Milkys Diner is a slice of Americana in the heart of Canberra, offering a new breakfast experience for Australian diners.

Occupying a cool corner in the courtyard off Moore Street in Civic, the first thing that hits you is the music.  A real jukebox playing CDs (remember those?) pumps out the best retro hits and sets the scene for a truly vintage experience.  Then the flashing neon catches your eye, bordering a white and teal colour palette the designer had yet to see in Canberra, and you’re drawn to the huge murals of Betty Boop and a cross between Elvis and Fonzie which frame an eclectic collection of pop culture nostalgia on the walls.

Milkys is a diner in name and feel.  The traditional features are there – the stools, the bar, the old style milkshake glasses – but the place has been revamped for the crowd of today, with up-market styling and finishes.  You’ll feel like pulling up a stool at the bar and ordering a cup of Joe.  Yet probably the most American part of Milkys Diner is the prices – you’ll be surprised what you can get and for how much.

The menu is a handpicked collection of the favourite dishes of the US of A.  The first dish we were served was Milkys’ breakfast special, the Heart Starter, featuring a succulent spiced meat patty, heavenly liquid cheddar and the gorgeous gooeyness of runny egg yoke.  Your fingers will get messy, that’s true – but you won’t mind, it’s finger-licking goodness.

The Short Stack Pancakes with hot maple syrup, whipped butter and cream is also a popular choice, and if a quick breakfast is what you desire, Milkys do Eggs on Toast served your favourite way.  You can grab an awesome three egg Omelette served with triple smoked ham, American cheddar and sour cream and chives, or try the Bubble and Squeak, made with corned beef hash, mushy peas and a poached egg. The breakfast menu is available all day and starts from 7.30am – if you’re after a quick and affordable start to your day, Milkys will put a smile on your dial.

We headed to lunch land next by sampling the Chicago Dog, a dish so popular that a particular Milkys’ customer orders one every single day for lunch.  One bite and we’re not surprised, thanks to the beef frank crisscrossed with sweet mustard and ketchup, and stacks of American cheddar and pickles.  It’s a filling meal but feel free to compliment the Chicago with a side order of fries with cheese sauce and gravy – you’ll be one happy diner.

The Chicken Philly hit the table next, a dish that a group of visiting American diners remarked: “Tastes just like they do in Philadelphia”.  The pulled chicken, green peppers and jalapenos are topped with a generous serve of that awesome cheese sauce again, which is imported from the States and really is to die for.

Next up came our favourite – the Cajun Fried Shrimp Po-boy.  For those who don’t know, a po-boy is a traditional American dish, and if this is how the Yanks eat their prawns, we might just have to defect!  A bite hits your senses – the crunch of the shrimp, the heat of the hot-sauce mayo, and the freshness of the shredded salad is, in one word, an experience.  This is cool food, different food, and Milkys nails it in every way.

And it doesn’t stop there!  Wash down your hotdog or po-boy with one of Milkys’ signature Shakes.  We were drawn to the Reeses Peanut Butter and Banana Shake – a must for anyone who loves the delicious decadence of high-quality peanut butter (you know who you are!) – while the Strawberry and Chocolate Shakes, featuring whipped cream and wafer sticks, are simply divine.  In fact, the shakes are so good, we have to go back to Milkys for a Tollhouse Cookies and Cream and Espresso Shake – we didn’t have any room left to try it this time!

If shakes aren’t your thing, don’t fret – try a Soda Float.  Milkys does the classic ice cream spider with an adult twist, using lemon, lime and bitters as the base for a surprising and refreshing beverage.  Parents will want to wrestle this one out of their kids’ hands!  But if the little ones put up a fight, try a cup of Black Coffee, modelled on the traditional American cup of Joe but filtered for a richer taste.  Milkys, like any good diner, also offers free refills of your coffee when you dine in.

Milkys Diner is an awesome assault on the senses.  The music, the food, the atmosphere, the décor and the drinks combine for a breakfast and lunch experience like no other.  You’ll come back for the shakes, you’ll rave about the hot dogs, you’ll post a pic of your bagel, and you’ll enjoy every single bite.  Hail to the chief of American cuisine!