While the south-east suburbs of Melbourne seem an unlikely spot for a modern, European-inspired delicatessen, Milkboy Espresso & Kitchen is proving even those out of the city appreciate a bit of caffeine and calculated design. Situated en route to Cheltenham Station, this tiny space is already capturing commuters and delivering that little something to perk up passengers on their travels.
In the midst of mundane shopfronts, the beautiful signage, open window and timber-slatted facade sets Milkboy apart from its surroundings. The monochrome logo of a happy, round-faced boy in a milkman's uniform is indicative of the wholesome produce and the warmness of the staff found inside.
With such a limited area, it's used wisely. Alongside decorative plants affixed to the ceiling hang baskets of bread, strings of cured meats, cloves of garlic and bunches of chillies, while a glass display bears an assortment of antipasto delights: trays of pickles, jalepenos, Spanish ham, salami, turkey and wedges of cheese.
Bread and pastries sourced from Noisette sit atop the counter, while Coffee Supreme provide the espresso. Sandwiches are made fresh to order on crusty baguettes with fillings that range from poached chicken with peri-peri mayo, dill pickles, Swiss cheese, avocado and sun-blushed Romas to free range pulled pork, pickled jalepenos, kewpie mayo and coleslaw. The menu is not set in stone though, and variations are welcomed.
The coffee is good, but it's the genuineness of the guys grinding the beans that will convince you to come back. The type to remember every face that stops by, it's likely you'll stumble into sharing your life story if you manage to nab one of the six seats available. Milkboy is already falling victim to the morning rush — and thriving on it — but quieter moments can be savoured in the afternoon.
A few weeks into the venture and Milkboy Espresso & Kitchen is starting to find its feet in an unassuming location. This could just be the beginning of an empire.