WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE | MILE END BAGELS
By Jo Rittey
Food trends. They come, they go, and some just quietly persist in the background, being and doing and still having some sort of hero status attached to them. The bagel is one such quiet achiever. Unlike their rather glam and distantly-related-through-shape-similarity cousin, the doughnut, the bagel doesn’t need syringes of salted caramel or slices of candied nectarine to stand out from the crowd. It’s the dedication to authenticity that wins bagel fans.
Mile End Bagels are no exception. These babies are so authentic, they’re a year in the making. Well, not the bagels themselves, because, well, that’d just be a bit questionable. The making of the Mile End bagel home. But three weeks ago, Benjamin Vaughan and Michael Fee finally saw the fruits of their labour when they opened their beautiful big wooden door, let the Fitzroy sun stream in and started finally selling their Montreal-style bagels.
Montreal? Well yes, even the bagel has to have its twist. This version is made with malt flour, boiled in honey water and then baked in the only commercial wood-fired oven in Australia. The result? A slightly crunchier crust with a sweeter but not too sweet breadiness. Delicious. And the perfect vehicle for the traditional cream cheese shenanigans; smoked salmon, smoked beef, honey, peanut butter even. Plus they have plans for roasting all kinds of things in the oven and have already started with beetroot, which they’re combining with a cashew nut cream cheese and some butter lettuce. Yum.
The choices don’t rest entirely on toppings though. As with most bagel joints, you get to choose between plain, sesame seed, poppy seed, cinnamon-raisin, or, and here we have the Mile End je ne sais quoi, the ‘just give me everything’ (sesame, poppy, black sesame, fennel, garlic and onion) bagels. Yes!
You can take a seat at the one big long table, or they’ll parcel it all up in a brown paper bag and you can head out the door and eat it elsewhere. Be warned, though, these bagels deserve mindful appreciation when eating. And also, things can get messy when you’re driving and you ordered the smoked salmon bagel. That might be from personal experience. But let’s not go there.
14 Johnston Street, Fitzroy
Tue to Sun 7.30am–3.30pm
Jo is a French teacher, a freelance writer and needs good coffee to start her day. Armed with an exotic New Zealand accent and a winning (hopefully) smile, she likes nothing better than roaming the streets of the northside in search of new and old food-related wonders.