28 The Link Mill Park
Hubbie had stopped by the Mill Park restaurant while cruising cars with his work mate one Sunday, and had loved the latte he had there. He’d also loved the atmosphere, and the look of the place, so when we found reason to celebrate days later, we decided on this kind-of local to see if their dinner was up to scratch too.
He had talked up design, and I didn’t really know if it would be up to standards when I saw it, even with his super-finicky taste. So when we walked in on a Wednesday night during the school holidays, the place pumping with people and atmos, I was impressed. It felt like a restaurant that belonged in more inner-city surrounds than in the Northern Suburbs. It looked funky and modern, while its high ceilings gave it an airy, yet still cosy space. Again there were lightbulbs suspended down onto the individual tables below, an industrial touch that complemented the roominess. I immediately liked it.
We ordered fairly quickly, being very hungry, and though our drinks took a while to come out, my Treasures Merlot was amazing. I might just convert over from Cab Savs after that one.
I also noticed that the square table we were on was a decent large size, compared to the all-too familiar smallish tables we often get seated at which makes it so hard with baby girl. Imagine all our food and drink on a table, plus baby girl’s ‘things’ (colouring book for entertainment, random accessories, her water bottle, wipes) and then put a toddler in between the two of us yet at a reasonable distance so to prevent her from reaching out for any accessories to spoil/break/throw. This was a great sized table in that all our/her stuff could go on one end while we sat at the other, and there was still room for the food and drinks.
They were busy, so we had to wait for our food… but it wasn’t an awful wait. Like I said, it was busy, so it was an acceptable wait. Everything else was making us happy, and the discovery of a loud restaurant that seemed to be up to our standards had us giddy in excited anticipation, so the wait was made all the more ok.
I got the spicy penne pasta with additional buffalo mozzarella
Hubbie got the porterhouse steak, atop mashed potato, asparagus and grilled tomatoes
And baby girl got the kids penne napolitana
I loved my penne. I had decided to add the extra buffalo for $4, because 1) I love cheese, 2) I might as well get the meal the way it’s obviously intended, and 3) I love cheese. It was creamy with this hint of smokiness if I remember correctly, and combined with the pancetta and the hint of chilli that lingered in the back of my throat after I had finished my bite, it was truly delicious.
Hubbie requested his steak be medium to well, and it was cooked correctly, though he doesn’t believe it was actually flame-grilled as the menu had read. Didn’t matter, as he still enjoyed it, and even I had a bite and agreed it was very tasty. His accompanying vegetables were yummy too.
Baby girl absolutely loved her pasta. She was starving by the time the food came, as we all were, and I was glad they had been able to accommodate us by replacing the linguini in the kids meal to penne, as I just felt it easier to feed her that style of pasta. The very little she left behind, we ate 🙂 I do realise that being so hungry does make you appreciate EVERYTHING, however not to diminish or downplay 4 Doors’ food, I still give them credit and concur that it was all very good.
Since I’m still in the midst of a doughnut-obsession, I discovered there were doughnuts on display up at the front counter and decided we must at least take-away. I chose three doughnuts: jam, Nutella and white chocolate, and we happily devoured them later at home. But alas, these are no Mick’s. They were alright, but I found the dough too dense, and also a tad oilier, so sorry 4 Doors, Mick’s wins in that department.
Food: 7.5/10. A great range of food on offer, simple enough for the locals yet with some great additions enough to make it exciting and fresh.
Coffee: I can’t score this having not had one, but Hubbie loved his flat white…
Ambience: Perfect for us. It was loud enough to crowd out any of baby girl’s squeals, yet not in a rambunctious fast-food restaurant kind of way. The décor made me feel as if we weren’t local, instead someplace closer to the city, and this feeling of transportation is one which I think makes the people keep coming back.
Staff: Really good. Our waitress was very friendly, yet so real, and was very good with baby girl, happily laughing when she patted her arm. Points. Also, the staff up the front who took our bill, and the guy who gave our doughnuts, were equally awesome. It’s amazing how much you can read from a brief experience, yet I can tell the doughnut guy was really eager to please, almost nervous, and I just went ‘wow.’ A young person in a restaurant role that doesn’t think he’s too cool for school? Someone who actually wants to make the customer feel welcome? Crap, this is unheard of in these parts. Well done.
People: I know it was the school holidays, but still, it was July, Winter, a COLD night, and there weren’t many kids when we arrived, yet still the place was fairly full. Only once we were there for a while did some kids follow their parents in. It was a wide mix, of families, couples, and friends, all sorts really. Including the pair next to us, the girl who kept bombarding her male friend with stories of blind dates gone wrong. Like I said, all sorts.
Price: It was over $100, and at first I went “geez,” until I counted up 3 meals, 2 alcoholic drinks, and 3 doughnuts. It was perhaps, price wise, just a tad up considering the area it’s in, but having said that, the food was definitely up to scratch and worth it, as was the restaurant and the staff, so the price matches the quality.
Advice: We ended up sitting in the outside area which was covered that night, however being up against the sides of the ‘tent’ we could still feel wafts of very cool air at times, despite the heaters that were out there. It didn’t ruin our night, but next time, we’re booking. If you’re going on the weekend/at peak times, probably best to book, because like I mentioned, this place was rocking on a Wednesday night.
In a nutshell: We’ve already said we’re going back for brekkie… I love the menu variety, the atmos, the proximity to home, and even though I wasn’t too keen on their doughnuts, it won’t stop me from trying their other pastries 😉 And most importantly, I need to have a cappuccino there. Priorities people.