Milk (M1lk)

  • Restaurants
29 Love It

Never one to rest on its laurels, this hip café is still the place to be seen for breakfast or brunch in Balham.

In July 2015, M1lk – long the most achingly fashionable of Balham’s breakfast and brunch spots – underwent a transformation, doubling in size and unveiling a brighter, breezier look. This may have been partly prompted by the arrival of Brickwood just a few doors away on cobbled and traffic-free Hildreth Street, which for a while outshone its more established competition: the Aussie-style pretender brought friendlier service, fairer pricing, and shorter waits.

But M1lk v2 (which, disappointingly, has dropped the numeral altogether rather than calling itself M2lk) has really upped its game in response. Staff now smile and know how to take a food order, while the kitchen has taken a few leaves from the recipe book of sister establishment Fields in Clapham Common. There are tongue-in-cheek dishes such as the fillet o fish sandwich, made using panko-crusted red snapper slapped between industrial white bread with the crusts cut off; well-made, and vastly superior to the McDonald’s classic that inspired it – as it should be at £8.50. Prices still tend to be on the high side, but then it’s not everywhere you can get a glass of horchata (a nut milk drink) to go with your baked eggs, kaeserkrainer (cheese-filled Austrian sausage), labneh, spinach and dill oil (£8.80).

Many ingredients are top quality – from the organic meats to the free-range eggs – and staff take pride in their coffee (nice roasts from Koppi in Sweden).  The new drinks licence means you can now sip on a glass of orange natural wine or bottle of Kernel table beer while sitting at an alfresco table, or inside where the music playlist is always as carefully chosen as the foraged herbs (picked from the banks of the River Wandle, we’re told).

Venue name: Milk (M1lk)
Address: 18-20 Bedford Hill
SW12 9RG
Opening hours: Open 8am-5pm Mon-Sat; 9am-5pm Sun.
Transport: Balham
Price: Breakfast for two: around £15

Average User Rating

3.2 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:7
  • 4 star:4
  • 3 star:2
  • 2 star:0
  • 1 star:7
1 person listening
gabrielle G
1 of 1 found helpful

Bring back the old Milk where the staff actually gave a s@*t! Expansion has not bought bright attentive service, I have experienced the exact opposite on my last couple of visits. Such a shame, I used to love this place.

Joy M
1 of 1 found helpful

This bar is overrated - so loud you can't hear the waitress telling you their specialty, literally no space, average coffee, portions are ridiculous for the price and items that should be free are costly (2 pieces of toast GBP 2.50), they don't take orders at the table and you can't even pay with credit card... Definitely disappointed today.

Ian Freeman
1 of 1 found helpful

Sit at your table for ages to be roundly ignored by the snippy staff at this ridiculously over-rated, noisy and phenomenally expensive, tatty caff with pretensions far above its station. Offhand service adds to the general aura of 'you're lucky we allow you in'. Dreadful...just dreadful.

1 of 1 found helpful

My sister and I went in for a drink Sunday afternoon. First my hot chocolate arrived lukewarm, so I mentioned this to the waitress and asked for a hot version. I was told that I would have to wait until they had served up all the coffees that were now on order. Then my sister’s cappuccino arrived, again this was lukewarm at best and more like a very bland milky latte than a cappuccino. Again we mentioned this to the waitress and asked for a replacement. The person making the coffees then openly and rudely suggested to the waitress that we were complaining for no reason and seemed really annoyed. The waitress came over to inform us that they do not heat up the milk very hot as this has a negative effect on the coffee. She didn’t say but I assume this also is bad for the hot chocolate?! The whole experience left me far from impressed, firstly the unprofessional way this was handled by the server, secondly that we were made to wait until all other orders were complete before receiving a replacement and finally that they think serving lukewarm drinks is acceptable. Perhaps they should put a sign outside saying only lukewarm drinks served here? I will not be returning to Milk anytime soon.

Kemar Ramesh
1 of 1 found helpful

Very little place, rude staff over priced shop and disgusting food. Never will recommend anyone.

1 of 1 found helpful

Shame - nice looking place but 5 staff 'serving' and just 2 chefs meaning breakfast took 40mins. Odd set up as you have to queue to order and pay in advance at a very cramped cashdesk where people are also queuing to get in. Couple next to us left after complaining and as they'd paid alreayd they werent even offered a refund so left disgruntled. Not sure why there needs to be 3 behind the counter (1 making irritating and deafening noise to brew the coffee) and 2 'floating' - all the the 2 do is show you a table, give you a menu and eventually your food. The issue is a very very small kitchen and just 2 chefs who , because you can watch them, were PAINFULLY slow. Won't be returning sadly.

Jonathan H

The brunch isn't bad if you're willing to queue ages and don't mind small portions. But it is too cramped and noisy. Having to queue at the till to order food is annoying.


