Brunch review: Spilt Milk, Pt Chevalier

By Greg Bruce

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Address: Unit G, 1197 Great North Rd, Pt Chevalier
Phone: (09) 846 2166
Open: Open: Mon-Fri 6.30am-4.30pm; Sat-Sun 7am-4.30pm
Cost: $62.50 for two adults and a toddler

Spilt Milk Cafe in Pt Chevalier. Photo / Getty Images
Spilt Milk Cafe in Pt Chevalier. Photo / Getty Images

SET UP & SITE

There are two ways you can get into Spilt Milk: through a big, ugly carpark, or through a long, ugly arcade. There is no toilet in the cafe itself: you have to use the gross one in the arcade. The only available outdoor seating, and the only table at which our group of six and two toddlers could fit, is in the ugly arcade. Spilt Milk looks nice inside and features many leading standard modern hipster cafe design tropes, like clever use of coloured tiles, white space, light wood, and drinks in jars. If you look in, not out, it's very nice.

SUSTENANCE & SWILL

The menu is a mix of Western brunch standards and Southeast Asian flavours, often in the same dish. I had eggs benedict with bacon ($18), which came with nam jim, a Thai dressing, which appears in all three of Spilt Milk's eggs bene options, and also in several other dishes. They were generous with the nam jim, and it sopped nicely into the benedict's Turkish pide. It was a subtly lovely reinvigoration of a dish that for too long has been brunch's dullest default option, a last resort for your average fusty and unimaginative father of two.

My wife ordered a Feed The Vegan ($19), a sort of vegan big breakfast option, featuring scrambled tofu, zucchini noodles, basil pesto, roasted tomato, mushrooms, a large, roundish, homemade hash brown, and beetroot relish. It sounded terrible, but looked great and she loved it. We ordered pancakes with blueberries and maple syrup ($10.50) for our 3-year-old, who has pancakes with blueberries and maple syrup every Sunday at home, but she strongly believed these ones had dirt in them, so ate not a bite.

Feed The Vegan dish at Spilt Milk. Photo / Getty Images
Feed The Vegan dish at Spilt Milk. Photo / Getty Images

They were soft and wonderful. Fluffies ($2) come with a milk bottle lolly instead of a marshmallow. This sort of detail is not trivial. The tone of a place, and its ensuing success, is dictated more by the small decisions that create a cumulative sense of wonder, than by the big and apparently critical decisions like whether they serve Southeast Asian flavours or Western brunch standards.

SERVICE & OTHER STUFF

There was a huge amount of discussion at our table about the cutlery. I was personally quite fond of the extremely large knives with hefted handles that sit at right angles to the blade, but our friends found them unwieldy, and you don't want people to leave your cafe talking about your cutlery. Cutlery is not there to make a statement: it's there to be cutlery.

- Canvas

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