We’ve waited a long time for Mile End Bagels. The bakery and cafe opened across from Casa Iberica yesterday, after more than a year of preparation.

During that time, owners Benjamin Vaughan (also owner at Carte Crêpes) and Michael Fee have touted their wood-fired, Montreal-style bagels as different to the usual New York-style found in Melbourne.

Which they are – but not radically so. These subtly denser, sweeter rings won’t change your life, though they are a great addition to the market.

Vaughan and Fee started their bagel journey in 2014. After visiting Montreal’s top-two bagel shops, St-Viateur and Fairmount (both in the Mile End neighbourhood), they buzzed around the US, working wood-fired bagel ovens for experience.

In Fitzroy, they’re up at 4am each day stoking their own green- and orange-tiled unit, which has been warming to the task over the past fortnight. “It retains heat,” Fee says. “It should be about 100 degrees when you come in each morning.”

While they wait for the oven to reach peak temperature again, the guys roll out dough rings and boil them in honey water to impart that sweet finish. The whole process is on show in the raw, open-plan shop, which was completed with help from Studio Esteta.

If you’re eating in, be prepared to share the space. There’s just one huge table.

The finished bagels are caked in sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or “everything” – sesame, poppy, black sesame, fennel, garlic and onion. There’s also a piquant cinnamon-raison version.

Gloopy PB&J is one of the fillings, but like any self-respecting bagel shop, cream cheese is the schmear of choice. Get it plain, or spiked with dill, spring onion, or vegemite. You can also grab it by the tub. Smoked salmon and thinly sliced beef are on hand for more substantial lunches.

“We’re just starting really simply,” Fee says. The long-term plan is to cook their own fillings in the oven, including eggs, bacon and other meats.

Mile End Bagels
14 Johnston Street, Fitzroy

Hours
Tue to Sun 7.30am–3.30pm

mile-end.com.au