A Bit Casual Eating Out London

M1lk, Balham

December 6, 2014

I’ve heard all about the brunch service at M1lk– I’ve heard about the great coffee, quirky twists on classic dishes, and the legendary line that spills down the street. This all made me very curious and so on a lazy London Sunday, a certain someone and I made the short trip to Balham to quell my curiosity. From that excursion I can only confirm that the ridiculously long line spiralling down Hildreth Street is not stuff of legend, it most definitely exists and is fairly slow moving. So as people who don’t share the English’s love of queuing, we decided to give it a miss and I was still left wondering. That is until earlier this week when I had the good fortune to meet a friend for lunch, in Balham, on a weekday- what are the odds?!

As soon as you walk in you’re hit by the undeniably hipster decor, but also the size, no wonder the lines are out the door because this place is cosy! Despite it being a miserably cold day, M1lk still had a steady flow of customers and we were lucky to nab a little table when we did. While the menu is pretty short, we did engage in a lot of umming and ahhing as a lot of it appealed but in the end we went for a hot chocolate and ‘Sweet Maria’, and a ‘Lois’ smoothie and ‘Young Betty’.


First up, the drinks were excellent- my hot chocolate was actually dark and rich, unlike so many pitifully milky ones I’ve had in London, and I was emphatically informed that the Lois smoothie of blueberry, banana, and apple was amazing. We were however, less emphatically impressed by the food.

The ‘Sweet Maria’, sweetcorn fritters, haloumi, avocado, kasundi and lime, was probably a little heavy handed on the kasundi. That tangy, tomato-based relish covered everything, and those poor limp little fritters had no chance, soon disintegrating into a bit of a battery mush. Thank goodness they had the good sense to provide a generous dollop of smashed avo and that wedge of lime to cut through the rich oiliness.

The ‘Young Betty’, poached eggs and drycured bacon on grilled sourdough with burnt butter hollandaise, looked lovely when she arrived but really let down the team with overcooked eggs. Bottom line, poached eggs need to have runny yolks, and these ones did not.

I left a little torn, I really wanted to join the masses and love M1lk but this experience left me underwhelmed. I’ve seen the instagram shots and my oh my, they had me salivating so perhaps they were having an off-day or perhaps I was fooled by the food porn and set my expectations too high. I’m willing to give it another chance though because I do seem to be in the minority with this opinion. So the next time I’m in the neigbourhood around brunch time, in need of a bite to eat, and there’s no horrendously long line out the door, I’ll stop in again, but really, what are the odds?

So tell me, have you been and did you absolutely love it?

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