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 - East

Noir Restaurant, Richmond

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Noir Restaurant is a boutique restaurant situated in Richmond, Melbourne. The restaurant has a classical layout with wooden tables and dimly lit lighting creating a warm and cosy atmosphere.

The service we experienced from the restaurant could be improved. We were shown to our table when we walked in, but no waiter came to serve us until we waved one down. The waiter who served us with the complimentary bread did not ask us which type we preferred and just placed a random bread roll in our bread plates. The waiters’ explanation of the wines were also very rudimentary, and everything seem to be just memorised with no further insight.

We ordered the Tasting Menu, which was $80 per person, and there was an additional charge of $55 per person for matching wines.

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Amuse bouche

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This consisted of three vegetarian tarts, being cauliflower, beetroot and pumpkin. A nice start to the meal.

Entrees to share – Eye fillet of beef tartae, waldorf salad and gaufrette potatoes, Cold smoked pacific oysters and Hiramasa kingfish vichyssoise with samphire, sugar snaps and chive oil

(Matched with 11 Domaine Pierre deLaGrange Muscadet Sevre et Maine, Loire Valley, Fra)

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The beef tartae dish, with the beef and potatoes, as well as the apple in the waldorf salad, reminded me of the taste of burger and fries and apple pie. The kingfish dish was well presented with contrasting textures from the different elements in the dish. The pacific oysters were presented with smoke inside a glass lid which was very fancy but they weren’t as fresh as I expected when I tasted them. The wine selected matched well with the seafood dishes.

Alternative Entrée: Pumpkin cheesecake, Potato croquette on pumpkin puree and Foe gras on toast

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Jono: “I do not like raw food so I asked the kitchen to prepare something else in place of the entrée selection that they had. As soon as the waiter brought this alternative entrée plate to me, my eyes were on the foe gras. Foe gras is my number one favourite. So I tasted the foe gras first with the complimentary bread. It did not disappoint as it melted in my mouth. The pumpkin cheesecake, however, was too dense with cream, but the flavour was nice.”

Seared fillet of John Dory with summer vegetables, calamari, chorizo and buckwheat

(Matched with 10 Bella Ridge Estate Chenin Blanc, Swan Valley, WA)

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The smokiness from the chorizo (which tasted more like ham hock to me) added a depth of complexity and flavour to the fish, and this matched well with the smokiness from the wine. A very enjoyable dish.

Hendricks gin and tonic sorbet, cucumber and dried botanicals

(Matched with Hendricks splash)

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This was a good palate cleanser, the cucumber providing freshness and the extra alcohol providing the acidity required to cleanse the tastes from the mouth.

Crisp breast of duck with green figs, beetroot and walnuts

(Matched with 12 Vincent Girardin Pinot Noir ‘Bourgogne Cuvee Saint-Vincent’, Burgandy, Fra)

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The duck was nicely cooked, with crispy skin and juicy meat. However, the wine seem to be a little too heavy for this dish, so a more delicate pinot may have been a better match.

Rump of Rangers Valley beef, roast capsicum puree and grains of paradise

(Matched with 11 Ngeringa Syrah, Adelaide Hills, SA)

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The beef was cooked rare, and was presented with a calamari ring (which was not what I had in mind to be “grains of paradise”). It was tender and well flavoured, and the peppery taste of the wine complimented the beef well.

Cremeux d’Anjou with strawberries, blueberries, honeycomb and berry and basil sorbet

(Matched with 11 Petit Guiraud, Sauternes, Fra)

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The dessert was presented nicely, the sweetness of the pear and honeycomb balanced well the sourness from the berries. The dessert went down a treat with the dessert. A nice ending to the tasting menu.

Overall, this was an enjoyable experience, with quality food and nice wines. The only let down to the experience was the service we received.

Noir on Urbanspoon

Noir Restaurant

Website: www.noirrestaurant.com.au

Address: 175 Swan Street, Richmond

Phone: (03) 9428 3585

Opening hours: Lunch & Dinner, Tuesday to Sunday

Accepts Visa, Mastercard and American Express cards

By Greg