There are some places where people are transported back to their childhood. Dan McGuirt’s new Jazz City Milk Bar is one of these charming establishments. Situated just around the corner from his popular Jazz City Diner, McGuirt’s milk bar has long been his dream since moving to Australia from the United States.
The milk bar is amongst good company, tucked next to Universal, Phamish and Lucio Pizzeria in the lively Republic 2 courtyard. Decorated in a classic diner style, the floors are chequered and topped with stainless steel benches and diner stools imported from the USA. Cookie jars line the bench top, with various sweet and savoury smells wafting from the kitchen.
Part of the philosophy of the milk bar is for people to visit with their friends to enjoy American sweet delicacies like pies, cookies, cotton candy and ice cream sandwiches. However, McGuirt has included dinner specialities like gourmet burgers and hot dogs, to more adventurous dishes like a New Orleans BBQ Shrimp ($28) and A&W Root Beer Braised Chuck Steak ($24).
Even the drinks are authentic. Adding to the American beer and wine list, order the Coca-Cola float ($8). Instead of a dollop of ice cream dropped into the soft drink, the ice cream is in the bottom of the glass, with the Coke poured in. It makes all the difference.
Ask McGuirt which dish he’s particularly proud of and he’ll say, “it’s all good” but he recommends the pastalaya ($24), his version of the famous jambalaya. It’s generous on the toppings with plenty of juicy sausage (similar to chorizo), tender chicken and fresh prawns tossed in a light creamy sauce and al dente spaghetti.
To finish, try one of the milk bar’s pies, all made on the premises. The strawberry pie ($8) is delicious, with ripe strawberries bound together with strawberry jelly on top of a crumbly biscuit. Add cream and ice cream (extra $3) and you’re on top of the world.
Other diners are digging into the mammoth banana split ($9), complete with vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream together with pineapples, chocolate and strawberry syrup, nuts and a cherry.
If you’re keen for a breakfast fix, Jazz City Milk Bar is open from 8am on the weekend. With an assortment of pancakes, omelettes, to more adventurous options like the shrimp egg foo young ($17) with bean sprouts, mushrooms, shrimp, green onions and a chicken oyster sauce, the milk bar sounds like the perfect cure after a big night.
Jazz City Milk Bar is perfect for anyone looking for an authentic American experience. Most important of all, it’s a whole heap of fun.
– This article was first published on Concrete Playground in January, 2013. Read it here.