Top Paddock, Richmond

Top Paddock holds the kind of brunch notoriety reserved for LA’s top West Hollywood spots- which made it the perfect spot for a reunion with my old LA work manager! When we arrived on a Sunday morning the place was practically bursting at the seams with eager eaters, waiting to be seated. After an extended wait (over an hour) and a blunder with the tables, three of us were squeezed into a small spot normally reserved for two; thankfully I had visited on a Tuesday a week earlier and taken photos, because there was definitely no room at our tiny table for a giant DSLR! We started off with some drinks- a flat white for one of the boys and mimosas for the ladies. The blueberry & ricotta hotcakes are easily Top Paddock’s most-renowned dish on the menu, and we all decided to split them as a starter and get our own various meals; after being told that the hotcakes would take 20 minutes, we opted for them as dessert instead. One of my co-workers ordered the Top Paddock- chorizo, pickled onion, peppers, basil, bacon, green tomatoes, poached eggs and relish on toast- while another went with pan-fried snapper with a chilli-fried egg, avocado, lime, tomatoes and a corn tortilla. I went sweet with sticky black gingerbread, drunken berries and chocolate ganache. The Top Paddock was beautiful, hearty local fare, that completely satisfied my British companion. The pan-fried snapper and its various counterparts fell a little flat for me- I found the components to be a little too simple, and thought that it would have been greatly improved with a wonderful salsa. The sticky gingerbread was also a slight letdown- I was expecting something gooey and carmelly (after all, it did have the word ‘sticky’ in the title), but instead had a thick slice of normal (albeit delicious) gingerbread. That being said, the drunken berries were AMAZING, and one of the highlights of the entire meal. The chocolate ganache was also lovely, although I think that a vanilla cream or ganache would have been better paired against the rich gingerbread. Whatever small disappointments I felt with the latter two dishes in our meal completely disappeared when the hotcakes came into play. First off, they are GORGEOUS. Covered in edible flowers, seeds and a dollop of double cream (sprinkled with violet sugar, I might add), it truly makes an impact upon arriving at the table. And the taste absolutely lives up to its striking good looks, and all of the hype- they were fluffy, moist, and bursting with fresh pops from the blueberries, balanced with the creaminess of the ricotta. They were, in short, heavenly. Normally when I order sweet items I tend to regret them because they are so heavy and sweet, but these were light and not at all too sweet. While not all of Top Paddock’s food lived up to the hype (and the hype is super intense), the hot cakes more than made up for any other shortcomings. My advice? Go during the week if you can, and definitely order the hot cakes! To share or to keep to oneself- well, that’s up to you to decide.

– priya

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Flat White

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Mimosa (topped with an overexcited champagne bubble)

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Top Paddock- Chorizo, pickled onions, peppers, basil, bacon, Adelaide green tomatoes, poached eggs and relish on toast

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Pan-fried local snapped, chilli-fried egg, avocado, tomatoes, lime

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Sticky black gingerbread with drunken berries and chocolate ganache

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 Blueberry and ricotta hotcakes with berries, seeds, flowers, double cream and violet sugar

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