I seriously debated writing this post… I mean, it’s not really in my best interest to spread the word about this incredible eatery since I already have to queue up for hours to eat here at the weekend.
Alright, I exaggerate. It’s more like ten to fifteen minutes… But it’s ten to fifteen minutes of torture while I watch the people already seated devour the breakfast I’ve been dreaming about all week!
But I endure it all the same. Almost every weekend. I mean, the buckwheat pancakes… they’re kinda outta this world… And I don’t say that lightly.
It’s not specifically the pancakes themselves, although they do make a mighty fine cake in a pan, but the inspirational way the dish is put together. Which, by the way, is different every week, so there’s that novelty too.
The ultimate culinary brunch experience; adornments such as elderflower creme fraiche, milk meringue, edible flowers, maple cream and milk marshmallow have graced my plate, and the plates of those fortunate enough to have dined at M1LK… before midday on the weekend.
A rare delicacy, you could say, as these fanciful delights are available only at the weekend, and often sell out by late morning.
So it’s pancakes for me every week, no question about it – we actually set our alarm clocks (on a Sunday?!) to make sure I don’t miss out – and The Convict for my other half, who is not a sweet stuff in the morning kinda guy.
Although I don’t usually talk about savory cuisine on this blog (I may in future, not all baking is sweet you know!) but the rest of the menu most definitely deserves a mention. In explanation of the above, The Convict is a delicious mush up of drycure bacon, burford brown eggs, sausage, poacher hash and M1LK’s very own hangover sauce, sandwiched between a proper english muffin. And then there’s Sweet Maria; layered sweetcorn fritters with grilled halloumi, smashed avocado and kasundi, a tangy tomato relish that packs a satisfying flavour punch.
It must also be mentioned, because it’s far from standard (and actually something of a rarity) in London, that M1LK uses organic/free range produce sourced from local independant farms.
And, of course, there’s the cake and coffee. The cake! How can I not mention the cake! Well, I was so taken by the pancakes… but enough of the pancakes. While I have seen other flavourings on offer at different times, I have only tried the Pistachio Cake with Yuzu Buttercream and the Hazelnut Cake with Burnt Butter Buttercream, but they were both (it’s a theme throughout this post, I know) incredible!
The hazelnut cake had the most authentic and overpowering taste of hazelnuts I’ve experienced in a cake, and I mean this in an overwhelmingly pleasurable sense. The crumb was soft and rich, holding together well without being too heavy, and the buttercream added just the right amount of sweetness.
The pistachio cake had a slightly heavier and richer texture than the hazlenut cake, and a less intense nuttyness, but the flavour was exquisite and paired well with the tang of the yuzu buttercream, a citrus fruit originating in East Asia that is a sort of hybrid grapefruit mandarin.
Another interesting thing about both these cakes was the crust. Each had a lovely, thick, almost chewy crust on the side, and ever so slightly at the base. Oh, it was heaven! The icing only covered the top of the cake, but the sides, with the crisp, chewy like finish were a delicacy in their own right.
Right, the coffee. Now I’m no coffee connoisseur, but I do come from Melbourne originally and we like our coffee a certain way. I’m not saying it’s the right way, but if you’ve ever been to Melbourne, or know someone who has been to Melbourne, you’ll have heard the coffee praises. It’s rich, and full, and anything but bitter. Some people may say I ruin a good coffee with the soy milk, but oh, that nutty roasted goodness is just the icing on the cake to a perfect weekend brunch.
We do our best to rein in our appetites when we come here, reminding ourselves that there is always next week, but we always walk away satiated after a generous brunch dish and a coffee each. Even more pleasingly, our pockets are barely dented after paying a reasonable total of around £20.
A handful of my favourites…
Grilled Plum, Cherry, Pie Crumb & Chantilly
Sliced Apple, Maple Cream & Milk Meringue
Cherry, Pie Crumb & Panna Cotta
British Berries, Cornish Clotted Cream & Cookie Crumbs
Smoked Plum, Blackberries, Shortbread Crumb & Mascarpone
Brûlée Plum, Mascarpone & Candied Ginger
In M1lk’s own words…
In a world ruled by convenience and disposable commodities, we long for a yesteryear where quality was not exclusive but commonplace…
…We at M1lk believe in a non-disposable future; a future made with a wooden spoon from Grandma’s recipe, put in the oven with gleeful hands and hopeful hearts…
Thank God for grandma…
Hildreth Street Market
20 Bedford Hill
+44 (0)20 8772 9085
8am – 5pm Monday to Saturday
9am – 5pm Sunday
M1LK’s ‘big sister’ cafe, FIELDS, is now open for coffee, cakes and natural wines.
2 Rookery Road
#fieldscanteen winter test kitchen is open for brunch and drinks every Friday, Saturday and Sunday 9am – 4pm.
And yes, it is actually on the Common… Next to Long Pond and in front of the skate park.