he idea of going to a corner store to grab a milkshake and some mixed lollies evokes idyllic childhood memories which, quite frankly, not everyone had the pleasure of experiencing. Josh and Ai Nicholls, formerly of Cafe Ish, are bringing the memory back to life with The Milk Bar.
A jukebox lends more of a 50s diner bent, but an arcade game table and jars of lollies offer hallmarks of the kind of place you’d blow all your pocket money after school. Except now, you might choose to spend it on miso caramel or peanut butter and jelly milkshakes instead.
The menu changes every Wednesday, so there are constant surprises (for one, there’s a Chiko Roll with a note claiming it’s the original and, err, “We didn’t f#*k with it”. Much has been made of the mainstay $5 cheeseburger, the kind of throwback price tag that anyone can appreciate.
More surprising? The meat is sourced from the sustainable providores at Urban Food Market, so it’s free-range and pasture-fed. Similarly the milk is sourced from Udder Farm in the Hunter Valley and breads are baked on the premises. To upgrade your burger a notch or two, go for a variation and put a salad or fries down on the side. Signature dishes might relieve fans of the previous Cafe Ish; the crispy chicken wings and the soft shell crab omelette managed to make the move to Redfern too.
According to folklore, a good milk bar should have all your essentials, so early opening hours and Alchemy-sourced beans make a nice feature for the pre-work coffee crowd. Whether you’re chasing a bit of nostalgia or not, Milk Bar dares to put a bit of fun back into your food.
Milk Bar by Cafe Ish
105 Regent Street, Redfern
Mon, Wed–Fri 6.30am–5pm
Sat & Sun 8am–5pm