Their milkshakes just might bring all the boys in the yard but it’s the food menu at Milk Bar Brunswick Heads that had Mr GFAF and I there twice in four days recently. The first visit was mid-week. We were on the road for lunch but couldn’t bare the crawl into Byron Bay to hang with the schoolies. So, we eased passed the Ewingsdale Road turnoff in the direction of Brunswick Heads to enjoy the sea breeze and serenity and something yummy. The second visit was four days later on a Saturday. We usually avoid certain times of the day to call into Brunswick Heads – like Summertime lunch hour when the town is crawling with tourists. But we didn’t care about that this time. We just wanted a second taste of the Milk Bar Brunswick Heads menu whether we were dining among the masses or not.
Before you get to thinking that the Milk Bar Brunswick Heads is going to be one of those seventies corner shops with plastic fly flaps and Streets Ice Cream signs, let me set you straight. A weathered shopfront selling fishing bait in the deep freezer alongside Chocolate Billabongs it is not. Although, I do have a soft spot for those old-school milk bars as they remind me of my childhood in Melbourne where there was one on every corner.
You will find the Milk Bar Brunswick Heads on The Terrace overlooking the water among other popular eateries such as Footbridge Café and The Terrace Espresso Bar. Like its neighbours, there is café seating on the footpath or inside for couples and groups at small and large shared tables. Al fresco diners are protected from any gusts of weather or Summer sunshine by a huge awning cocooning the footpath. The timber furniture and fittings are solid and have a repurposed vintage feel. The tables are dotted with amber jars of flowers.
The menu at Milk Bar Brunswick Heads runs all day. Well from 10am anyway when the café opens 7 days a week. For the owners, it’s all about a work / life balance and time to do exercise, surf, and be with the kids. After all, that’s why we live in this place, isn’t it?
I would explain the Milk Bar menu as ‘brunch style’ beginning with the Bacon and Egg Roll brimming with streaky bacon, a free range egg, onions and house made tomato sauce on ciabatta. The menu then takes a surprise turn and moves its way into some international tastes like Bibimbap and Congee.
The Bibimbap is a fresh rendition of this popular Korean dish with a leaning towards on trend ingredients and nutrition at its heart. The dish features brown rice, steamed greens, house made pickles and ferments, miso and chilli jam with a fried egg on top. It’s really good.
Further into the menu I can recommend the Spiced Chicken Salad which is fresh and generous. The dish includes charred corn straight from the cob with spice rubbed and grilled chicken, spring onions, lemon chilli and coriander.
The Soft Tacos are a vibrant Mexican dish featuring two blue corn tortillas from local legends Dona Cholita, and your choice of chipotle chicken or spiced black beans with avocado, corn salsa, slaw and jalapenos. They come served in a retro plastic basket reminiscent of a street food diner.
The menu also includes Burgers and a Bourbon Brisket Sandwich with slow braised and pulled beef brisket, house made barbeque sauce and fennel and radish slaw on toasted ciabatta .
Don’t overlook the Specials Board which changes daily.
While we were there one special had us curious – Chawanmushi – a Japanese steamed egg with spring onions, pickled oyster mushrooms, Okinawa chilli oil and bacon jam. Unfortunately, it was off the menu on our second visit but we happily substituted with the Oxtail Hotpot. The clay pot dish featured sticky soy braised oxtail with ginger and kaffir lime leaf, bok choy, sweet potato noodles and green papaya. It was worthy of some bone sucking and finger licking at the end. The Surfer Dog special was tempting as well – a Hayters Hill nitrate free frank served on an organic brioche bun with kraut, mustard, jalapenos and house made tomato sauce. Maybe next time!
On the drinks side of things, one side of the menu offers classic smoothies, malted shakes served in aluminium cups and iced coffees with gelato while the other end includes a range of delicious energising super smoothies, freshly made juices, Golden Milk and house made Kombucha and Keffir for those looking for something a little bit hipster. Your regular tea and coffee café options are also available
The other big drawcard for any decent Milk Bar is the ice cream cabinet and the Milk Bar Brunswick Heads doesn’t disappoint here. Although the selection is a far leap from your regular Chocolate Billabong and Cornetto. The Milk Bar Brunswick Heads serves locally made gelati from In the Pink. Their traditional artisan gelati, is made in Byron Bay using fresh local and Italian imported ingredients. You won’t find any better.
So for an old school meets new school blend of nutritious, brunch style food with an international twist seven days a week make sure you visit the Milk Bar Brunswick Heads. But I’d say you’ll need to visit a few times to work your way through the menu and the gelati flavours!
PRICE RANGE MILK BAR BRUNSWICK HEADS
Bacon and Egg Roll $11.00 – Congee $17.00
Oxtail JHotpot Special $17
Classic Smoothies $7.00
Super Smoothies $8.50
Golden Milk $4.00