To say that Milse has had a busy couple of opening weeks would be a complete understatement.With people queuing for up to two hours to get in (they aren’t taking bookings at the moment), the owners are considering hiring security guards to keep the sugar-craving hordes at bay. “You dessert fiends are crazy!” one of the staff laughed as he told me how some people have even been trying to sneak in through the kitchen door.
He’s right, of course – and Milse’s owners knew they were onto a winner when they dreamed up the tiny dessert restaurant. When I last visited back in February on a work assignment, things were a lot calmer. Opening had been scheduled for March, but it took until late April to get everything just right before opening.
Since then, head chef Brian Campbell has been working 20 hour days to keep the restaurant’s cabinets stocked with a rainbow of macarons, handcrafted chocolates, gelatos-on-sticks, and a huge array of other exquisite-looking desserts – including some impressive, dome-shaped, $95-a-pop gelato cakes, which come packed in little chilly bins if you buy one to take away.
On top of all that, there’s the a la carte menu, which is what we were there to try. It was a cold, rainy Saturday night and we walked straight in and snagged the best seats in the house – at the bar overlooking the kitchen. This puts you in sneezing distance of where the desserts are plated up (although sneezing is obviously not advisable), and means you can chat to the chefs. I was utterly transfixed!
The menu, which looks like it will change monthly, simply lists the components of each dish, without telling you what form it will actually take. It says, “Trust us, we know what we’re doing” – which is exactly what you should do.
I couldn’t go past “Apple”, which among other things also promised elements of feijoa and salted caramel. This is what emerged after several minutes of unbelievably dainty assembly:
A crispy mille feuillentine with salted caramel mousse, Granny Smith sorbet and feijoa gel. It was heavenly. Despite the number of things on the plate, every flavour held its own. Sweet, tart, crunchy and creamy – it was all there.
My dining companion chose “Gianduja” – hazelnut, chocolate and banana, which he too greatly enjoyed:
The a la carte desserts are $18 each – comparable to what you would pay at any other fine dining restaurant. The advantage of Milse is that you can have a light dinner beforehand and skip straight to dessert, which makes it a much more cost-effective night!
Co-owner Scott Brown says the degustation menus will be rolled out in the next little while. I know what I’d like for my birthday…
27 Tyler St, Britomart
Ph: 09 368 9487
© thebakingof 2013