Whole experience (cafe + coffee): 23/40
Having been to the MilkBar, Newtown’s newest cafe, over the weekend of the Newtown Festival about two weekends ago, I thought on this wonderful Saturday morning I would return and give it a fair go and see how it had settled in.
My experience of MilkBar was quite mixed on that first (or second) weekend of the cafe’s life. Staff were disorganised, tables were left unserved and food menu was both limited and a little uninspired. Let the fun begin.
I arrived to see a familiar chaos to the place, which I had seen two weekends earlier – tables of people were sitting around trying to get attention, children were running around a little chaotically (making life hard for the staff), and the same limited menu was waiting for me at the table. My initial thought was – should I just walk up to Shenkin?
After about 5 minutes of waiting around, a friendly girl came over to me and asked me what I was after, as the table behind me all got lattes, I followed the trend.
Customers are a bit of a mixed bag here at MilkBar. It seems the clientele who once came to Cinque, have all come back. The cafe attracts both an older and younger group of people than the typical Newtown joint. On the plus side for any students or people just wanting to read the paper by themselves, it’s an easy choice and feels comfortable to just chill here.
After another 5 or so minutes a bizarrely frothy, highly aerated latte was presented to me. I would have said the milk would make good cappuccino foam, if you were to hide it with a bucket load of powdered chocolate and you had done it yourself. Very disappointing. Other than the drinks milk presentation, it had a solid heat and was served on a boring white saucer with a serviette underneath the glass to catch spilled coffee.
The drink however, made a swift recovery in my eyes. It had an amazingly sweet and earthy rich aroma which, I found it to be very delicate to the nose, with hints of the roaster just creeping through, but not a smell you could get your nose easily around.
Tasting wise it was sweet drink with hints of both an earthy nuttiness and interesting spiciness. Additionally, it was quite a clean drink even with the milk thrown into the mix. The latte from something which looks so, so average, was from first impressions a really nice drink.
Letting it cool improved its depth of flavour, like you’d hope from an Alchemy roast the steeped drink became even spicier and that initial nuttiness was replaced by quite a fresh ripe fruity flavour.
Overall, the elements are here at MilkBar. While I’ve not mentioned it – the cafe’s size and wide airy opening onto the street give it instant summer and street watching appeal. The location is in prime Newtown space. The coffee while tasting great, thanks to good bean selection, is presented poorly and will turn some taste buds off before you even drink it. The menu for anything other than cakes sucks but again I am promised it is improving. And finally the staff, while very friendly are still learning the ins and outs and may annoy some with the slow service (while I was here I watched 3 tables leave before ordering). Newtown’s MilkBar will it click? I hope so as it could be great.
1. Coffee score
Style (look and feel): 3/10
Experience (taste and smell): 8/10
Coffee total: 11/20
2. Cafe score
Style (what’s it feel like): open airy inner west industrial feel
Whole experience (coffee + cafe): 22/40