To find perfection in one single, suburban cafe, nestled snugly at the end of the 96 tram line seems so scandalous you'd find it only on Today Tonight (RIP). So when Milkwood provided all this with one visit, a single lamington, a take-home baguette and a perfectly frothed latte, I felt a little stunned in my strangely satisfied stomach.
Milkwood is one of those rare cafe's that builds precedent for visitors to prance around Melbourne with an upturned nose and unrealistic standards for meals that can sometimes be matched, but never exceeded. The coffee was beyond spot on, the chicken baguette was lashed with so much mayo I could have happily drowned in it, and the lamington was deserving of a paragraph all to itself.
Here is said paragraph. Lamingtons are begging to be messed up. They combine three components, each as difficult as the next to perfect, with the ratio of each being just as susceptible to failure. Milkwood's lamington got it all right to a tee. The sponge could have stood solo as a cake, the chocolate covering was sweet, smooth and anything but sickly, and the coconut was the thick, soft kind that doesn't come in a black and gold packet. And, the jam – an addition usually added to a baked good to compensate for lack of thrill — just added to an already sold spectacle. I ate one that day. And then close to a dozen in the weeks that followed.
Lamingtons aside, there's something remarkably humble about Milkwood that is striking from first step up and in to the cafe. It's cosy, without being claustrophobic, pretty without being tacky, and smells like grandma, but not the one in the nursing home. All of their baked goods are made in store, the selection of which is anything but constrained. From carrot cake to muffins, baguettes to a perfect eggs Benedict, they've got enough meals and treats to fill a Margaret Fulton cook book, and cement it as a best seller.
All it takes is the simple perusal of some photos and the realisation that Milkwood is affordable, cosy and delicious to catch on to the questions that its customers tend to ask — why would anyone ever eat anything besides breakfast food?
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