Featuring The Hardware Société (Hardware Street), Top Paddock, Hammer & Tong 412 Eating House & Coffee Bar, Supernormal, Koko Black, Donovans, Doughboys Doughnuts Melbourne Popup, The Point, Kirk's Wine Bar, Gourmet Sausage
Jason Wong
Jason Wong

What diabolical derring-do possessed the chef to conjure up such an unlikely pairing of ingredients I will never know, but by Jove it works splendidly. Crisp outside soft within french toast acts as the perfect sponge as you gleefully mix warm oozy yolk , sausage-y tasting cookie crumb and cool, salty ice cream together. The striking contrasts between sweet and savoury, hot and cold, yet managing to be complementary at the same time, are in my mind, what makes this dish unique and successful. I can't wait to go back on my next trip to Melbourne.

Taste: 4/5


The original Koko Black chocolatier outlet at the stunning Royal Arcade, a heritage shopping arcade constructed in 1869, is a must visit whenever I'm back in Melbourne. We had the signature chocolate platter consisting of 2 pralines, Chocolate Cherry Royale,Chocolate Alchemy Cake, Chocolate Mousse and Chocolate Ice Cream. Both the mousse and ice cream were rich, velvety and satisfyingly chocolatey. The cake with alternate layers of glossy ganache and sponge was good too. The only let down was the Cherry Royale which was a half dome of squishy, almost jelly-like cherry flavoured filling encased in a thin shell of chocolate. The cup of hot chocolate pictured was viscuously thick with cocoa goodness and we slurped it up. Holy death by chocolate Batman!

Taste: 3.5/5


How to test for well made panna cotta - shake the plate/bowl to see if it wobbles and if it does, then it's kocher. Ours was doing a veritable belly dance. Smooth as silk and sinfully creamy with notes of vanilla, the embellishments of crystallized sugar and raspberry coulis were rendered unecessary by the panna cotta's par excellence.

Taste: 4/5


So good I could lick the savoury, salty spice dusting off it, the fried slices of haloumi squeak satisfyingly when you take a bite of them. Lather in the excellent house made BBQ sauce for a smoky punch.


Beautifully presented with dried fig, candied orange, fig mascarpone and caramel sauce, this is one for the sweet tooths. While the flavours were good and the fig loaf satisfyingly soft and airy, it was a sugar overload desperately needing a hit of acid from citrus or a pinch of salt in the caramel to cut through the cloying sweetness.


I did not know what to expect from the minimalist description in the menu but boy did I get excited when I saw that it was beef tartare atop a bed of creamy mayo! Every carefully considered ingredient enhanced what was obviously designed to be a veritable umami bomb of a dish; the smoky, intense flavour of beef with cornichons running through the fine dice, crispy fried mustard leaf topped with deepfried scallions, the thin rings of sweet pickled onion, and that velvety luscious mayo with a hint of sweet brininess of clam.


Looks like I'm on a (sandwich) roll today. I know, cheesy. What's not cheesy are these bad-ass lobster roll sliders. Sweet, ocean fresh chunks of lobster drizzled with Kewpie mayo in buttered up toasted brioche. Certainly not cheap, but possibly quite worth it.


Battered and deep fried plump shrimp slathered in hot sauce in a soft roll with lettuce and tomato. I need to visit New Orleans one day to try the real thing.


With chorizo sausage, piquillo peppers, queso de cabra, aioli. This is the dish everyone orders here. Hands down the best baked eggs I've had. Packed with bags of intensely savoury flavour, mop up all the cheesy, gooey goodness with the bread provided. The toasted almonds are a genius addition and provide a deliciously roasty, crunchy contrast to the warm blanket of eggs under which little porky bits of chorizo nestle like scared children hiding from my devouring mouth.


Cool vibes and great food ensure this place draws huge crowds of locals and tourists even on week day mornings. On the day we went we spotted ex-Masterchef Australia contestant Sarah Todd. The de rigeur flat white was the best so far we'd had in Melbourne, surprising given Melbourne's reputation for coffee(The coffee we tried so far was only average or sub-par).


Chorizo, pickled onions, peppers, basil, bacon, Adelaide green tomatoes, poached eggs & relish on toast. Top Paddock's Top Paddock is their version of the big breakfast and boy is it bang on. This massive brekkie eschews the usual suspects like baked beans and hash brown in favour of the various vegetables that add crunch, acidity and heat to compliment the richness of the bacon, egg and chorizo.


Happy Friday! On this day last week I first tried Top Paddock's ricotta hotcakes, and they, were, AMAZING. We ordered them because they were pretty as a picture, but I wasn't expecting such a taste revelation from what was essentially a supersized pancake. Luscious berries scattered atop a burnished golden brown hill of pillowy hotcake goodness, studded with sweet, melty blueberries like goldmines on a mountainside, gently soaking in a pool of pure organic maple syrup, absorbing its mellow sweetness. Savour it as your knife glides through the fluffy cake like hot iron through butter, then spread the lavender sugar specked double cream over your portion for an extra dose of decadence. The sunflower and pumpkin seeds add much needed texture to what can be quite an overwhelmingly rich dish. What a winner.


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