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Monday, March 19, 2012

Ms. G's, Potts Point - Milk Bar Memories

monaco bar and golden gaytime dessert at ms g's, potts point

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 memories menu at ms g's, potts point
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.

ms g's, potts point
Inside Ms. G's

drinks and cocktails at ms g's, potts point
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 at ms g's, potts point
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.

ms g's, potts point
Neon and aprons

chiko roll and chicken dim sim at ms g's, potts point
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 at ms g's, potts point
Asian Mothers are the Best Mothers on the Ms. G's menu

chip-crusted prawns at ms g's, potts point
Chip-crusted prawns

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!

ms g's kitchen, potts point
Plating the chip-crusted prawns in the kitchen

aussie hamburger and fries at ms g's, potts point
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.

hamburger with quail egg at ms g's, potts point
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 at ms g's, potts point
Hamburger production line

There are 88 people booked in for the sold-out Milk Bar Memories event, with most tables commencing at different times depending on when all guests arrive. Our courses arrive in good time - not too fast so as to feel rushed, and not too slow so that we're looking toward the kitchen - a commendable effort given the limited kitchen space and the number of components in many of the dishes.

monaco bar and golden gaytime dessert at ms g's, potts point
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. 

ms g's, potts point

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Ms. G's on Urbanspoon

Ms. G's
155 Victoria Street, Potts Point, Sydney
Tel: +61 (02) 8313 1000

Opening hours:
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)  
19 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 3/19/2012 01:15:00 am


  • At 3/19/2012 2:58 am, Anonymous Su-Lin said…

    Ah! Now I understand the nostalgia involved with this menu! Everything sounds both brilliant and fun!

  • At 3/19/2012 6:17 am, Anonymous jess @ fushmush said…

    So disappointed that it was a one off event. I really want to eat that dessert.

  • At 3/19/2012 7:16 am, Blogger Anna @ The Shady Pine said…

    Love this idea....the good old potato scollop was the best treat as well as the 20 cent bag of banana lollies!

  • At 3/19/2012 7:57 am, Anonymous JB said…

    How creative! I love these one off events Dan Hong and Jowett Yu do!

  • At 3/19/2012 8:42 am, Anonymous chocolatesuze said…

    oh man the dessert was all kinds of amazing!

  • At 3/19/2012 9:41 am, Blogger Mel said…

    I was obsessed with a bag of mixed lollies and Choo Choo bars at our local milk bar...ah, the good old day.

  • At 3/19/2012 10:00 am, Anonymous gastronomous anonymous said…

    bummed i missed the event. that burger and dessert looks absolutely amazing!

  • At 3/19/2012 10:48 am, Anonymous Swah said…

    The Monaco Bar x Golden Gaytime dessert was my fav!! Amazing. Closely followed by the delicious burger of course :)

  • At 3/19/2012 10:49 am, Anonymous The Extra said…

    Ah Chiko Rolls - I used to discard the insides (awful cabbage with mystery goop) and just eat the casing!

    And here's a little tip for home made Gaytimes - vanilla ice cream, Special K and caramel sauce. YUM.

  • At 3/19/2012 11:49 am, Anonymous Sara - Belly Rumbles said…

    Was quite a surprise how filling those mini burgers were. I remember when you could get 5 lollies for a cent. No wonder we only needed a dollar or two for pocket money.

  • At 3/19/2012 1:17 pm, Anonymous Hannah said…

    I've never understood the appeal of Chiko Rolls! Mushy icky smooshy things. My schooltime drug of choice was a (deepfried) chicken-n-corn roll in a roll with sauce :P

    Definitely have a soft spot for potato scallops, though, and I'm with you on trying the Light N Tangy chips for the prawns.

  • At 3/19/2012 2:05 pm, Anonymous Tina @ bitemeshowme said…

    I love the concept of this dining session. Bringing back all those childhood snacks and definitely putting a modern twist to it. That gaytime x monaco bar looks soooooooooo damn good. I'm drooling!

  • At 3/19/2012 3:36 pm, Blogger Gastronomy Gal said…

    Such a great idea! Nostalgia is flooding me!

  • At 3/19/2012 7:13 pm, Anonymous forkit said…

    Tickets to this went like hot cakes...lets hope they do a round two sometime, it all looks fabulous especially those prawns.

  • At 3/19/2012 9:10 pm, Blogger K said…

    Hmm... I'm having a little problem with this special event. On the one hand I think the idea of "Milk Bar Memories" sounds like a ton of fun with lots of opportunity for inventive dishes. Like their take of the potato scallop and the dessert.
    But on the other hand, I think all the rest of the dishes seem rather boring for a special themed event. The dim sum looks ordinary. Mini burger can be had anywhere. And the prawns with crushed chips seems like they ran out of time and put no thought to it at all.

    Hmm... I'm still divided. But the important thing is you enjoyed it! :D

  • At 3/21/2012 9:33 am, Blogger Unknown said…

    What a great idea = I am totally loving the idea of a recreated golden gaytime - always one of my favourite desserts.

  • At 3/22/2012 9:38 am, Blogger Peter G | Souvlaki For The Soul said…

    Talk about bringing back memories! I'm torn about what I like here…everything seems to be reconstructed in such an appealing manner. Oh! and that Gaytime!

  • At 3/22/2012 9:39 am, Blogger Milktea Eats said…

    yum! Ms G's never fails to surprise! i never liked the chiko roll either!

  • At 3/28/2012 6:27 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I get that you enjoyed Milk Bar Memories so my comments aren't directed at your taste, but the whole idea of Ms G's is a bit piss elegant. That Dan Hong is a purveyor of banality is without question, but his insincere attempts at passionately shaping the social fabric of our eating to his own will by serving food that is dumpy and pretentious is nothing more than a crime of passion.


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