Nine craft beers, small-batch Thursdays + a guide for beginners
The best-kept seaside secret, just off Hermanus
Unbeatable views, waffle shack, local wines and beers + sushi at Milk on the Beach
Last updated: Monday, 12 December 2022
En route to Hermanus on the R43, there’s a hidden town with a secret treasure. You could drive past it your whole life without knowing that beyond the unassuming houses is a hidden eatery guarding the lagoon and beach. It’s paddling kids, early evening surfers and friends connecting at the waffle shack. This quintessential never-ending beach day is the experience you’ll find at Milk on the Beach in Onrus River.
Milk on the Beach is located at the main beach in Onrus Rivier. Image: Milk on the Beach
DISCOVER THIS HIDDEN SPOT
In the “heart” of the town, where the giant milkwood trees form a canopy over the fishermen’s cottages, is where you’ll find this prime summertime spot. The space itself existed for many years as an eatery called Milkwood.
In the beginning of 2022, chef and restaurateur Petri Hendriksz, owner of Hermanus favourites Char’d Grill and Pear Tree, transformed it into a beacon for never-ending summer days, giving locals and visitors a colourful foodie experience that you wouldn’t expect to find at a small town eatery.
Milk on the Beach opened in January 2022. Image: Milk on the Beach
ENJOY THE NOSTALGIC ATMOSPHERE
Milk pays homage to its predecessor by letting the view speak for itself, looking over Onrus Beach and the kid-friendly lagoon. The restaurant is simple with white ceilings and blue walls, paired with pops of colour from the quirky furniture, feeling like the home you want to spend Christmas in.
Around every corner is a thoughtful trinket, from a gumball machine to a giant Frenchie portrait, tapping into the fact that all Petri’s restaurants are dog-friendly. For the cosy winter nights, there’s even a functioning fireplace with piled wood as decor.
There is also a statement “wine wall”, showcasing the best of local wines with a small bar in front of it. Image: Lara van Zyl
You’ll find all sorts of locals popping in and out, from elderly ladies drinking an afternoon tea out of colourful china to families coming fresh from the beach. Even the odd digital nomad spends their day working from there.
Pups love it, thanks to the bowl of dog treats left at the entrance of Milk and kids dash between the main restaurant where their parents are sitting to the waffle shack right downstairs.
There is an open-aired staircase linking Milk on the Beach to the Waffle Shack. Image: Milk on the Beach
ORDER SUSHI OR A WAFFLE CROISSANT
Unlike your ordinary seaside restaurant, Milk taps into a variety of unexpected dishes. For breakfast, patrons can dig into a waffle croissant or classic Eggs Benedict and for lunch and dinner, there’s a selection of small plates including loaded sweet potato fries, white bait and an entire menu devoted to sushi (a first for Onrus River), with tuna and salmon fresh off the boat. You will find the classic hake and chips, fresh mussels and spiced sesame calamari there.
Milk on the Beach is the first restaurant in Onrus to serve gourmet sushi. Image: Milk on the Beach
TRY A ONRUS BEER
There’s nothing better than cracking a cold one after a long day at the beach. Milk has two must-try local beers on tap – the Old Harbour Lager made by Hermanus Brewery and the Onrus Ale made by Honingklip Brewery (you’ve got to drink an Onrus in Onrus). There are also some cheeky cocktails and mocktails, including a Milk on the Beach (Malibu, Bacardi, pineapple juice and coconut cream).
The mocktails are made with kombucha. Image: Milk on the Beach
There’s a variety of wines available, all from the Hemel en Aarde Valley as well as a number of gins, tequilas, whiskeys and rum (for extra warmth try the Floating Dutchman Spiced Rum).
SPEND THE DAY AT THE WAFFLE SHACK
The Waffle Shack is directly beneath the main restaurant and is truly an adventure for kids and parents alike. It stretches all along the lagoon, with bright pink, blue and yellow bar stools. Colourful sketches of pitbulls and pugs fill the wall while a giant M&M man greets you at the front door.
Kids can build their own waffles or try the loaded gourmet hotdogs, while parents can relax with a popcorn gin and tonic. For the adventurous, there’s a Dog Bowl cocktail (like a fishbowl) that is served in an actual dog bowl. All this and more at the Waffle Shack.
Also read: Our team's top picks at The Waffle Shack.
The Waffle Shack is open daily. Image: Milk on the Beach
WHEN + WHERE TO GO
Milk on the Beach is open: Monday to Saturday, 8am - 9pm; Sundays, 8am to 8.30pm
Find it: 1 Atlantic Drive (by the main beach) | Onrus River | Hermanus
Contact on: 028 316 1516, Instagram: @milk_onthebeach
By Lara van Zyl
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