Top Paddock

Pumped Up Kicks

Words by Amanda Hooper-Duffy
Pictures by Guy Lavoipierre

Congregating for coffee is integral to the Melbourne culture. We all have our favourite local and I know more than a few people who have a list of cafés they ‘must visit’. So when my sister Mel moved to Melbourne, it seemed fitting her Melbournisation started with us reuniting together over a cracking coffee.

Top Paddock fitted the bill – it was new, conveniently located between our residences, was on my own ‘must visit’ list (tick!), plus it originates from a great lineage. You may have already heard of or visited Three Bags Full and Two Birds One Stone which were created by the same owners of Top Paddock – Nathan Toleman, Diamond Rozakeas and Ben Clark. To the Top Paddock team they have added newbie Sam Slattery.


For Mel and I, Top Paddock was a cogent choice of café as it buzzes with ebullience and invitation. This is no poky café, but rather an enticingly large expanse inhabiting the industrial end of Richmond. Front doors are flanked by crates harbouring luscious vegetable and herb gardens. Large windows sanction light through the café creating an ambience of joy and warmth. A monstrous, structural light fixture stretches over the central counter, striking art into the space.


Mel and I settled comfortably at a table, whilst a waitress distributed menus. Top Paddock endeavours to source as much organic and local produce as possible and the food sounded delicious. The ‘organic pulled pork on rye with prunes, and goats curd’ seemed particularly inviting, but a hit of caffeine was what we were after.

Top Paddock knows its coffee and our waiter excitedly described what was on offer. Sourcing beans from Five Senses, Top Paddock offers three house blends, two filters and a single origin every day. Predictably, I choose a double espresso as my drink of choice in which to sample the single origin bean from Sumatra Wahana Estate.


Mel and I watched the odd flower-like patterns cast by the wall sconces and noted the stools created from recycled road signs as we waited for our coffees. The café was full of the laughter of friends and the hum of conversation which we soon added to, only to pause with the arrival of our coffee.

I was impressed by the chocolaty undertones and velvety texture of my espresso. Mel was in her own moment, grateful to be sipping good coffee in the best city in the world – her Melbournisation inescapable.


Words by Amanda Hooper-Duffy
Pictures by Guy Lavoipierre
Originally published 8 June, 2013

Top Paddock
658 Church Street
Richmond, Victoria 3121
T. 03 9429 4332

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