120 Nicholson St
Brunswick East, VIC 3057
03 9380 4062
I always love it when friends want to introduce to me places that they’ve discovered and loved. Yes, I understand there is an inherent stress and ‘worry’ that I may not enjoy the place as much… (I can come across as quite discerning about what I like these days, especially when it comes to brunching and coffees). But what they need to understand is that I still really enjoy the actual experience of going there and seeing what they like about a place and why.
One Sunday afternoon in late November last year, I received a text from Ees:
And yes… we did end up there the following Sunday, fatbooo never says no!
Milkwood’s a small, cosy and beautiful little nook of a café in Ees’s hood, I can see why it can be so pleasurable brunching here. There are not many seats inside, and unfortunately on that day, they were repaving the pavement outside, ie. no outside tables. So for our biggish party of 5, our wait did stretch to nearly an hour.
But our handsome, friendly waiter consistently came out to update us on the progress of our table and offered coffees while we waited. Warm, mindful service like this made me not mind waiting at all. (Okay, maybe his irresistible smile helped too…) And it was, after all, peak brunch hour on a Sunday.
Drinks came quickly once we were seated, my companions ordered a variety of milk-based coffees, here’s my piccolo $3.2. It was okay… no notes or hints, just coffee. They use Coffee Supreme beans here.
Ees is about the only person I know who orders baguettes when brunching. That day, he had thyme poached free-range chicken, avocado, salad (red cabbage, carrot, celery & parsley), mayo and greens $9.5. Unfortunately, it did not turn out as good as he hoped.
LIttle death got the bircher muesli w/ grated green apple, berries, pistachio and honey yoghurt $12. He found it on sweet side but enjoyed the nuts in it.
Fakegf enjoyed a warm cannellini bean, lemon & rosemary mash on toast w/ avocado $14.5. A somewhat brunchy looking dish at last! Fakegf quite liked the combination of lemon and rosemary used inside the the bean mash. Personally, I’d rarely order bean dishes, but that’s what fakegf likes!
With brunches, I’m always on the lookout for dishes within the territory of eggs! At Milkwood, the menu is designed such that you’re expected to build your own egg dish. I believe the only option you get is poached eggs, I couldn’t see choices for the other ways of cooking eggs (scrambled, fried…) on the menu.
Damo selected a healthy combination of poached eggs on organic sourdough toast $8.5 + smoked salmon $4.5 + avocado w lemon oil $4. He wasn’t too excited about his constructed breakfast, commenting that it was overall a bit bland.
I had heartiest brunch dish out of everyone by constructing a plate of poached eggs on organic sourdough toast $8.5 + free range grilled ham off the bone $4.5 + lemon thyme mushrooms w ricotta $4. It was not too bad. Good, perfectly poached eggs… and the ham was grilled nicely, though I wished there was a more smoky flavour depth to it. I wasn’t as sure about the lemon thyme flavoured mushrooms, fakegf liked that unusual combination while I did not.
I wanted to like this café as much as Ees did on his last visit. There’s a homely vibe here with friendly staff, and the fit-out is really comforting. Overall, I found the brunch fare and coffees here alright, but not noteworthy.
I think this place is more suited for cosy couples and housemates who live in the area. They can just stroll out of home from around the corner and stumble in for a simple feed. A bigger group of five just didn’t resonate as truthfully in that small a space. I felt like an outsider… looking in.
You might also be curious about Pope Joan cafe, just down the road.