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, Sydney, Sydney - CBD

Brewristas Cafe, Glebe

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Located in the trendy suburb of Glebe in Sydney is this cool café. It has a sleek, modern interior and is also quite big, with tables by the windows or the side wall. There is also a small courtyard at the back with more tables.

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The first thing I saw walking into the café was the counter with a big coffee machine. Surrounding it were other coffee related equipment such as filters, which showed how committed to coffee this place was. The barista uses a horn system to notify the serving staff when the coffee was ready, so customers can enjoy their coffee at the right temperature.

The staff was very open, friendly and attentive. Their enthusiasm showed their commitment to the customers and their products. They were always smiling

I ordered a macchiato. The coffee had nice intense flavours, which were nicely balanced, with a smoky yet fragrant flavours.

Jono ordered an avocado shake. He liked this drink, as it was not overly sweet, with a milky flavour from the use of condensed milk in the drink.

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Porky Pigs Hotteok – Traditional Korean honey jam pancake with bacon, poached egg, spicy guacamole, rocket & mango habanero mayo $15

Jono found the whole dish too sweet – the pancakes were already sweet themselves, the jam filling made them sweeter, and even the mayo was leaning to the sweet side. He thought that maybe he should have used the lime to make it less sweet. The bacon did help in reducing the sweetness somewhat. The poached eggs, though, were perfect.

I thought this dish had too much going on. I would have loved to have eaten the pancakes with the jam filling by itself as a sweet snack. It reminded me of Korean red bean pancakes. The addition of bacon added some saltiness to the dish, while the mayo added some spiciness and the lime added a touch of sourness. They actually detracted me from the real star of the dish which should have been the pancakes.

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Kevin’s Balls – filled with roasted pork belly, tofu, kim chi, sweet potato, encrusted with shin ramyun $10

This dish is named after the owner, and four small balls were served in a small cup.

One bite of this dish took me back to high school days, where I would make shin ramen in the middle of the night to keep me sustained as I studied for the HSC. The spiciness of the shin ramen that I remembered were all captured by this dish, and the kim chi added a depth of flavour to this dish. The portion of pork belly in the balls was also very generous. The crunchiness of the outside contrasted well with the soft texture of the pork belly and tofu.

Jono thought the dish was well presented, but a little hard to eat. He thought that putting the balls on the plate would have made it easier for people to eat, as the balls tended to fall apart when you put a fork into them.

Overall, Brewristas is a neat little café with very innovative food that you would not find in normal cafes. The coffee here is their specialty.

Brewristas on Urbanspoon

Brewristas Cafe

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

Address: 73 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, Sydney

Phone: Not available

Opening hours: 8am to 2pm, 6pm to 10pm, Mon to Thurs; 8am to 2pm, 6pm to 11pm, Fri; 9am to 11:30p, Sat; 9am to 9pm, Sun

Accepts MasterCard and Visa only, not American Express

By Greg