Sunday, October 24, 2010

Espresso, Milk Bar, Soho, London

Milkbar. From the people that brought you Flat White. It's just like Flat White, but with more room. That alone makes it more worth visiting, in my book. I fail to see the resemblance between this and a milk bar though. There was a milk bar around the corner from where I grew up. It sure didn't look like this. Streamers on the front door and a few milkshake cups on a shelf does not make this hip polished cafe a milk bar any more than a cash register and a box of Trill would make it a pet shop. But that's not important. It has Australian and/or Kiwi baristas who know what the hell they're doing. As if that doesn't excite a homesick expat enough. Calling the place Milkbar to boot will set off a patriotic nostalgic sentimental bushfire that only a just-a-strong-latte-thanks-mate can quench. Want to know how to get there? Put on your favourite patriotic nostalgic sentimental Australian and/or Kiwi classic rock album and get on the tube.
  • Get the tube to Tottenham Court Road. Oxford Circus will also do, but Tottenham Court Road means you'll spend a lot less time on Oxford St, which, trust me, is a good move. Head west.
  • Now that you're walking down Oxford St, you'll be getting pretty anxious to get off of it as soon as possible. Turn left down Soho St, into Soho. That's easy to remember.
  • Soon, it will open up into Soho Square. That's also easy to remember. Walk straight through Soho Square. Yes, even straight through the park in the middle. And out the other side.
  • On the other side of the square, there's a lane between two buildings called Bateman's Buildings. That's not at all easy to remember, but I'm sure you didn't get lost yet.
  • Come out the other side onto Bateman St, and right in front of you is Milk Bar. Welcome to Australia.

Yes, a guy on an iPhone4 just happened to walk past while I was taking the photo. What are the odds? Quite high really. I'm pretty sure the barista here yesterday used to work at Batch about five years ago. You might think, "Wow, small world," but the odds are pretty high on that too. Many Australians move to London. There is an abundance of good baristas in Melbourne. There is a dearth of them in London. Do the math. Being served by the same barista in St Kilda and Soho in any five year period is almost a certainty.

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