourne - East

Top Paddock

 

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Situated in Richmond, 3 km southeast of Melbourne CBD, Top Paddock is a very popular venue with a long waiting queue most days of the week. The concept of Top Paddock is the intention for the produce to arrive from the paddock directly onto the customers’ plates. Most of the ingredients used in this café are sourced personally by the owner.

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We arrived here around midday on a Saturday and was greeted with a sight of many people waiting to get in. Even though there were lots of people, they had a good system of registering people and calling their names when a table was available. The staff was very attentive to their customers and always had a nice smile to greet customers.

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The inside is decorated in a modern manner, with the use of natural light and plants to bring the place to life. There is also an outdoor seating area.

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The coffee (mostly $4) was roasted by Five Senses. It was brewed perfectly, and the taste was a blend of nutty and smoky flavours, combined with a hint of subtle sweetness.

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The Rangers Valley Wagyu steak sandwich with beetroot relish, tempura beetroot shoots, fresh horseradish and wasabi leaves ($20.50, with an extra $2.50 for added fried egg) was a delight to our palate. It was a perfect blend of contrasts – the soft bread contrasted well with the crunchiness from the tempura, and the saltiness from the beef contrasted well with the bitterness from the leaves, the spicy kick from the horseradish and the sweetness from the relish. A fantastic dish.

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The Fresh Queensland soft-shell mud crab with a fennel and dill salad and lime mayonnaise in a brioche bun ($21) was all about re-creating the freshness of the ocean. The crab was fresh, well-seasoned and nicely cooked, sitting on a cushion of soft flesh. The freshness of the dish was further enhanced by the use of fresh herbs. The sweetness of the brioche bun provided some sweetness to the dish. This was a delightful dish and one that we would go back for again.

 

Overall, this café lived up to its hype, and is a place where we will come back again to try a few other items on its menu.
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Top Paddock

Website: http://toppaddockcafe.com

Address: 658 Church Street, Richmond, Melbourne

Phone: (03) 9429 4332

Opening Hours: Mon to Fri, 7am to 4pm; Weekends and Public Holidays, 8am to 4pm

Accepts MasterCard, Visa and American Express

 

Australia, Melbourne, Melbourne - CBD

Krimper Café

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Tucked away in a small lane in the centre of Melbourne city is this little gem. This café is hidden behind two big wooden doors, which when opened, reveals a warm and cosy café.

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The interior of the café is filled with history – from the exposed wooden walls, to the use of an old lift car to create a dining booth, to the scattering of old machinery parts in various parts of the café. The kitchen is an open kitchen where customers can see the chefs busy at work.

This café is named after Schulim Krimper, a famous furniture maker, which we presume the owners of this café have great admiration for. However, we did not notice any furniture inside the café that were designed by Krimper.

Upon walking into the café for lunch, we were greeted by friendly staff who quickly sat us down and gave us our menus.

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The coffee ($3.80 for white or $3.50 for black) served here was from Proud Mary, and the house blend had a nutty flavour that was brewed to perfection.

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The dish that every table ordered was the Beef Parmentier ($21), which was slow cooked beef, on a bed of mashed potato with red wine jus. When the dish came to our table, we understood why. The presentation of this dish was very nice, with everything stacked up in a neat and orderly manner. The inclusion of salt on the side of the plate was a nice gesture. The meat was soft and tasty, with infused flavours of onions and carrots, which literally just melted in our mouths. The mash was delicious – light, soft and fluffy. This is a must try dish for anyone who visits this café.

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We also ordered Mr Shank ($22), which was braised lamb shanks with paprika, cumin, coriander and chilli served with romesco sauce, squash, zucchini, currants, feta, spinach and salsa verde. The diverse mix of ingredients resulted in a very colourful presentation. The vegetables were well seasoned, but unfortunately, the lamb was overcooked which made it hard to swallow. However, the flavours of this dish were a delight to our palates – with a combination of different elements of sweet, spicy and nutty flavours all intermingled together.

