Occasionally I go somewhere for breakfast and immediately feel more beautiful and more relaxed just for being there. Parlor Milk Bar & Kitchen is one such place, and not just because the name itself is so darling. It’s a combination of, well, everything about it – the provincial decor, the perpetual smell of baking, the shuttered windows and the open fire. It’s like going home to see your parents, if they were tasteful and elegant French people.
We were very lucky to get a table. It was a warm, windy morning and most of the Sandringham/Beaumaris area had the same thought as we did. A loud, sticky family evacuated the only table for six on the deck just as we arrived, and we shoved ourselves into it even though it meant we ended up covered in a fine layer of maple syrup. Note to others: children under the age of five don’t “eat” pancakes as much as they “paint with” pancakes.
Because Parlor Milk Bar & Kitchen is essentially a windswept beachside cottage filled with magical elves, paper and crayons arrived at our table. The girls drew their usual fantastical pictures – unicorns, ghosts and spending quality time with their mother – while the adults breathed deeply and ordered tea. The location – across from the Victoria Golf Club – is so picturesque that you could be forgiven for forgetting to go to work because you now think you live inside a painting.
After I had finished crying because I’d spent 29 years of my life not at Parlor Milk Bar & Kitchen, I decided to look at the menu. It is varied and comprehensive, with all of the current Melbourne trends featured: corn fritters, roesti stacks, baked eggs and pork belly. I decided after exactly no seconds of deliberation that I would have an Ahoy there, partly because it has all my favourite things in it and partly so I could say “Ahoy there!” to the waitress and embarrass my family.
Hells bells, this breakfast was to die for. The rosti was crunchy on the outside but soft and sweet on the inside. The avocado salsa came complete with corn kernels and a hint of Mexicana and it took a great deal of willpower not to smear it on the insides of my cheeks for later. The hollandaise was eggy and tart, like my sister.
And the eggs flowed like rivers of heaven. They were so rich in colour as to resemble orange juice and actually tasted like eggs instead of the inside of a doorjam, as so many I’ve had recently have done. I spread that yolky goodness all over my served-at-room-temperature smoked salmon and jumped for joy between mouthfuls.
Things to note: dogs aren’t allowed on the deck, so you’ll have to leave them at home or tie them up out the front. My kids had the pancakes (they’re older, so they didn’t paint with them) and looked enraptured. Depicted below is the BLT with avocado added – it was a serious meal and the bite I took was juicy and rude to my mother.