Oreo Milkshake @ Reuben Hills, Surry Hills

$8.50 – 18 March 2018

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This milkshake was striking and different, mostly in the wrong way. The first thing that struck me was the lack of straw served with the milkshake. Stainless steel straws are the way to go for a sit down milkshake. Paper straws are generally bad given most of them are soggy by the end of a milkshake. Plastic straws are not the solution. No straws? The worst option of all.

This milkshake was certainly tasty to begin with. The Oreo flavour was very apparent. It was nice and cold due to a decent amount of ice cream used.

But there were many things wrong with this milkshake. It seems a big cause was how it was made. It appeared to have been blended, judging by the complete lack of bubble distribution at the bottom half of the milkshake. This is despite 3 Roband machines on display. The bottom half tasted like milk at the bottom of a cereal bowl. Overly sugary, not a lot of Oreo flavour, no froth, just terrible. At the very bottom of the milkshake were small, sugary, chocolate nibs. These should have either been fully blended or just not added in the first place.

 

4.5/10

 

Nutella Banana Milkshake @ Devon, Surry Hills

$7.50 – 27 January 2018

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A common mistake amongst inner city cafes is not offering a basis milkshake but overreaching by offering ‘fancy’ milkshake varieties. Sadly Devon falls squarely in this category, by offering a Banana Nutella Milkshake and a White Chocolate Macha Milkshake, but no other options. No chocolate, no vanilla, no strawberry.

The service speed at Devon was good, but there is really no correlation between speed of service and quality of milkshake. The milkshake was served in a very small glass sauce bottle (washed prior to filling fortunately/obviously). This was far too small and completely missed the mark on novelty value.

The milkshake itself was far too heavily flavoured by banana, with the nutella being hardly noticeable. In fact, it was hard to tell if it was a nutella flavour or just a plain chocolate flavour that had been added. The mouth feel was completely ruined by little chunks of banana that remained in the milkshake. Otherwise, the mouth feel was actually pretty good.

But there is no escaping the obvious conclusion for Devon. All frappistas need to learn how to master a standard chocolate milkshake before trying more ambitious options. All venues need to offer these standard options, just as they do with coffee. Devon failed on both these accounts.

3.5/10

 

Chocolate Milkshake @ Brooklyn Hide – Surry Hills

$7.50 – 28 October 2017

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One thing Brooklyn Hide gets right, which so many cafes, milk bars and other establishments get wrong, is the straw. Paper straws? They are terrible, as they often get soggy before the milkshake is finished. Plastic straws? Terrible too. Brooklyn Hide serves their milkshakes with stainless steel straws, and this is hands down the best option – reusable, no impact on flavour, no degradation mid-milkshake.

In fact, Brooklyn Hide got a couple of other things right too – they use a real milkshake machine, the service speed is fast. It is just a pity there were some obvious flaws with the milkshake itself.

The volume was only moderate, which is often the outcome when milkshakes are served in glass jars (at least it had a handle). The flavour was powdered (think Nesquik). The milkshake wasn’t very thick and had a thin mouth feel.

But it didn’t taste bad, it was in fact quite tasty. The bubble distribution was poor as a lot of the milk just sat at the bottom of the jar.

6.5/10

Aero Bar Milkshake @ Reuben Hills – Surry Hills

$8.50 – 14 October 2017

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Yet another trendy inner city cafe that fails the basics of offering milkshakes – always offer your customers the base options – chocolate, strawberry, vanilla. If you are offering a chocolate mint milkshake, you already have the ingredients for a chocolate milkshake. Easy.

However, Reuben Hills does do a very fine chocolate mint Aero Bar Milkshake. The service was fast but the serving size was a little too small given the price. The milkshake was well blended and this resulted in a great body and good thickness – something only possible with a proper milkshake machine (not possible with a blender).

There were chocolate mint Aero chips sprinkled on top – an indulgence that is acceptable only if you get the milkshake right in the first place.

8/10

Golden Gaytime Shake @ PCP – Surry Hills

$8.50 – 2 September 2017

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The service at PCP was pretty fast. The waiter was very friendly and convinced me to have a Golden Gaytime Shake instead of the Tim Tam Shake (which was 50c more expensive).

The shake itself had good thickness. The glass cup was fairly small which is a drawback (especially given the price). The presentation was good but let us not forget we are here for the milkshake, not the presentation. The spoon came as standard but you never really needed it (except maybe for one or two scoops of the unnecessary crumble on the top).

The taste was very close to a Golden Gaytime – toffee, honeycomb, biscuits, chocolate. It was very nice, but not too sweet. If you put a few Golden Gaytimes and some milk in a blender, this is what you’d get.

The main sin here was the menu. No basic chocolate milkshake option. No self respecting cafe will offer a coffee menu without a flat white, long black, cappuccino or espresso. So why the continued discrimination against milkshakes? A chocolate milkshake on the menu in a must – how can I trust the Golden Gaytime Shake is going to be any good if I can’t first try your base, go-to option? You can’t, you have to risk it. PCP was lucky they pulled it off on this occasion.

7/10

Chocolate Fudge Shake @ Bills – Surry Hills

$9.50 – 30 July 2017

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Despite being one of the busier breakfast spots in Surry Hills, the service was fast. The shake came in the classic milkshake stainless steel cup – a good thing since this generally means a big serving size. And Bills did not disappoint there either.

The shake was creamy smooth and not too sweet, it had great bubble distribution and was free from chunks or nasty ice. The chocolate sauce was high quality but it wasn’t Cottee’s.

It came ice cold and had great thickness. This is what you get when you use the king of milkshake machines, the Roband.

The one let down here was the paper straw. It held together, but it detracted from the experience. A steel straw would have taken this experience close to perfect.

9/10