Bowery To Williamsburg | Tom Thumb
Despite re-syncing our off days, work commitments and other events kept Fakegf and I apart for a number of weeks. But we finally got to brunch together again in mid-August.
The setting: at a tram stop just outside of Crown… us crossing beaks like a reunited pair of birds, and then heading off into the city.
Bowery To Williamsburg
While birds have their courtship rituals, humans have their own rituals, of which you’re witnessing the brunch edition here… *fluffs up feathers*. We’d marked this spot as a place to visit together weeks before, so the anticipation was pretty high when we finally landed at its doorstep.
The eatery is tucked down a short flight of stairs with a canteen-like interior… woody and casual with marble fittings and long share tables. I won’t fault you for trying to order at the counter, but in actual fact, they do table service here. The waitstaff were friendly and attentive.
Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate 5.00 | Calmer Sutra Chai 4.50 (add 50¢ for Bonsoy)
We chose to sit outside where it’s more peaceful and away from the bustle… with a nice sense of Melbourne’s laneways stretching right next to us. We discovered that the caffeine offerings involved beans from Padre Coffee, not a favourite roaster of ours, so we explored other drinks.
Fakegf cradled a peanut butter hot chocolate which, while good, could’ve been thicker. Meanwhile, I nursed a comforting soy chai latte that held nice rounded tones with good spice levels. We loved the crinkled cups that the drinks were served in.
BREADED EGGPLANT / haloumi cheese / roasted peppers / preserved lemon hummus 12.50
+ pomegranate tabouli, pretzels & a pickle 4
The menu is structured simply. All the sandwiches are priced at $12.50, add $4 and you’ll get a choice of side with crisp pretzels and a pickle.
I got myself a generous serve of eggplant in flatbread, with an uplifting pomegranate and couscous tabouli on the side. The (coarsely blended) lemon hummus made the breaded eggplant a touch soggy, and I’d have preferred if they used a more soft-stretchy flatbread instead of a crisp version. But it was still pretty good.
LOX BAGEL / beetroot horseradish / dill cream cheese schmear / limed onion / watercress – 12.50
Fakegf got this thinking it’d be a vegetarian sandwich, but we soon learnt that ‘Lox’ is an American-derived term for cured salmon. The sandwich was delicious… with wonderful flavour from the beetroot horseradish and great-tasting salmon covered by a chewy-dense wholemeal bagel with crisp outsides. Our only ‘complaint’ was how small the bagel was for its price… it looked rather lonesome by itself on that tray.
Key Lime Tart w/ Maple Cream 6.00 | Baked NY Cheesecake 7.00
We ended by sharing the key lime tart, which had good zesty curd marred by an oddly sticky, marshmallow-like meringue on top. I enjoyed the maple cream more than the tart. We also took away the cheesecake to share after dinner that same evening, it tasted sweet and rustic but not that great.
They’ve got a cool, stylish New-Yorkian subway concept going on here. While some of the offerings did not quite hit a high note with us, the bagels here are worth coming back for.
We had ample time in the city before heading off to our respective afternoon appointments (I had to visit the dentist… oh my!). So of course we got into more foodie mischief, masterfully suggested by my Fakegf… I can’t catch up with her speed in knowing what’s opened up and where.
Tom Thumb is a new brew bar in the CBD that’s a bit of a joint venture between the people from Clement Coffee and the Duchess of Spotswood. We perched at the entrance, only to find that Fakegf’s such a regular at Clement Coffee in South Melbourne Market that the barista recognised her by name and knew her order! And the other surprise was discovering the hidden upstairs seating section, where you can enjoy your coffees with a small menu of pressed toasties, sweets and snacks.
Skinny Magic $4 | Piccolo $4 (El Carmen Estate – El Salvador)
Both our coffees were well made and they held deep, confident profiles… hitting you strongly. However, I could not detect any notes of mandarin, melon or fresh apple as suggested by the tasting notes. So that was a slight let down for me (I like my coffees bright and fruity), but Fakegf enjoyed her drink thoroughly.
It’s nice that I got to explore more places around the CBD, a part of Melbourne that I’ve been neglecting. We chatted a little bit further at Tom Thumb’s cosy upstairs before we flew the coop towards our respective appointments. Another Wednesday together well spent!