Having lived in Balham for 2 years, I have often sighed and walked past the lengthly queue that is permanently fixed outside M1LK.  Until one day, when I discovered my inner patience, I decided to join the masses.  Thankfully my queue time wasn't too long (15minutes) and helped me work up an appetite.  

I had decided on the Maria pretty quickly, purely for my love of halloumi, and just a black coffee to help cure the mild hangover I was sporting.  I also cannot resist a mini milk bottle which is offered on the side. 

The food was delicious and just the right size of portion.  The only downside was the speed of service but this is expected when it was so busy.  

I would go back again but if you are planning to visit M1LK I would recommend getting up at the crack of dawn and being first in line.


I have wanted to visit M1LK for such a long time and figured that now's a better time than ever what with the recent expansion and shorter queuing times. I was actually so chuffed that I was selected from the back of the queue and directed over to the corner of a table OUTSIDE and on the sunniest day - the perks of only being two diners! 

I immediately eyed up the "MARIA" on someone's else's table, which were sweetcorn fritters with smashed avo, grilled halloumi, kasundi (an indian tomato sauce) and lime. This tasted pretty banging, although my sources tell me that the dish used to feature homemade beans rather than the kasundi which would have helped to make the dish feel more brunchy. It's worth adding some of the house sour dough on the side to mop up the guac and the tomato though. I also tried the LOIS, a smoothie with blackberries, lavender and pear - the lavender was non existent, but who cares when your drinking from an adorable milk bottle with a straw!

Livvi AT

Brunch is my ultimate favourite meal. Which other meal allows you to combine sweet and savoury in such a carefree manner and can be legitimately served at every hour of the day? Aussies do brunch best, hence why M1lk in Balham is the best brunch spot in London. 

With its recent expansion, you won't have to queue very long for a table, but even if you did, the delicious fresh smoothies and excellent menu are completely worth it. The Convict is the ideal hangover cure- like a McDonald's Egg McMuffin but galaxies ahead in taste. With parmesan hash browns, smoky bacon and a tangy sauce, it satisfies every salty/carby need. Try the sweetcorn fritters with grilled halloumi and avocado for a fresher yet just as tasty start to your day.

And if you want to venture to M1lk outside of your regular brunch slot, feel free, as their range of cakes is also very impressive. The pistachio polenta cake might sound like it would taste of cardboard but is so moist and moreish, you'll be back in Balham for seconds soon. 

Charlotte T

Great hangover venue - highly recommend the Convict with the hangover sauce, their smashed advocado is super tasty too and I love having a highly instagrammable smoothie to go with it. Only downside is the queue but word on the street is they just expanded it - hopefully that will mean less queue. 

timothy w

I love his place but only manage to get in on a week day. Not one for queuing with the masses so I gve this a swerve at the weekends when the queues are huge and totally justified.

Food is excellent and coffee on a par with most places that take pride in serving coffee. Staff have always been polite though as everyone else here states they aren't always the most cheery.

The limited space and queues make this not particularly child friendly which will be great news for many Balhamites trying to avoid the spill over from Nappy Valley.

Try the Convict. Delicious

Staff Writer

The coffee and food make this Balham local absolutely work the wait on weekends. Their Kurdish baked eggs are the best. For such a tiny kitchen they manage to pump out some amazing dishes. They don't take card so make sure you grab some cash from the cashpoint just down the road.


Been a couple of times and I love the quirkiness of the place.  Service is pretty average and I do find it annoying that you can't pay by credit card but overall we've enjoyed the food each time we've been.  I agree with it being somewhat overpriced.


I love M1lk, yes the service can be a bit slow but their food and coffee is just soo good! Expect to wait to get a table and then wait when you are in, but once you receive the food all will be forgotten!


Love this place. The food is fresh, different and delicious. It's almost impossible to get a table straight away on a weekend morning for breakfast/lunch which tells you how popular this place is. Service has always been incredibly polite, helpful and friendly in my opinion. Drinks are fantastic too. My only complaint is they play the music a touch too loud which makes it difficult for conversation with friends. But otherwise will keep going back!


Amazing little coffee shop, they actually know what they are doing when it comes to coffee! Amazing locally sourced organic food, not your typical boring meat and 2 veg or awful fry up. Bout time some places in London start serving up food that tastes good and IS good for you. Love M1LK!


Love love LOVE this place. I'd go there every weekend if I could afford to be so lavish. Great breakfasts - which such a small kitchen they keep it simple but what they do they do brilliantly - and superb coffee, cakes and smoothies to boot. My only issue is the queuing for a table, but I can see why people do queue up every weekend, and it still doesn't seem to stop me from joining the tail end...


Love the food here, even though it is a bit limited and the staff are lovely but also a wee bit slow. Biggest down point for me though is the lack of baby changing facility.. hello people we are in nappy valley! get with it! Although we did get free tea so that was a plus ;-)