A bagel: a bread product, traditionally in the shape of a ring, which is boiled first then baked. This method, combined with the high-gluten flour used, results in the chewy, dense texture and polished appearance which we associate as trademarks of the sacred bagel. But why is the bagel so sacred?
We've never been big bagel lovers here in Australia. Our carb fixes in the mornings customarily come from toast or crumpets with vegemite. But this could all change since the guys at Brooklyn Hide have moved into Surry Hills. These kids are going to make sure that Sydney knows a thing or two about the way a bagel should be: New York style.
Settling into Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills, Brooklyn Hide is a breath of fresh air considering their point of difference to surrounding eateries. The interior has an urbane feel, artfully assisted by the mural across the back wall which apparently is set to change frequently. The welcoming vibe is maintained with a counter up front, and high tables and chairs off to the side if you opt to dine in. The notorious bagels are strangely not displayed for flaunting — we'd appreciate some eye candy please to get the stomachs rumbling.
Aesthetics aside, they're evidently dedicated to honouring the legacy of the boiled bread here, as each menu item is named after a suburb in New York. We're intrigued to know how a medley of avocado, prosciutto, feta and lime inspired such a name, but you'll be asking for Hell's Kitchen ($12.50) if you've got a hankering for such a grouping. The Manhattan ($12.50) is piled with cured lox, cream cheese and honey vinegar: oozing sophistication, like the area too, perhaps? But it's Midtown ($13.50) where it all happens: corned beef, jarlsberg, sauerkraut, mustard mayo — it's their version of a reuben and it's a pretty good interpretation.
If you prefer to keep it simple, choose from a plain, poppyseed, blueberry or gluten-free bagel and pair it with your favourite condiment ($6.50): vegemite is thankfully on the cards and chocolate lovers unite — nutella is an option!
All in all, the bagels reward: they offer a texture that is desirably chewy, not overly doughy or dry. Us Sydneysiders could become quite the bagel-connoisseurs before we know it. One thing we are critics of however is coffee — and we all know bagels go better with coffee. The talented blokes at Little Marionette are supplying the beans and the team here are pouring a fine cup, perhaps a smidgen weak, but an ideal alternative when the lines are too long at Single Origin.
Thus far Brooklyn Hide appear to be impressing the 'hood, with no shortage of customers tucking into the boiled bread ring. Give it a go and you might find that the vehicle for your strawberry jam is soon replaced with a poppy seed bagel a little more frequently.
Update 26 September 2013: Brooklyn Hide has lowered their prices to $10 per filled bagel and $5.50 for bagels with a schmear of your favoured condiment.
Update 4 March 2015: Brooklyn Hide now does local delivery to the Surry Hills area on Wednesdays. Sign up to receive their weekly menu options here.