Bowery to Williamsburg was an obvious choice for a hearty breakfast to end a weekend of feasting in Melbourne. The New York inspired café/deli is owned by Di and Will Keser. The husband and wife team have a track record of delighting hungry Melbournians at The Hardware Société.
After a superb lunch at The Hardware Société, one of the CBD’s worst kept secrets (check it out here) I had to track down this their newest venture.
Bowery to Williamsburg is tucked away down one of Melbourne’s CBD laneways, Oliver Lane (just off Flinders Street). If you haven’t already sussed this, it’s named after a Brooklyn subway station of the same name. It’s got the feel of a NYC deli but with a serious dose of Melbourne thrown in.
If it’s busy you’ll likely take whatever seating is available – indoors or outdoors. Luckily for me it was quiet early on a Sunday morning. So, as a Sydneysider who hates the cold I choose to share the long communal table inside. I’d rather bear a little elbow budging from fellow diners than temperatures of below 10C.
Sitting inside gave me a prime view of the large menu on the wall. But that view isn’t essential as you’re also given a copy of the menu – in the form of a cute postcard that, unlike the wall menu, neatly categorises dishes into brunch and sandwiches.
Even if you’re not an indecisive type when it comes to feasting I’d say the menu at Bowery to Williamsburg will test you. It’s smorgasbord that makes for a very difficult decision on what to choose. And no matter how much you deliberate, food envy may take hold when you get a glimpse of other dishes across the communal table.
Brunch dishes range from $12 to $17. And all but one of the sandwiches will set you back $12.50. Unless of course you’re easily tempted by extras – in which case you’ll probably consider the $4 extra to add a side plus pretzels and a pickle to be the best $4 you’ll spend all day.
Shakshouka eggs are offered three ways with pastrami, hot smoked salmon or sweet potato. It was a big decision for me to order these – as I’d had the shakshouka eggs at Cumulus Inc the day before and there was a risk I’d be disappointed.
How did they compare to the version Cumulus Inc? For me personally the addition of fetta and kale made for a more interesting dish with more flavours. Dare I say I think I preferred this version.
My husband toyed between the ‘Meatballs’ and ‘The Reuben’. The Reuben is corned beef brisket with Swiss cheese, pickled cabbage coleslaw and Russian dressing. He landed on the meatballs and exercised self-restraint with his choice of side. I knew he really wanted the indulgent ‘mac & cheese’ but he went for the salad.
His verdict? He described this dish to me as ‘a real homemade meatballs sub bursting with flavour and topped with a simple but perfect tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese….and it was bigger than I had anticipated’. Yes he was pleased with his choice.
In reflecting on Bowery to Williamsburg what’s funny is that confronted with a similar menu in New York the health freak side of me would most likely rather starve than choose something. But here in Melbourne what’s on offer is good quality produce wrapped up to sound and look like it contains more naughtiness than it really does. The menu calls out free range eggs and gluten free bread, dishes feature seasonal fruit, kale and chia. And let’s not forget the coffee and bagels:
- The bagels are no ordinary bagels but are hand crafted locally in Victoria by 5 & Dime Bagel Company using the freshest of ingredients.
- The coffee Padre Coffee is a boutique specialty coffee roaster based in Brunswick Melbourne.
Remember it’s totally geared for take-away types. But be warned – come in for a take-away coffee or a light snack and I bet you’ll have made a commitment to head back for a full feast before you’ve ventured from the cobblestones of Oliver Lane.
By Feast Wisely
- 16 Oliver Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
- 03 9077 0162
- Open Monday to Friday 7.30am to 3pm and weekends too
- Twitter – @bowerytowilliam
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