What: The second site for modern Australian all-day dining brand Milk Beach following on from the success of its debut restaurant in London’s Queen’s Park.
Who: Milk Beach’s founder is Sydney-born Elliot Milne who had a background in law, finance and energy prior to entering the world of restaurants. Before moving to London, Milne lived in Ethiopia and worked with Technoserve and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help set up the Coffee Initiative Project helping coffee farmers access sustainable financing to purchase better equipment and improve the quality of their coffee. As a result, the group has a head of coffee in Californian Matthew Robley-Siemonsma, winner of the UK Coffee Roasting Championship in both 2016 and 2017. On the food side is head of food Darren Leadbeater, who hails from Mackay in Queensland, and whose CV includes Sydney restaurants Guillame at Bennellong, and Aria as well as Frenchie, Wild Honey and Brunswick House in London.
The food: Leadbetter’s menu draws inspiration from Southeast Asia and the Med with only a few dishes from the Queen’s Park menu being served in Soho – including potato gems, buttermilk, and salmon roe; and koji marinated chicken ‘Schnitty’ served with fermented chilli mayonnaise and chicken salt chips. The Soho menu is divided into nibbles, raw, veggies, plates and robata options and features key dishes such as Szechuan aubergine karaage; prawn toast with sesame and gochujang sweet ‘n’ sour sauce; monkfish and mussels yellow curry, peanuts, choi sum, holy basil, and jasmine rice; and Chinese 5 spice BBQ pork rib dumplings, chilli pho ga consommé. Larger robata dishes include prawns with fermented chilli butter; and a Belted Galloway bone-in ribeye with tare, oyster and tarragon butter. Desserts, meanwhile, include its signature ‘Golden Gaytime’ with toffee and buttermilk parfait, dark chocolate, malt and honeycomb crumble; and its take on a lamington with morello cherry, chocolate semifreddo, and coconut. The restaurant is initially only open for dinner, but an all-day breakfast and lunch menu will follow later in autumn.
To drink: Milk Beach’s inventive cocktail list will put it in good stead with the Soho crowd, with options including a coffee and banana Negroni; a Pacific Storm made with Havana 7 rum, Milk Beach’s own pilsner, lime juice, pineapple, and cardamom; and a Skin Contact Spritz featuring orange wine, Italicus and soda. Three beers are also on offer – the aforementioned Milk Beach pilsner, brewed by Croydon-based Coalition Brewery, a Stone & Wood Pacific Ale, and a Two Tribes Metro Land Session IPA.
The vibe: Located in an enclosed outdoor courtyard of Ilona Rose House in alleyway just of Greek Street (it can also be accessed from Manette Street), Milk Beach feels a far cry from the busy streets that surround it. The large, bright and textured room features natural wood and stone finishes throughout with ample space for 90 covers as well as an eight-metre-long bar as you walk in and a palladiana terrazzo floor designed to give the feel of walking along the rocks by the sea. There’s also a heated a heated outdoor courtyard that has space for a further 65, which feels more Borough Yards than bustling Soho.
And another thing: As you’d expect with head of coffee on the books, speciality coffee is a core pillar of the Milk Beach offer with Milne and Robley-Siemonsma recently launching coffee roastery Album Coffee Roasters that supplies both restaurants with single-origin coffee.
Unit 3, Ilona Rose House, Manette Street, W1D 4AL