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Overall, we had a very enjoyable time at this café, and we will definitely be back next time to try the other items on the menu.
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Krimper Café

Website: http://www.krimper.com.au

Address: 20 Guildford Lane, Melbourne

Phone: (03) 9043 8844

Opening hours: 7am to 5pm, Mon to Fri; 8am to 4pm, Sat and Sun.

Accepts MasterCard, Visa and American Express

Australia, Melbourne, Melbourne - CBD

Wonderbao

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A wonderful way to start the day on a cold wintery morning in the city of Melbourne is to warm yourself up with a couple of hot steaming soft buns.

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Wonderbao is situated inside a small arcade at the end of a lane. It is a small store, with exposed brick walls, and wooden tables. The store is thoughtfully decorated with bamboo steamers and a row of Sriracha bottles, giving it a very Asian vibe.

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Gua Baos

These are available daily after 10:30am. We tried all three of them – Braised pork belly ($4.20), Roast pork belly ($4.20) and Fried silky tofu ($4.20).

The first impression of the hot steaming buns was how soft and fresh they were. The fried silky tofu gua bao was my favourite – the contrasting textures of the soft bun, tofu (which was crisp on the outside and soft inside) and the crunchy peanuts, along with the flavours from the sweet soy, coriander and pickled mustard, made this bun so pleasing to eat. The roast pork belly gua bao was tasty, with crispy crackling and soft pork belly, and the use of the hoi sin sauce and cucumber reminded me of the taste of Peking duck pancake. The pork in the braised pork belly gau bao was a little too chewy for my liking.

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Traditional Baos

The Da chicken bao ($3.50) was a big bun, with chicken, egg and shiitake mushroom inside. It was nice and tasty. The Cheung chai bao ($2.20) had Chinese sausage inside the bun.

Drinks

A cup of home-made soya milk ($3) went well with the buns. I would have preferred the milk to be less sweet and to have more soya bean flavours.

Overall this place is worth visiting if you are ever in Melbourne – it is cheap, quick and tasty. What more can you ask for?

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Wonderbao

Website: www.wonderbaokitchen.com.au

Address: Shop 4, 19-37 A’Beckett St, Melbourne 3000

Phone: (03) 9654 7887

Opening hours: Mon to Fri, 8am to 6pm; Sat, 11am to 4pm

Accepts MasterCard and Visa

Australia, Melbourne, Melbourne - CBD

Operator25

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This café is fairly close to the centre of Melbourne city, set inside a heritage listed building with a modern and rustic ambience. We were there mid morning on a normal working weekday and the place was so popular that we had to wait 10 minutes to get a table. But it was well worth it.

The waiters were all very friendly and helpful in explaining the menu. The coffee served was smooth with a great flavour.

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Balinese Pulled Pork Burger $20

The pulled pork had a slight curry flavour and this spiciness contrasted well with the sweetness from the sweet potatoes and the brioche bun. The pork was soft and it melted in our mouths, and this was a good contrast to the crunchiness of the sweet potatoes. A very delicious dish and a must try for everyone visiting this café.

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Pan Seared Scallops with French Lentils, Japanese Pumpkin Puree and Watercress $19

This dish was full of natural clean flavours. The scallops were fresh, and not overly seared, and therefore, they retained their natural fresh flavours. The pumpkin puree was lightly seasoned, and so we were able to also taste the natural sweet flavours of the pumpkin. The lentils and watercress provided some texture to this dish. This dish was full of contrasting textures, and along with the combination of the natural flavours from the wild, it was a simple but very enjoyable dish.

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House Benedict – Potato and Thyme Rosti, Grandmother Lamb Ham, Poached Eggs with Tarragon and Mustard Seed Hollandaise $16

This dish had the right balance of flavours. The smokiness of the leg ham balanced well with the sweetness from the potato rosti which had a hint of honey in them. This classic brunch dish did not disappoint and was very tasty.

Overall, this is one of the best cafes for brunch in Melbourne city, and everyone should come here at least once and try them out. All the dishes we tried were superb.

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Operator 25

Website: www.operator25.com.au

Address: 25 Willis Street, Melbourne

Phone: (03) 9670 3278

Opening hours: 7am to 4pm Mon to Fri, 9am to 4pm Sat and Sun

Accepts MasterCard and Visa, but not American Express cards