After having opened its doors eight years ago, Milk Cafe and Milk Bar at Ashgrove continues to be a favourite eating, meeting and community catch up spot among locals and visitors, particularly in the western suburbs.
Owners and Ashgrove locals, Amanda and John Scott recently updated the shop bringing a new freshness to the café without losing the authentic originality that makes Milk a firm staple in the Ashgrove dining scene. Ashgrove is located 5kms from the CBD.
Milk was created on the foundation of the local milk bar. In creating the cafe, the owners had wondered where had all of the great Australian milk bars gone. They were tired of coffee shop chains, large catering companies and fast food and looked to re-create the nostalgia of the times when the local milk bar was somewhere where everyone in the family could turn up and feel welcome and find something just for them.
I have stopped by the café several times for a coffee and breakfast after finishing my weekly grocery shop (Woolworths is conveniently located right next door), so I was keen to see what was different. The refresh was designed by branding and communications company "Autumn Studio"at West End who oversaw the frothy new look.
The indoor seating space The first thing I noticed was the update to the interior. Fresh white paintwork, the addition of a serving window beside the front counter, a new backsplash and shelving provide a new modern look. The dual level layout inside has remained, creating lots of space for hungry visitors.
Oh, and the signage has changed too. The 1950s inspired milk bar images have gone and been replaced by the simple styling of milk bar themed images The slick new mauve logo is a stylised creation of "Milk" resting neatly against the familiar yellow and white colour palette. It shines in neon lights at the entrance.
Manager Caitlin Jones is a customer service extraordinaire (knowing the regulars by name and remembering their orders) and is helpful at pointing out the new look menu where salads are made to order (no pre-made items here).
Milk is known for its stellar "real" burgers ($11.50-14.50), wicked, lightly battered chunky chips ($7.90-11.50) and designer and deluxe shakes ($6.00-11.90) and these are still on the menu. Let's be honest, it simply wouldn't be "Milk" without them. Paying homage to the milk bars of yesteryear, Milk cafe also serves cordial, fresh iced-tea crushes and spiders of soft dink frothing over vanilla ice-cream.
Being early in the morning, I opted for scrambled eggs on toast, which were fluffy and filling and an extra hot chai latte, both of which arrived promptly and with a smile by one of the friendly "milkers". The corn and halloumi fritters ($17.50) were also tempting as was the salmon benedict ($19.50)
What about the outdoor seating area? For those looking to sit in the open, a fresh herb and flower potted garden filled with petunias and marigolds is a recent addition to the outdoor seating area where the produce can make its way to the plate. I always enjoy seeing the chefs come out to collect a sprig of mint or basil. It can't get fresher than that, right?