Good things take time, and there’s a certain joy in anticipation. Benjamin Vaughn and Michael Fee of Mile End Bagels are quite familiar with these two concepts. They've been getting ready to share their Montreal-style bagels with the Melbourne public for a year now, and just three weeks ago they finally flung open the large wooden door to their converted Johnston Street warehouse and started spreading the love.
Since then there's been a steady stream of happy customers enjoying the plain, sesame, poppy seed, cinnamon-raisin or the ‘I just want everything’ (sesame, poppy, black sesame, fennel, garlic and onion) bagels made fresh every day on the premises.
But what exactly is a Montreal-style bagel? Well, it’s slightly crunchier and sweeter than the New York style most often seen here. Mile End use malt flour to make their dough and then boil it in honey water before baking it in Australia’s only commercial wood-fired bagel oven. Such is their delight in their oven that, once the Canadian stonemasons had constructed it, Benjamin and Michael lovingly tiled the front of it with locally-sourced orange and green pastel tiles. And it’s a good thing they love their oven, given the fact they’re up at 4am five days a week (Wednesday to Sunday), stoking it ready for the day’s baking.
As for the bagel toppings, they're keeping it simple and fairly classic, sticking to the cream cheese schmears we all know and love, with some smoked salmon, smoked beef, honey ricotta or beetroot roasted in the oven and sliced over a cashew cream cheese with lettuce. For the diehard bacon and egg fans, you can get your breakfast favourite in a bagel with tomato and butter lettuce.
Swing by on your way to work and grab a bagel and a coffee to go, or sit amongst the action on the one long communal table and watch the bagel magic unfold. Coffee is by Seven Seeds, hot chocolate is by Mork and if you fancy a chai, it comes from Chai Boy.
Images: Jo Rittey.