Al Brown is the man. Award-winning restaurants in Wellington & Auckland, TV shows, cookbooks.... everything this man touches turn to gold. So foodies have been flocking to check out his new venture in the transformed City Works Depot precinct - a bagel shop.
But not just any bagels. These beauties are hand-rolled, wood-fired Montreal classics apparently. They're slightly different from their world-famous NYC cousins. The Best Ugly website states that they're "crispier on the outside, yet chewy on the inner. These bagels have an airy texture and are not dense like their southern relations. Montreal bagels also exhibit a slightly sweet edge, and unlike the New York variety, they contain no salt!" You can definitely taste the sweet edge to them, even loaded up with tasty fillings.
And the fillings are what makes this place. The KING stacks lox salmon, capers, red onion, dill & cream cheese on your perfectly-toasted bagel. Or you can opt for the TAB, as simple as it's acronym: tomato, avocado & basil with a delicious drizzle of tangy olive oil. The best part about the accompaniments its that they are stocked from NZ artisan producers. The cream cheese from Whitestone was unlike any I've ever had before - unbelievably creamy. Divine NZ salmon cured with an in-house recipe, and kids will definitely enjoy the Pics Peanut Butter & homemade Hazelnut Spread. Al sure has done his homework on sourcing these little gems.
You can watch the team at work - rolling, folding & baking the bagels right in front of you as you order. They're a friendly bunch; clearly happy in their work & they'll have a korero with you while you're waiting for your Havana Coffee Works coffee. They trained in Montreal to make these babies, so they know what they're doing. Bagels are available to take away, or you can rest up on one of the industrial-style concrete leaners or seats outside & soak up the stylishness of Auckland's hippest new place to be seen.
At the end of the day, the hipsters will move on to Auckland's Next Top Spot. But people will be returning here regularly and often for one reason: the bagels are bloody good. Chur Al.