In modest surroundings out front of Pt Chev Arcade and next to an antiquated Countdown, you'll find a bright white café which looks slick and modern but somehow doesn't look out of place. The clean oak and white tile interior is understated and modest, yet charming and unique, befitting of the phenomenal Vietnamese and Kiwi café fare contained within.
A couple of friendly young chaps stand behind a light wood counter and a glass cabinet stocked with sweet and savoury bites, including a chocolate and earl grey cake and the prettiest stuffed rolls you've ever seen. The hisses and clacks of the espresso machine fill the room, and sun filters in through one of many windows.
Thankfully that espresso machine and the fellow operating it appear to be on form. My flat white was top notch, but if you're feeling open minded try the Vietnamese version - a shot of coffee over ice and sweetened condensed milk.
At breakfast don't go past the eggs benny deluxe, with spinach, poached eggs, Turkish pide, nahm jim and citrus hollandaise ($18). Customise with honey smoked bacon, haloumi or salmon and you've got the best iteration of the humble eggs benny in Auckland - no contest.
If you're up for a spot of lunch get the pho. For those who haven't tried, it's a subtly flavoured Vietnamese rice noodle soup with sliced scotch fillet, bean sprouts, fresh chilli and herbs. After a month in Vietnam and several years scouring Auckland for the best Vietnamese food, I declare this as one of the most delicious bowls of pho I've ever tried.
After all of the bests and near-bests I experienced here, Spilt Milk has to be one of my new favourite Auckland cafés. It'll be yours too when you try it, thanks to its succinct summary of the best Vietnamese, and the comforting perfection of classic café breakfasts.