Bowery to Williamsburg

Restaurants Melbourne
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Photograph: Graham Denholm
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Photograph: Amanda Summons
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Photograph: Graham Denholm
Photograph: Graham Denholm

You can't beat a good bagel, and that's what the kids behind this new CBD café are throwing out there hard and fast

We’ve had burgers. We’ve done dawgs. We’ve crammed in more ribs than we want to think about, and now here’s Bowery to Williamsburg: the new, New York-inspired eatery that’s rounding out the US food craze with fat lox bagels.

Named for and marked by a Brooklyn subway station sign (replicated, not nicked), you’ll find this joint down cobbled Oliver Lane off of Flinders Street. Things go from gritty subway to horn of plenty pretty quick. Fixin’s are laid out behind a glass case, from glistening hunks of hot smoked salmon to glass jars of cream cheese impaled by tiny wooden paddles.

The team behind BTW includes Will and Di Keser and Boston Parker of Hardware Société, and chef and mate Shaun Williams.

Parker takes Padre’s Daddy’s Girl espresso blend for a spin on the Slayer machine with awesome results, but if you’ve got a wooly head, we recommend mainlining the espresso coffee soda – fizzy cola, made in Williamsburg, with pounding coffee base notes. Giddyup.

Head in early for 5 & Dime’s chewy, boiled and baked bagels slathered with all the cream cheese flavours from coffee to caviar. A lunchtime bagel sees lox (brined and smoked salmon) layered with dill cream cheese and finely grated, cooked beetroot spiked with a little horseradish. It’s got just the right amount of chew and is creamy and fresh all at once. Or how about a sandwich? Our pick is the juicy pork and almond meatballs on a brioche bun, or a fat stack of pastrami with mustard and pickled zucchini on rye.

A sandwich by itself is $12.50 (pretty standard these days, and in this case worth it) but throw down an extra four bucks to get a handful of pretzel rings, a pickle spear and a side. There’s a good-girl pomegranate tabouli with burghul, parsley, tomato and pomegranate gems, or an Italian slaw with cabbage and white balsamic. We say stick it to your heart one more time and take the mini jar of creamy mac‘n’cheese.

Seating is tight. You might find yourself on a street side bench or banging elbows at the communal table with a mix of suits and those who look like they just cruised in from the Brooklyn Flea. But that’s something we’re OK with when they’re rocking Earth, Wind and Fire and old-school Michael Jackson and serving a s’mores bar – a gingery graham cracker base laden with melted chocolate, nuts and marshmallows. It’s like Rocky Road, America-style. We’ll be back.

Venue name: Bowery to Williamsburg
Address: 16 Oliver Ln
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 7.30am-3.30pm; Sat, Sun 8.30am-3pm.
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