I challenge you to not immediately get a sense of amazement and joy when you walk though the beautifully crafted space at Milse. The ‘parametric dessert den’ as dubbed by their architects (Cheshire Architects) is encased in spectacular inter-connecting laser-cut filigree panels.
Milse is tucked away in an alley off Tyler St, and is open 7 days from 10am until late (last seating is at midnight) serving all manner of gelato, gateaux, tarts and macarons. The changing menu of a la carte plated desserts is only served from 6pm onwards. There is only seating for 15 people, so if you want to sample the menu, here are some tips on how to get a table.
The trick to getting a table (ask to sit at the bar which can seat up to 4) is to put your name down while you are having dinner nearby (my pick is its sister restaurant, Ortolana). At popular times, the waiting time is around 2 hours, so plan your evening. They only take bookings in person, so don’t think you can phone ahead. Else come early, and have dessert before your meal.
The main reason to sit at the bar is that Milse is actually patisserie theatre. You can watch the chefs in action plating up your desserts (which are made up of a dozen different elements) and interact with the chefs. They are happy to answer questions and divulge information about how the kitchen works.
The a la carte menu changes every 2-3 months. On my last visit, I sample the Valrhona Manjari Chocolate ($21), which had elements of beetroot (sorbet, meringue, cracker and powder), raspberry (coulis, freeze-dried raspberry and raspberry-filled chocolate) and Hysopp (a herb with a slight aniseed taste). The chocolate featured in the mousse quenelle and cookie crumble. The beetroot flavour was definitely there, but to my surprise, it did not overpower the other flavours.
Sarah had the Vanilla ($17) which was made up of a vanilla crème brulee, with vanilla shortbread and crumbs, lemon balm sorbet, accents of rhubarb sorbet and candied pieces of rhubarb.
We also watched the chef plate up the Mandarin ($19) and Strawberry ($19). Stunning to watch professionals in their element.
Milse is also a great place to pick up presents, as the treats are packaged up beautifully. Anyone would adore a present from here. This is the destination I bring any friend visiting Auckland; it’s truly magical.
The Pavillions, Britomart
27 Tyler Street, CBD, Auckland
Open 7 days: 10am – 1am (last seating at 12 midnight)