Tucked below the twisting, coastal drive along the northern beaches, Whale Beach is serving up a generous slice of local love. The former Ripples has been taken back to its beach-kiosk roots, and now boasts an unassuming tuckshop, Milk & Soda.

The humble beach shack is by owner Aykut Sayan and his business partner, Tony Sleiman. The two have branched out from their popular Parramatta cafes Circa Espresso, Three Ropes and Smith Fine Tea & Specialty Coffee. The takeaway menu is more relaxed than what they usually serve, but still true to their style. “We're giving the locals what they like, but a bit of what we want too. We bring our best and ask them to trust us,” says Sayan.

The takeaway joint offers the team's old favourites, such as the HCAT – a double-smoked ham, cheese, avocado, tomato, house relish and aioli sandwich. There are also a few additions to suit the beachy crowd – beer-battered flathead and fries, hamburger on brioche, and a crumbed chicken-breast sandwich with apple, fennel and purple cabbage coleslaw. It is using an Ethiopian Mormora roast from its own Smith roastery, and is also mixing up iced Milos for kids and adults alike.

Sayan worked in the original kiosk before it was the Ripples restaurant. After his success out west he decided to come back to the beach to try his hand at a familiar setting. “I love this area and we love this adventure. It’s very different,” says Sayan.

Recycled wooden school chairs, pre-loved tricycles and suitcases full of Smiths chips live in the nooks of the relaxed courtyard. Summer anthems waft from the open kitchen, framed by the perfect yellow-and-white-striped awning. A community corner of yoga and market stalls is planned for the ample space, and locals are staying tuned for relaxed dinners that will start over the summer.

Milk & Soda
24 The Strand, Whale Beach

8am–3pm daily