30 Mill, 4 February 2012
66 Milton Parade, Malvern Vic 3144
P and I venture out on a beautiful Saturday morning in search of late breakfast/brunch. I’m starving and craving a good old eggs benedict, but without concrete plans we turn to Urbanspoon and down Malvern Road, both of which lead us to this nondescript hole-in-the-wall espresso bar.
After discovering that eggs don’t feature on their no fuss menu at all (to my great dismay), we settle for coffee – presumably 30 Mill’s specialty offering (note: 30 milliliters equates to a shot of coffee).
The barista looks cool and collected behind his shiny silver machine, but sadly the coffee doesn’t blow our minds. In a city renowned for its brilliant coffee, 30 Mill’s coffee is fairly standard. We find the roast to be quite strong, bitter and almost ‘burnt’ in taste (or perhaps that’s the milk) – good for those who enjoy a serious morning hit, but not so good for those who expect a regular strength coffee to fit their order. I load a spoonful of brown sugar into my glass which noticeably improves the drink, while P takes his plain, commenting that his coffee probably isn’t as strong as mine (even though we both order lattes). This inconsistency is a slight worry, though not something that we’d dock significant points for.
60 milliliters of coffee later, we begin to mull over our opinions of the Milton Parade cafe.
We agree that the concept is idyllic – 30 Mill is situated directly across Tooronga train station’s car park, and has obviously been established to capture the weekday morning commuter rush (not unlike Armadale’s fantastic Coin Laundry, stickydates review to come). The cafe provides a short, on-the-go menu with toast, smashed avocado, pastries, muesli and an attractive breakfast smoothie. We note that the menu would probably work well for the express service purpose, but isn’t extensive enough for a lazy weekend brunch.
Inside, the place is cute – wooden tables, a large black and white print on the wall featuring Frank Sinatra lyrics, and jazzy motown tunes such as I Heard It Through the Grapevine providing welcome background music. It’s busy enough for you to feel like the place isn’t a failure, but it’s not bustling with patrons. The service is average – nothing memorable.
30 Mill is great on paper (and perhaps for the weekday commuter), but for the weekend goer it doesn’t quite hit the mark. It lacks a solid weekend menu (perhaps some specials or additions are in order for Saturday and Sunday trade), and the coffee isn’t spectacular.
It’s not a place we would go out of our way to visit again – but it’s not a bad attempt.
Update: P went back for a spring smash (avocado, lime, coriander etc on toast) as a Sunday morning post-hangover cure. It was refreshing and tasty, but the bread slightly over-toasted. Perhaps a poached egg or two on top would have helped as well. Nonetheless, 30 Mill wins back some points on round two.
Food 3.5/5 Service 3/5 Ambience 3.5/5 Value 3.5/5 Total 13.5/20