Milk Beach is an all-day restaurant in West London which brings modern Australian cuisine in a relaxed and social setting with a large alfresco dining space. Famed for their coffee and brunch offerings, Milk Beach now also offer an enhanced evening service with a new dinner menu and bar area. Our blog contributor Adrienne Fung recently visited Milk Beach on their press launch night and was amazed by their new dishes.
Milk Beach, Queen’s Park, London
I think we can all agree that 2020 has not been the year we expected. With that being said, I couldn’t have picked a better spot for my first review this year for Mondomulia. I had the pleasure of visiting Milk Beach, an all-day Australian bar and restaurant, tucked in the middle of a residential mew in Queens Park. Charming to say the least!
Best known for their fantastic coffee and brunch, the folks behind Milk Beach took the opportunity during lockdown to expand and renovate their space (read: more outdoor seating with a heated patio!) as well as revamp their menus.
It was inspiring to hear about the journey that led trio Elliot Milne, Matthew Robley-Siemonsma and chef Darren Leadbeater to where they are today. Elliot’s background working in Ethiopia to set up the Coffee Initiative Project helping local farmers access funding to produce better coffee shows how strong the coffee game is at Milk Beach. They take their craft seriously while ensuring they work with the best growers and producers. Paired with Matthew’s 10 year career in coffee, you won’t find a better cuppa in the area. Not just doing the right thing, but doing it right.
Chef Darren Leadbeater brings his Queensland heritage to Milk Beach. Having worked in top kitchens around town including Frenchie, Wild Honey and Brunswick House, you can expect equally thoughtful cooking.
Having not visited Australia myself yet, I needed to bring in some expert reinforcement. A friend who grew up in Sydney accompanied me for dinner at Milk Beach last week to help me navigate. The restaurant interior reminded him of a beachside café on the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. I’ll take his word for it. So far, so good.
We started off our meal with a gorgeous Red wine (Continental Platter, Pot a Cab Sav) from Margaret River, Australia. Did I mention they also exclusively source all their wines from small independent winemakers who practise low-intervention wine-making? There are plenty of great value wines to choose from.
To accompany the wine, we nibbled on bread from St John’s Bakery with homemade cultured butter and a platter of their Truffle mortadella with VB mustard. The mortadella was spectacular. The punchy mustard paired with the earthiness of the Truffle speckled mortadella made for a flawless snack to get the palate excited for what’s to come.
Next we moved onto some small plates. The fried potato gems with buttermilk and roe came highly recommended. These buttery morsels of creamy potato encased in delicate, crispy exterior made for the perfect single bite. The tanginess from the buttermilk and bursts of umami from the roe took this potato dish to the next level.
We also tried the crudo of Sea Bream with soy, pickled daikon and furikake seasoning. A highly refreshing dish that will please any crudo fan. Slices of pickled jalapeno was a genius touch to give this crudo a bit of sweet heat.
The final small dish on our table was La Latteria burrata with Roscoff onions, Comace pears and amaranth. Like me, you’ve probably tried dozens of interpretations of burrata. In most cases, what you see is what you get. What’s not to like? But also, is this burrata that different from the one I had across town last week? In most cases, not really. I can assure you that the one at Milk Beach is one of the most distinct takes on burrata I’ve tried in London. What really made this one unique was the accompaniments. Less an afterthought and more deliberate. The onions and pears added varying, harmonious notes of sweetness that gave the burrata new life.
For mains, we tried the Squid ink tagliatelle with cock crab and tomato fondue as well as the Koji marinated chicken ‘schnitty’ with fermented chilli mayonnaise and chicken salt chips. What is a schnitty you ask? According to my friend, it’s only the most popular pub snack across Australia and the Aussie take on Schnitzel. I’m partial to all variations of fried poultry and this one did not disappoint. The chicken was incredibly tender and juicy while the outside remained hot and crusty. The fermented chili mayo definitely had a kick which was much appreciated. Don’t sleep on the chicken salt chips either. The seasoning on these chips make them more addictive than usual.
The tagliatelle was yet another winning dish. What made this one of my favourite dishes of the night was the way Chef Darren was able to infuse crab directly into the tomato fondue. This made for an incredibly rich and complex sauce that gave you crab flavour in every bite. I was skeptical that the pasta would be a little too dry for my liking (I tend to like my pasta on the saucier side), but because the fondue packed so much flavour, this was not an issue. The ribbons of squid ink pasta were cooked perfectly al dente which can sometimes be a challenge with fresh pasta. Even 30 seconds too long can be unforgiving.
We were told no visit to Milk Beach could be left without a slice of the coffee and custard tart with chocolate crumble. What better way to pair it with than their in-house espresso martini, apparently. Twist our arms if you must! The tart was seriously special. It’s no wonder every person we spoke to that evening recommended it. Once again, coffee is showcased it its best light, giving the tart just enough aroma without becoming overbearing or bitter. It’s a safe bet that every coffee creation – drink or dessert form- is worth an order.
I was so impressed with my visit to Milk Beach. While they may be known for brunch, their latest dinner menu features incredible dishes worth traveling for. We were pleasantly surprised by this neighbourhood gem and can see why it’s quickly become a local favourite. Now with their expanded outdoor and heated seating, this is already on my list of places to return to in the coming months.
Words and photos by Adrienne Fung.
Disclaimer: Adrienne attended Milk Beach press launch as a guest. All opinions are her own.