Step inside Top Paddock on a cold winter’s day and you will instantly forget the chill, such is the effect of the café’s warm wood panelling, stunning lighting elements and myriad nooks and crannies to cozy up to.
The latest venture from the boys behind ‘Three Bags Full’ in Abbotsford and ‘Two Birds One Stone’ in South Yarra, Top Paddock has been a labour of love for part owner, Nathan, who designed and built many of the interior features.
Stepping away from the grungy industrial look of Three Bags and the clean, white lines of Two Birds, Top Paddock still references elements of the other cafés without resting too heavily on their influence.
Instead, this 360sqm space melds wood panelling, detailed glass work and texturised walls within the design, which is all focused around a central, oversized coffee bar accentuated by a Christopher Boots light sculpture descending from the ceiling.
At ground level, sandblasted timber tables and handmade stools crafted from discarded council road signs house the majority of patrons.
Take a step upwards onto the second, slightly elevated level and the textures start to change. Original Xavier Pauchard chairs line the booths which sit underneath a breathtaking feature wall dotted with individual lamp luminaires collected by Nathan over the years, which have been repurposed into wall lights.
Peek just around the corner and the textures change again. Deep, smooth wooden wall panelling hides individual nooks and crannies where duos can brunch in secrecy.
Look around the interiors and it becomes clear that Nathan has a thing for pendant lighting. Clusters of pairs, trios and sometimes singular original 1960s pendants hang from the ceiling, adding to the warmth of this huge interior space.
A second bar designed specifically for take-away orders has been placed at the rear of the café. Nathan says he placed great emphasis on giving the take-away diners their own entrance and separate coffee bar in order to save them the awkwardness of hanging by the dining section always feeling in the way while they await their morning coffee hit.
In a café where every table offers a different experience, Top Paddock manages to create an intimate setting within the large internal space. It is a delicious, warm and enticing assault on the senses.