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Gastronomical ramblings

Food adventure @ Bendigo Street Milk Bar

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Milk bars sell practically everything these days. It was only very recently that my dad sent me walking to our local milk bar to buy him an overseas phone card! Since when do they sell those?! It just goes to show how long it’s been since I’ve visited a milk bar… But with all the milk bars that I have encountered, I have never seen any that sell fresh homemade baked goods, an extensive range of sandwiches or feature a cook-to-order breakfast/brunch/lunch menu. Until Bendigo Street Milk Bar that is. I recently received an invite to visit the Burnley establishment and would like to thank Bendigo Street Milk Bar, the owners Diane & Mario Di Stefano, and 360 Immerse Agency for the opportunity to visit and brunch at Bendigo Street Milk Bar. 

*Note: while my meal was free, my eating partner, J, paid for his meal. 

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Upon first reading the name, I was under the impression that the venue was some milk bar in Bendigo. I was wrong on both counts. Located on Bendigo STREET in BURNLEY, the venue was a milk bar once upon a time until it was bought+ converted 6 years ago by current owners Diane and Mario. Today it stands as a cafe joint with some aspects of a milk bar; customers can still purchase their milk and newspapers here. Oh, and let’s not forget the lolly bags and assortment of candy that takes my mind back to my primary school days. Remember those push pops? 

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The decor featured plenty of neutral tones spruced up by as much freshness (green plants and cut flowers) as there was quirkiness. Somewhat empty at first on what felt like a lazy Sunday, the customers soon began to stream in. Take away customers were plentiful. 

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Calling all readers: THERE’S A COURT YARD AREA AT THE BACK! Apparently it’s not used much, which is a shame. It’s a great place to enjoy your meal on a sunny day and if sunshine ain’t your thang, then there’s also plenty of shade. 

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Steak Sandwich (Specials) - with aioli, caramelised onion, roast peppers and rocket, served with fries. 

I’ve had more than my fair share of breads and BSMB’s ciabatta was up there with the best. The outer layer was crisp and well-powdered, with airy soft dough on the inside. In J’s steak sandwich order, the ciabatta was paired with a tender and not at all chewy cut of steak. But wait, there’s more. Great bread and great steak, but it was the sweet mix of flavours from the caramelised onion, capsicum and mayo that sealed this sandwich’s fate as one helluva tasty meal. 

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Mushrooms - lemon, garlic, and herb marinated field mushrooms, rocket and creamy goats cheese, served on toasted ciabatta and with poached eggs. 

After a few bites of J’s sandwich, I was super glad that my breakfast dish also featured ciabatta bread. In this dish, the ciabatta came in a thick, perfectly-toasted slice and was topped with almost-as-equally-thick mushroom pieces. The natural mushroom flavour was flowing. There was what I thought was an excessive amount of rocket (the bitter taste does not get along well with my taste buds) but I gotta begrudgingly admit that its presence was necessary to dull the sourness and potency of the goats cheese (which became slightly sickening towards the end). 

Not a bad dish but my heart stomach was already won over by the steak sandwich. 

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Chocolate brownie & Lemon drizzle cake. 

I had my eyes on the baked goods soon after arriving and they did not disappoint. 

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The top layer of the brownie was very crisp as any good brownie should be. It was quite dense and its texture reminded me of fudge. Thankfully the chocolate flavour was not too decadent or over-the-top sweet. A cup of tea would have made this dessert even better. 

The lemon cake was super moist. Some might even say it was too moist… The cake itself possessed a subtle lemon flavour but it’s the lemon flavour in the sugary icing that drives in the taste and leaves a lingering zesty tang. Again, a cup of tea would have matched perfectly but fans of lemon-based desserts will enjoy this dish. 

For me, the milk bar has always been the go-to place for lollies/ice creams (during my childhood) or when the parents were desperate for some milk or bread ie. Christmas day when all the other stores were closed. But the milk bar was never the go-to place for sandwiches or fresh food. I say, bring on the cook-to-order menu and fresh foods to our local milk bars please! I’m no psychic but I have a very strong feeling that my currently non-existent visits to the local milk bar would drastically increase if this were to happen. And ESPECIALLY if they serve the very same streak sandwich. 

Disclosure: the opinions expressed in this post are based entirely on my experience and observations made during the time of my visit. 

Bendigo Street Milk Bar on Urbanspoon

Bendigo Street Milk Bar

37 Bendigo St,

Burnley, Victoria, 3121.

(03) 9428 4196