The potato scallop. You couldn't find a better snack for 15 cents when I was a kid. The golden batter would be bubbled and crunchy, surrounding a thick slice of cooked potato. Out it would come, straight from the deep fryer, threatening to burn your fingers and your tongue as the oil from the batter rapidly seeped into the paper bag.
There was the always half-empty bain marie, lined up with chiko rolls, massive dim sims and deep-fried kransky sausages in a daunting shade of red. But most of our time was spent huddled around the video arcade games - jabbing furiously at the buttons through bouts of Double Dragon, Golden Axe, Street Fight II and Wonder Boy. We could rarely afford the hamburger, even though the smell of grease as the pre-formed patty hit the grill made our mouths water, but we would often pool together our shrapnel for a large serve of hot chips, sprinkled generously with chicken salt and wrapped up in butchers paper.
It's this trip down memory lane that forms the inspiration for Milk Bar Memories, a special one-off event by Ms. G's chefs Dan Hong and Jowett Yu as part of the March into Merivale series.
Milk Bar Menu
Even with the menu in front of us, we're not really sure what to expect. We do applaud the forethought on setting up a twitter hashtag but it's a shame that that whoever printed the menu got @thejowski's twitter handle wrong.
Inside Ms. G's
Mull It over $14; chocolate milkshakes and yuzu slushee (included);
Pina 'pearls' colada $14 and Good Morning Vietnam $14
Our $65 for the five course lunch includes the option of a yuzu slushee (limoncello, Russian standard vodka, yuzu juice and Regan's orange bitters, normally $14) but most of us end up keeping with the milk bar theme and order the chocolate milkshake, deliciously frothy and not too sweet.
Potato scallop and kransky with tomato vinaigette
The smell of kransky hits the table as soon as the first course arrives. It's hard to make kransky look sexy, even if you do drape over thin delicate shavings of compressed celery. The 'potato scallop' is the antithesis of what we're expecting, not deep-friend and oily potato but a raw sea scallop covered in potato chip smithereens. The scallop is wondrously fresh and sweet - it's a surprisingly elegant start to the meal.
Neon and aprons
Chiko roll and chicken dim sim
We move into more familiar territory with the next course. The chicken dim sim is smaller than most versions you'll encounter at the milk bar - so too is the Chiko roll, wrapped in a skin that tastes eerily similar to the original. It's not quite as densely chewy, but as we eat our way through the heavy spring roll packed with cabbage, carrots and grey-green peas, it does spark off a series of sentimental recollections of this divisive snack. You either loved or you hated the Chiko roll. I could never see the appeal!
Asian Mothers are the Best Mothers on the Ms. G's menu
Chip-crusted prawns created visions of prawns wrapped in potato strings and deep-fried, but again we're confounded by a trio of butterflied prawns with a wedge of lemon on the side. The chips, we're told in a serious tone by our server, are crushed Burger Rings, nacho cheese Doritos and chicken Twisties.
Who knew that the bits at the bottom of a chip packet could be put to such good use? This dish works mostly because the prawns are so deliriously good. Large, plump and sweet, the prawns have been barely cooked to maintain their delicate flavour, and although pulling them out of their shells takes some patience - mostly because I don't want to leave any scraps behind.
The smashed up chips provide the seasoning for the dish, and the nacho cheese Doritos seem to get the majority vote for best pairing. It does prompt a series of alternative suggestions - Suze thinks that chilli chips would work, but I'm all for Thins light and tangy. It's a fun dish that could be a hit at your next dinner party!
Plating the chip-crusted prawns in the kitchen
Mini Aussie burger and homemade fries
By course number four, we're actually starting to struggle, but the mini Aussie burger is so picturesque we immediately make more room in our stomachs.
Fried quail egg
It's a miniature construction of beef patty, onions, lettuce, tomato, beetroot and crisp bacon topped off with a tiny fried quail egg. A sesame-topped brioche bun is buttery soft and fluffy but it's the beef patty that impresses most, fat and juicy and cooked to a barely pink middle. A paper cup of potato chips is just the right size - the only thing missing is a puddle of tomato sauce.
Hamburger production line
Monaco Bar x Golden Gaytime
We have high expectations to dessert, especially when promised a combination of two classics: the Monaco Bar and the Golden Gaytime. It's a love child like no other. Thin planks of soft chocolate biscuit are sandwiched around two scoops of vanilla bean and toffee ice cream drizzled with lashings of salted caramel sauce. It's the biscuit crumbs that make it though - sweet buttery biscuit smashings that we scoop up greedily with our spoons.
We're taken straight back to memories of a hot and sticky Sydney summer, where your legs stuck to the vinyl seats in the car and relief from the heat was running through the sprinklers. And as the local milk bar becomes a dying breed in the suburbs, what childhood memories will the youth of today have in twenty years?
Milk Bar Memories was a one-off event held at Ms. G's on Saturday 17 March 2012. Cost was $65 per adult ($40 per child) for five courses and a cocktail or milkshake.
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155 Victoria Street, Potts Point, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8313 1000
Friday 12pm-3pm and Sunday 1pm-5pm
Monday to Sunday 5pm-11pm
Bookings accepted for Friday and Sunday lunch only
Related Grab Your Fork posts:
Potts Point - Blancharu (Japanese)
Potts Point - Busshari (Japanese)
Potts Point - Concrete Blonde (Mod Aust)
Potts Point - Doma Bohemian Beer Cafe (Czech)
Potts Point - Hugos Bar Pizza (Italian)
Potts Point - Mere Catherine (French)
Potts Point - Prague Czech Beer Restaurant (Czech)
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3/19/2012 01:15:00 am