This particular morning I ventured out to Richmond which is much further away from Brunswick than I thought – but probably still not far enough to complain about. I think my confusion stems from not having much of a concept of the East of Melbourne, or of Victoria for that matter. Some might call this a sheltered existence but when almost 100% of your destinations for the last 5 years can be summarised in two words – Parkville Precinct – you tend to have a more narrow focus. Or become lazy.
I was lucky enough to be spending to morning out with The Milkmaid who had suggested that we try Top Paddock in Church Street. I would have cycled there except I was not-so-stoically enduring the second cold that I had earned in my time at the Royal Children’s Hospital – kids are great – so we drove. I mention this only because the benevolent Pope Eggs-Benedict, who was a welcome and coined-up surprise addition to the party, ended up having to pay for parking to enable us to get anywhere near the place – not a good start to the morning. I’m rambling a bit about the prelude to the breakfast to cover up the fact that I did not get a good look inside Top Paddock because at 9:30am it was full. As I am the type of cavalier (impatient) breakfaster that will endure freezing temperatures to eat muesli, my company and I sat outside. My impression of the place is, therefore, that it was cold.
As my brain was numbed by hunger, the very helpful and up-to-date Top Paddock website reminds me that I asked for:
Bircher Muesli with natural yoghurt and green tea poached fruit
Green tea?! Ah, the exotic East-ish of Melbourne. Here is what that looked like:
Everything about this visual feast is endearing to me. I very much enjoy the whole poached pear plonked proudly atop a mound of moist muesli. The micro-herbs (an entity that I had never before encountered – how uncouth I must be!) trail delicately around the dish giving it a whimsical, Springtime look. Additionally, for a change berries take a backseat as they create a darkly rich frame for the aforementioned pear protrusion. Seeing as I did not simply stare at my muesli I should mention how it tasted. The overarching theme here is lightness. There was a lovely balance of sweet shredded apple and tart, citrusy herbs. The green tea infusion left me with a very pleasing, dusky aftertaste that was one of the best things about this unique muesli. Finally, a note must be made of the moist density of this Top Paddock dish which is a texture that makers of Bircher muesli should strive for.
I would be remiss not to include a note on the Top Paddock porridge which I enviously watched The Milkmaid order and eat, despite me being visually and nutritionally sated:
Man oh man. Oats oh oats. Flowers and rhubarb and micro-herbs and pistachios! Those are all of the things I can see but sadly did not taste. Apparently it was “full-bodied, thick and creamy…with the sugar caramelising into toffee” (Milkmaid, 2013). It kills me that these are not my descriptors, I’ll have to go back for this!
Overall: If you wake up early with hungry eyes-and-stomach, go to Top Paddock and feast on the cereal. Try not to pay for parking.
Good Muesli, Melbourne!