The Milk Bar by Café Ish, Redfern – Rating: 15.5/25

The Milk Bar

We were devastated to hear that Café Ish of Surry Hills had closed.  Would Dane ever find another soft shell crab omelette that even came close to his number one dish since the birth of Sydney on Sunday?  We didn’t have to wait long for the answer.
The Milk Bar by Café Ish popped up in Redfern one morning offering some of their former dishes and a few new ones to tempt your taste buds.  Highlights include the Snickers milkshake and Malteaser pie!  It is run by the husband and wife team of Ai & Josh.  The establishment has abandoned its former Japanese roots to take on an American diner feel.  Burgers, wings, milkshakes, arcade game cabinets and a jukebox certainly is a change from Café Ish v1.0!
We seat ourselves and peruse the extensive food and beverage menu which goes from brunch to salads to sandwiches and burgers to signature dishes to sundaes.  We are startled when the power blacks out not once, not twice but three times.  A few other friends visit days later and have the same experience.  Perhaps the power outages add to Ai’s stress of running a new business as it seems she is a bit cranky.  Josh however chats casually with us from behind the grill and informs us of the retro arcade game tournaments with hearty food as the prize.


The coffee is still by Coffee Alchemy and is pretty tasty.  They make all the regular options: espresso, machiatto or piccollo ($3), long black, cappuccino, flat white, latte (regular $3.50, large $4.20).

Snickers shake

The list of milkshakes ($7) on offer is sizeable.  They include super choc (chocolate ice cream, Lindt chocolate sauce and Milo)red racer (vanilla ice cream, raspberry, Rosella, strawberry syrup and rosewater syrup)PBJ (salted peanut butter ice cream, crunchy peanut butter and raspberry & blueberry jelly) and the Chuck Norris “it’s a PG rayed Pina Colada (vanilla ice cream, coconut macaroon ice cream, vanilla braised pineapple, yuzu and lemon & lime curd.  They all sound amazing!
Dane opts for the special of the moment which is the Snickers shake ($8).  Chocolate ice cream, peanut butter ice cream, chocolate sauce, miso caramel sauce and peanut butter.  This was a milkshake fit for royalty!  Delicious chunks of caramel, chocolate and peanuts combined amazingly.  Hats off for this well-crafted shake.

Apple and cinnamon bircher

Our guest tries the apple & cinnamon bircher ($9).  The fruit includes strawberry, watermelon  kiwi, organic yoghurt and honeycomb as a bonus.  The fruit is fresh and the portion is a decent size.  The honeycomb is the standout, sweet and delicious.

The crab omlette

It’s good to see the iconic dish has remained.  The crab omlette ($24) kara age soft shell crab, avocado, shallot with garlic, chilli, soy and ginger sauce is still one of our Sydney on Sunday all time favourites.  It’s quite salty for a breakfast dish, but let’s admit that it’s almost lunch by the time we make it out so it’s good to have a filling savoury dish.  The crab lives up to its ‘soft’ description and the lime combines with the chilli and soy perfectly.  We highly recommend it!

Double bacon cheeseburger

Burger lovers will drool at the options available.  They are mostly based on the cheeseburger (beef pattie, cheese, pickles, ketchup, grilled onion, $5) and they only get larger from there: double ($9)triple ($13)bacon ($6)double bacon ($11)triple bacon ($16).

The Hawaiian ($16) and tofu ($6) are the other options.  But why not spice up your burger by adding some toppings?!  Classic (lettuce and tomato), Japanese (pickled dakion, carrot, cabbage and wasabi mayonnaise), Italian (rocket, tomato, aioli, balsamic and parmesan) or Aussie (roasted beetroot, free range egg, free range bacon, lettuce and tomato).

These all sound fantastic but Dane had his sights set on a double bacon cheeseburger.  He fancies himself a bit of a burger aficionado and on a few points this burger failed to deliver.  The sauce, abundance of cheese and soft but toasted bun were great as was the grilled onion which added a nice sweetness.  The letdown was the patties themselves.  Yes they were pure beef and get a tick there but they were lacking in seasoning and flavour.  The bacon also needed some more grilling.  There are other burger joints we would rather visit but we’re willing to return to try some of the other burger toppings.

The layout and furniture don’t add much to the atmosphere.  When we visit, the walls are quite bare with nothing hanging on them.  The jukebox and bottles of candy are a nice touch but it takes more than a few items to add some atmosphere.

The kitchen is open and in the middle of the room so we leave smelling like a barbecue.  Go for the food rather than for a relaxing morning!  It will be interesting to revisit in a few months when it has grown up a little.

Redfern is the new black at the moment. Check out a few of our other café reviews in the area: The Fern, Tripod, Pitt St Diner, and Café Ella.

Taste: StarStarStar
Service: StarStar
Atmosphere: StarStarStar
Value: StarStarStarStar

Overall Rating: 15.5/25

Phone: 9699 8828
Address: 105 Regent Street,  Redfern, 2016

Payment Options: Cash

One response to “The Milk Bar by Café Ish, Redfern – Rating: 15.5/25

  1. Pingback: Café Morso, Pyrmont – Rating: 23.5/25 (re-review 2) | Sydney on Sunday

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