The words ‘milk bar’ conjures up a lot of childhood memories. During a period of time in primary school, milk bars were my best friends. On the way to and from school and Chinese school, I’d always stop by one of these with a few friends to buy gobstoppers, red skins, Freddo frogs and the like. For those of you who grew up in Australia, you’d know what I’m talking about.
Back then the cost of lollies were significantly lower than they are now, although I can’t remember when I last had one of these nostalgic confectionaries.
These days, milk bars are becoming more than what they are back in the day, especially Bendigo Street Milk Bar in Burnley. It has in fact been turned into a fantastic cafe. Although it no longer stocks lollies that kids love, there is an abundance of brunch items, coffee, cakes and other dishes that would surely make any adult (or children for that matter) salivate.
I was lucky enough to have been invited by the lovely owners Diane and Mario of Bendigo Street Milk Bar to dine (up to a $30 value) at the cafe. Although it was such a shame I was in a hurry that day so I wasn’t able to meet the owners or have a long and relaxing lunch but I was able to sample a selection of their fine offerings.
The food range from the usual breakfast/brunch fare as well as delicious looking sandwiches and homemade cakes at the front counter. There’s surely something to suit any taste.
If sandwiches and breakfast items aren’t to your fancy, you can also do it the old fashioned way by getting some chocolates and chips like from a regular milk bar.
The temperature was in the high 20s that day. Perfect for a day out, but slightly too hot to sit outside so we opted for an inside table. They do have a beautiful little garden at the back for those who like a bit of sunshine.
I loved the beautiful Spring colours of the flowers in bloom and the veggies that grow on the wall. It’s a great use of space and provides a nice environment for diners.
Although I already had a coffee that morning, I just had to have another one so I ordered a cappuccino. Although it wasn’t the greatest coffee I’ve had, it did have a reasonably smooth texture and well done froth.
The menu had a nice selection of breakfast and brunch dishes, including the classic eggs benedict ($15.90) which I ordered. It came with 2 pieces of ham with 2 poached eggs on top of a whole muffin and drizzled with hollandaise sauce.
The hollandaise was rich and creamy, one of the better sauces I’ve had. However I would have loved a little more sauce since Yuye ate the dish first and he almost polished it all off. I gladly dipped my ham and muffin in the beautifully runny egg yolks though. We also liked the presentation of the dish with the sprinkle of parsley on top.
Yuye ordered the special smoked salmon on sourdough with smashed peas, lemon and mint topped with ricotta salata and dukkah ($16.50). Although it was a tad on the salty side (due to the smoked salmon) we both still loved the refreshing and tasty dish. I was a big fan of the smashed peas since it had the perfect amount of mint. Although I like mint, sometimes it overpowers other ingredients so I really enjoyed the subtle complimentary tastes that this dish had.
Don’t you just love the colours of this dish? It spells Spring in every aspect and would be perfect to have during the hot summer months as well since it wasn’t too rich, nor too filling.
It was a shame we didn’t get a chance to try some of the cakes on display at the counter as we were in a rush to be somewhere after the meal but was glad that we were at least able to make it for the fast but great meal.
Bendigo Street Milk bar is tucked away on a quiet street in between busy Swan and bridge Roads. There’s ample parking out front (although some are permit only) and is a nice escape from the rowdiness that comes with that part of town. Next time I would bring some friends and sit in their garden out the back with a cold cup of juice while I get some vitamin D.
Ichigo Shortcake and Mr Ichigo Shortcake (aka Yuye) dined as a guest of Bendigo Street Milk Bar, thanks to the staff at 360 Immerse Agency.
Question time: What kind of confectionery did you used to eat as a child? Do milk bars bring back similar memories for you as it does for me?
Bendigo Street Milk Bar
Phone: (03) 9428 4196
37 Bendigo St, Burnley VIC 3121