currently: listening to The Wire by David Dallas feat. Ruby Frost
In this little corner of Britomart, hidden away between a shoe shop and a restaurant, is a simple black door and window. It doesn't call your name, doesn't boast a large sign, and you'd probably walk past it without even realising. But just behind that simple black door is a little restaurant that becomes the Alice in Wonderland of desserts. It's not a big place, but that doesn't compromise on its massive tastes.
Call it timing, call it luck, call it a rainy day on Wednesday night; but Anne-Marie and I managed to get ourselves a table the dessert-only restaurant that seats maybe 15 people in total. As the waiter showed us to a table, Anne-Marie excitedly whispers to me 'I've never been able to get in before!"
Despite being such a small room, there's so much to take in at Milse. From the gorgeously cut wood paneling that covered the windows and ceiling, to the people sitting next to us with these amazingly degustation plated desserts, then to the talented dessert artists crafting these delicious little treats. Anne-Marie, who was here for her second time (last time she ate her dessert outside) already knew what to pick from the menu, but I was completely overwhelmed with what to choose. I felt a bit a clueless as I attempted to understand what all the French words meant on their menu. Like what the heck is a "verrines"? And I know a gateaux is a cake, but what does that make an entremet? I just didn't know how to start even choosing.
Thankfully, our friend Justin, who I think is New Zealand's best waiter (and I know, he's waitered me twice at two different places now and he's super lovely) came over and gave me some suggestions on what to choose - and since I felt so excited for sitting in such an exclusive place, I let him suggest stuff to me from the more expensive A La Carte menu. He tells me his three favourites, and I decide on the Strawberry menu, with peas, Parmesan cheese, peanut and mint - something that he said seemed like an unusual combination but was fantastic. Anne-Marie goes for the regular menu with two macarons, one lamington and the other salted caramel, and a bombed Alaska on a stick, filled with raspberry and vanilla gelato.
To describe only some that went onto that plate, the Strawberry menu included; strawberry gel, pea sorbet, fresh strawberries, mint leaves, mint foam, peanut cookies, strawberry cheesecake, parmesan wafer, pea shoots, and these strawberry and pea puffy things that I'm not too sure what they were... There probably was a logical way to eat that all too, but I just went right in and tasted each element, and then played around with other elements to see what pairings I could make. Everything strawberry tasted great, the pea sorbet was quite refreshing between each bite (though Anne-Marie didn't like it cause she hates peas), not sure how I felt about the foam but the peanut cookies and parmesan wafers were tasty. Mint and pea go well together, and of course so did strawberry and peanut. It was a strange dish with savoury mixing with sweet, but there was so much fun with experimenting with the plate, and I finished everything, even the pea shoots.
Anne-Marie's dish on the other hand looked simple, yet tasty. Bombed Alaska on a stick looked kind of like a Jelly Tip, except exchanging chocolate for meringue. The macarons were baked perfectly, and the lamington macaron looked true to form. And of course, Anne-Marie loved it, and was still so happy she finally managed to seat inside Milse. Pretty sure she's already planned for our next meetup to happen in there.
Overall, Milse, you're a simple black door into a gallery of flavours. Degustation eating is really quite fun, and of course if its in dessert form, even better. Milse is one of the places in Auckland you'd need to visit at least once, and if you're going to do that - make sure you take a decent camera, cause what comes out of the kitchen is a masterpiece. Too bad you can't make booking there, cause I'm pretty sure I'll want a table there every week if I could.
Food Party review:
Money friendliness - A place to visit on payday or special occasions.
Purchase fun - There's so much selection that its really hard to decide if you're a first timer. Ask for Justin to guide you through his picks.
Deliciousness factor - It's different in the best way, and the flavours will challenge you and excite you. I mean - pea sorbet. Who would have thought that would be a thing?