Milkshakes in Australia are over-the-top.
It all started in Canberra, the capital territory, in mid-2015 with Patissez, a small bakery that first made insane milkshakes and dubbed them “FreakShakes,” a name which they are currently trying to trademark. Due to the social media culture, customers (obviously!) posted a picture of the gorgeous milkshake they were going to devour. Eye-catching, the pictures got tons of likes, which spurred other companies to follow the trend.
Now, a lot of tiny, mom-and-pop cafes all over the country have these crazy milkshakes as their main draw.
Melbourne especially, took on the milkshake trend, as it is the “culture capital” of the country.
I did some research and made a list of the most jaw-dropping milkshakes I knew I had to try. Over the course of a month, I tried 9 milkshakes and became a bit of a connoisseur.
Today, I will be describing the milkshakes I’ve had based on 3 criteria: taste, design, and obscenity. Every single time my milkshake order came out, my dad would say “That’s obscene.” So, in honor of his comments, that is one of my categories. It is equivalent to “over-the-top”-ness.
I wanted a base milkshake so there would be some point of comparison. This was a basic burger joint shake. It was very frothy, creamy, and super flavorful (even if it did taste more like butterscotch). There were no frills, which I wanted here. After judging some others, this one was definitely thicker.
Brownie and Double Chocolate-chocolate walnut brownie, Nutella, candied pop corn, pretzels and cream
At this modern cafe/coffee shop with an Asian flare, their milkshakes are one of the main draws. This was my first one and I had no idea what to expect, so I was shocked when it came out. There was a huge tower of caramel popcorn, whipped cream, and chocolate sauce, which made it a little bit hard to break into and eat. A brownie with walnuts is hidden under the popcorn resting on the top of the glass. Pretzels were welded on the side with melted chocolate. The milkshake itself was thin but still rich, which was a nice difference in texture from all the crunchy toppings. There was Nutella in the shake so it was slightly hazelnut flavored.
Matcha Matcha-matcha cake, jelly beans, KitKat, honey comb, pistachio and cream
Topping this milkshake was an edible violet, bits of honeycomb, powdered sugar, and jellybeans interspersed on a bed of whipped cream through which ran a criss-crossed KitKat. I was not able to find any pistachio, which was promised on the menu. Rimming the glass was a matcha cream which wasn’t sweet. The matcha cake resting on top of the glass had only a light sweetness, but the strongest matcha flavor; it was kind of dense, slightly too much with the shake. This milkshake was the thinnest and least milky out of those that I tried. However, it was the sweetest one. It only had light matcha flavor and was the least overwhelming and filling. Overall this milkshake was the least insane of the Freakshakes I tried.
Berry Pavlova Forest-raspberry curd, mini donut, mixed berries, marshmallow and cream
The first thing you see are the berry-flavored homemade marshmallows, perfectly dusted with powdered sugar, that were skewered on a wooden stick (which was then inserted into the straw to make it stand up like it does). Whipped cream with fresh strawberries and a fresh flower topped the milkshake. There was raspberry cream/curd dripping down the sides and toasted marshmallow rimming the glass. On top of the glass rested a jelly-filled donut; the donut was light and the jelly was super fresh and a nice gel-like texture. Inside, the milkshake was very good. Even though it had lots of fresh fruit in it, it was still creamy like a milkshake (and not like a smoothie).
Pavlova-coconut and almond milk, passionfruit, kiwi, berries, mango with meringue and fairy floss
This glass was rimmed with passionfruit cream with which dried raspberries pieces were attached. A ring of meringue was resting on the rim of the glass and piled on top of that were fresh strawberries, blueberries, and whipped cream. Topping off the whole thing was strawberry-flavored cotton candy, which was homespun and really delicious. The milkshake was a bit disappointing as it was more like a fruit smoothie. There were small pieces of dried fruit and meringue mixed into the milkshake. Overall this one was not as sweet because of the toppings, which were more fresh. The Cafe Lafayette take on pavlova in a milkshake was marginally more successful.
Salted Caramel-Nutella, sticky date & rice pudding, peanut brittle and butterscotch cream topped with fairy floss
Obscenity: 3.5 /5
Topping off this milkshake was whipped cream, sticky date/toffee pudding, and a butterscotch cream. This time the cotton candy on top was caramel-flavored. The rim had walnuts and peanut brittle stuck on with Nutella. Caramel was dripped down the inside of the glass. At the bottom was some sticky date/toffee pudding, which was a little strange as it kind of floated around. The mostly vanilla milkshake with a hint of cinnamon had a thin texture, which was nice to balance out the heavy and rich toppings. The milkshake itself was definitely the best part/flavor in this dish. For the name, salted caramel did not seem to play a huge role in this milkshake. It was more focused on the pudding.
*ROCK, PAPER, SCISSORS*
4C-chocolate/coffee, cookies and cream
A full-sized Magnum bar outrageously topped this shake along with whipped cream and mini Oreos. The rim was simple with chocolate sauce coated in cocoa. The thin and milky milkshake was coffee-flavored. It wasn’t too sweet and was a good balance to the rich and sweet toppings. This one seems more simple, but the flavors were awesome and the milkshake itself was my favorite one of the lot.
The milkshake itself was a very thin chocolate shake, which was super flavorful (one of the best actual milkshakes). The topping was simple, but still extravagant–a huge Nutella-filled donut with powdered sugar. With the generously sized shake, the large donut was almost too much. The smaller (advertised as mini) donut at Cafe Lafayette was a much better balance. The glass was rimmed with chocolate syrup and cocoa powder and chocolate syrup coated the inside of mug.
*LITTLE ROSE CAFE*
Gourmet Chocolate Peanut Butter
This milkshake was very thick and creamy with pieces of dark chocolate within; they did kind of all sink to the bottom and have to be eaten with a spoon at the end (such a travesty). There was a very good balance of the peanut and chocolate flavors. The pirouette slid over the straw was a nice, slight decorative touch as well as the cocoa powder sprinkled on top. Overall this is a good, classic milkshake, the type I would have expected before coming here to Melbourne.
To recap, here are my definitive rankings of milkshakes in Melbourne (from bottom to top, left to right).