Milk Crate Cafe in Civic has been open for a few weeks now. With photos of the funky looking cafe being posted on my social media feeds, I made this a lunch time destination on a day off. Milk Crate Cafe is located at 12 Moore Street. Not too hard to find as the number ’12’ is clearly marked but the cafe is behind the building looking out onto Northbourne Avenue.
The mix of timber panelling, white tiles, exposed brick along the counter, wooden crates, hanging baskets filled with ferns and, of course, the cushioned milk crates provides a down to earth hipster feel. A crate of oranges on the floor and whole pineapples are ready for cold press juicing with 5 types of cold pressed juices to choose from. Jams and Farmer Jo muesli are for sale and these products are used on the menu.
A slick looking coffee machine with cute sky blue takeaway cups help energise the number of office workers in the area. From the cartons of bon soy stacked up on the side, I take it soy drinkers are welcome! For tea lovers, T Totaler tea is on offer. The front counter had tempting take away items such as nutella muffins and tahini scrolls which I was going to take away for an afternoon snack but forgot.
The menu has Turkish influences with items such as the Istanbul roll, Turk burger and Turkish coffee on the menu. It’s not often I see an all day breakfast menu available on weekdays, so I was surprised at the all day breakfast offered at Milk Crate Cafe. The homemade New York style bagel with cream cheese was sold out when I got there so I’ll need to try this another time. I’ve been craving a decent New York style bagel since holidaying there. Breakfast prices are inexpensive ranging from $4.50 for toast to $9.50 for the Istanbul roll.
My friend and I both ordered Turkish coffees ($3.50) which came served in delicate little tea cups. We were asked whether we had ever tried Turkish coffee before and since my friend hadn’t, our waitress informed us of what to do to drink it. Basically wait about 5 minutes for the grounds to settle to the bottom before sipping on it. Then leaving the last sip so you don’t accidentally drink the grounds sitting at the bottom. The coffee was strong to me (especially since I’m not used to full strength coffee) and my friend also found it a good strength considering he usually has a double shot latte. Surprisingly, the coffee didn’t leave a bitter aftertaste and I found it rather pleasant.
The lunch menu consists of 4 sandwiches/burgers all served with home fries for $15. I asked our waitress which of the 4 burgers were the best, and she immediately responded that it was the Turk Burger. So of course, I had to order it. This consisted of a lamb pattie, cheddar, tomato, pickles and rocket on a brioche bun with ketchup and mayo. The first thing I noticed when I bit into this, is the fragrant and juicy lamb pattie filled with herbs and spices. It’s so important to have a tasty pattie which can make or break a burger. I was really happy with this pattie – appropriate thickness, plenty of juiciness, incredibly tasty due to the seasoning and no fatty gristly bits! The rocket added a hint of pepper to the burger. Although I’m not usually a fan of pickles (I pick them out), this addition was welcomed. It provided a lovely balance of flavours – the sharp vinegary pickle cutting through the meatiness of the pattie. All in all, I thought the ingredients were well thought out to create this burger. The home fries were actually chunks of roasted potatoes. I would have liked the potatoes to be crispier since I was expecting fries, but these were, again, well seasoned with strong and fragrant spices and topped with some shavings of cheese.
My friend ordered the chicky boom with chilli chicken, tomato, Persian feta and rocket on sourdough bread. This looked great. The only complaint he had was that it was a tad too dense and very cheesy. He also loved the fries.
Service is friendly – I was greeted with a warm smile and offered assistance with deciphering the menu when I walked up to the front counter. Staff seemed knowledgable about the menu items and ingredients. The location is advantageous as there was much traffic coming through from office workers going to and from the city centre. There was a constant flow of people popping in for take away coffee. I picked the windiest day to dine there and unfortunately there’s not much shelter at this stage. Consequently, lunch outside in the open on the milk crates was a little uncomfortable with napkins flying everywhere multiple times. The food (and company) more than made up for it and I hope to go back for that bagel and a cold pressed juice.
Milk Crate Cafe is open Monday to Friday for breakfast and lunch. However, as per the Good Food article there are plans in the works to obtain a liquor license and open on Friday evenings.
Value for money 8/10
FPJ score 26/30
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