Milk, Hildreth Street

Formally Le Petit Bistro (which admittedly we never visited), we tried to get into Milk during Saturday lunchtime to no avail. We ended up at The Fat Deli (which will be posted in the near future) but Sunday brunch was a success. And then cake…

Hildreth Street is a little hit and miss if we’re being honest. There are a couple of great spots – Fara, The Wine Tasting Shop, Bunka Boutique – but there are far too many closed-down shops on that route, which is a shame because as a pedestrianised spot it could make a really great shopping spot. Hopefully the recent addition of the weekly Hildreth Street market will encourage this.

Anyway, back onto Milk. It’s a small setting but they’ve made the most of it – cramming tables in but you don’t ever feel like you’re on top of each other. The kitchen area is impressively small; they obviously have a bit of a slick operation going on to produce and serve cooked food to hungry punters. The brickwork and wallpaper are very shabby chic indeed; like a big family kitchen in the country. There’s some space outdoors without having passers by squeeze past – it will make an ideal people-watching spot come the warmer months.

Their menu is modest, offering mostly egg-based brekkies. A lot of their menu seems to offer classics with a twist; omelette with feta cheese nestled between the spinach and mushrooms, and banana bread with passionfruit.

Their breakfasts feature sourdough bread; light and spongey and great for mopping up the orangey yolk. The presentation of all the cooked food is beautiful – try and spy the English breakfast on the serving spot by the kitchen in the picture above. Nice garnishes like rocket and vine tomatoes that compliment the food rather than overwhelm it (hello corriander/parsley etc).

Eggs Benedict, omellete, a pot of tea, cappuccino and a slice of banana bread came to £22; pretty similar to other Balham coffee spots. We like. Just go before 1pm to grab a table or be disappointed.

PS: they seem to have an occurring theme of dolls heads dotted around the place, and on the menu. When asked why, the answer was “because it’s fun”. OK.

Enq. Milk, 20 Bedford Hill (Hildreth Street).

Reviewed: London Farmers’ Market & Hildreth Street Market

There’s nothing more dangerous for your wallet or your waistline than a farmers’ market, but hey, it’s worth it. Besides, there’s so much healthy, fresh produce in gigantic proportions (did you SEE the size of those garlic bulbs? Enormous!) that the satisfaction levels are much higher than just sticking to your weekly shop in your local supermarket.

Highlights from this weekend’s London Farmers’ Market and Hildreth Street Market include:

*Wild Country Organics – (Chestnut Grove School & Hildreth Street) who knew that so many types of edible leaf existed? We purchased sorrel leaf, which had a light, citrusy flavour; indeed the stall holder used to find them in fields as a child and call them ‘yummy leaves’.

*Artisan Foods – (Chestnut Grove) small savoury tarts full of bite, plus cakes baked in loaf tins served by the slice; our favourite so far was lemon and poppy seed – the perfect, light flavour for this weather.

*Seafayre – (Chestnut Grove) huge chunks of upmarket restaurant-worthy fish from the Kent coast at incredible value (6 scallops for £5.50, anyone)? Plus ask and you’ll get recipe suggestions with your purchase.

*Little Jack Horner’s -(CG)  buy a pie, keep the dish, or return it next time for a small refund. Foolproof dinner party fayre.

*Bread-Ahead Bakery – (CG) a decent variety of bread (soda, rock salt, walnut) at very reasonable prices. We picked up a wholemeal pain for £2.50. Keep it plain; a smear of butter is all this loaf needs.

* Comptoir Gourmand – (HS) a beautiful patisserie selling doorstep brownies and the biggest meringues we’ve ever seen.

*Kath’s Cakes – so, so pretty, almost too good to eat (but it’d be rude not to). The chocolate and beetroot cupcakes are ones to look out for (that’s healthy, right?). Next time we’ll be trying their vanilla and blackcurrant flavour.