Midura – Brunch etc.

When I found myself in Mildura for 3 months for work, I was honestly pleasantly surprised at how broad the food options available were. Mind you, some things were definitely better than others, but the brunch scene is truly solid, and here are the 3 places I managed to squeeze in:

Brother Chris
88 Deakin Ave
Mildura, VIC 3500

Set on the ground floor in an open-plan, half-in-half-out space that looks out onto the idyllic city centre, being at Brother Chris on a sunny morning almost feels as good as a holiday. In the week leading up to Christmas, this place is absolutely thriving with people enjoying the sunshine with a cocktail in hand, and the menu would not look out of place in the big city. If you were to have brunch at once place in Mildura, this would be my pick.

Rating: 13.5/20 – cream of the mildura crop.

Granola ($23.9)

The whole granola-with-a-pannacotta thing may have been made famous by Tinker, but it’s still worth applauding when another restaurant actually does it properly. The Granola ($23.9) does justice to the concept, pairing their house-made honey roasted granola with fresh summer fruit, and a delightfully smooth and wobbly vanilla pannacotta. This is one of those healthy dishes that actually tastes good enough not to make forsaking the crème brûlée french toast feel like a chore.

Fritters with Benefits ($23.9) with Bacon ($6)

Fritters with Benefits ($23.9) with Bacon ($6)

Fritters with Benefits ($23.9)? How could I resist. Aside from the fact that these fritters were more like croquettes with their smooshy centre, the flavours of this dish were top-notch. The sweetness of the corn and sweet potato contrasted well with the salty haloumi and smoky tomato relish, and everything was held together with a deliciously fresh yet creamy green goddess dressing. And you know what? May as well go to whole hog (hehe) and add Bacon ($6) too, just for that extra salty, meaty goodness.

Skim Flat White ($4.8)/Iced Chocolate ($6.5)

The Skim Flat White ($4.8) here is pretty good, but the Iced Chocolate ($6.5), with plenty of ice cream and whipped cream, is the real source of joy.

51 Deakin Ave
Mildura, VIC 3500

I just managed to squeeze in a visit to BLK MLK the morning I left Mildura, and I’m glad I did, because they do a pretty good feed. The menu here is Asian-inspired, with options such as dahl and chicken bao rubbing shoulders with the usual suspects. But whilst the sandwich was excellent, the scramble was lacklustre, which makes it hard to judge just how good this place is. However my gut feel is that the scramble was probably a bit of an outlier, especially judging by the other food I was seeing around. Would also come back, and the friendly staff certainly helps their case.

Rating: 12.5/20 – points for hospitality.

NY Style Baguette ($22)

The NY Style Baguette ($22) looks good, and tastes even better. The drawcard is the thinly sliced roast beef, drenched in an aromatic, gravy-like jus. The horseradish mayo lends the sandwich some bite, and the result is a bold, saucy sandwich that makes a mess on everything within arms’ reach. Absolutely worth it though.

Kimchi Scramble ($22)

I was less thrilled by the Kimchi Scramble ($22), which was more of a kimchi-tinged omelette than anything else. It sounds pedantic, but if you ask me, getting an omelette when you want a scramble is like getting steak if you’ve asked for a pork chop – still yum, but just not what you’re after at the time. At least their Iced Latte ($6.5) was excellent.

Brass Monkey
149 Eighth St
Mildura, VIC 3500

Out of the 3 cafes here, Brass Monkey has the most interesting menu. Which is great, but it also feels more disappointing when the food doesn’t quite live up to expectations. Don’t get me wrong – I had a perfectly tasty meal here, but the food did sound a smidge better on paper. I wish I had another chance to come back though, because there were plenty more on the menu I would’ve liked to try. Plus, I’d heard amazing things about their chicken and waffles.

Rating: 12.5/20 – warrants a revisit.

Lamb Shoulder Bagel ($25)

I only managed to get to Brass Monkey once by myself during my time here, and after lots of deliberation, I went with the Lamb Shoulder Bagel ($25). Yes, the bagel is not a real bagel, it’s just round bread – but that’s what I expected. Other than that though, I was pretty happy with how the dish turned out, from the tender lamb shoulder, to the classic accompaniment of smashed minty peas. Bit less beetroot relish would’ve been good though, as it was much too sweet.

Skim Flat White ($4.6)

The Skim Flat White ($4.6) here was also pretty reasonable, and knocked out the craving, even if it’s nothing to shout about.

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